All manner of objects may be drug paraphernalia, from the obvious, such as bongs and pipes, to the ordinary, such as spoons and envelopes. One of the key elements is whether you use it in conjunction with drugs or include instructions explaining how to use it with drugs. These factors may convince a judge that you are guilty. In most cases, paraphernalia charges in Alabama are misdemeanors.
However, certain factors may raise your paraphernalia charge to the level of a felony offense.
Alabama Code 13A-12-260 explains that after that first misdemeanor, a subsequent paraphernalia charge will be more serious. If a judge finds you guilty again, your conviction will be a Class C felony.
Another reason your charges may escalate on the first offense is when there is a link between the drug paraphernalia and the manufacturing of controlled substances. Specifically, any of these actions in conjunction with drug manufacturing activities could result in a Class C felony:
- Your use of paraphernalia
- Your delivery or sale of paraphernalia
- Your possession of paraphernalia with the intention of delivering or selling
- Your manufacture of the paraphernalia with the intention of delivering or selling
If you had possession of a firearm when you allegedly committed one of these offenses, the prosecutor may upgrade the charge to a Class B felony.
If you deliver paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger than you are, you may receive a Class B felony conviction. So, for example, if you are 18 and you sell a bong to someone who is 14, you may face felony charges.
Because there are so many variables regarding paraphernalia charges, judges have considerable latitude in sentencing.