Click to Call: (303) 725-0017

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia includes items used in the making of or use of drugs, such as needles, syringes, scales, containers, testing equipment, meth pipes, and many other items. Any person found to possess a single item can be found guilty of a petty offense. This is true even if the person is not under the influence of drugs or if no drugs are found in the person’s possession.

Because medical and recreational cannabis is legal at the state level, possession of drug paraphernalia associated with cannabis is no longer a crime.

Denver Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Attorney

If you were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, or related crimes for manufacturing, selling, or distributing drug paraphernalia, then contact attorney Matthew Martin. With over two decades of trial experience, defense attorney Martin has the knowledge and practice needed to effectively defend you. Plus his work as a prosecutor for over 13 years puts him in a unique position where he can understand what the district attorney strategy is and then counter it.

Call (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including Jefferson County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, and Broomfield County.

Back to top

Information Center:

Back to top

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

As explained by Colorado’s standard jury instructions, the elements of the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia in § 18-18-428(1), C.R.S., include:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Knowingly;
  4. Possessed drug paraphernalia; and
  5. Knew or reasonably should have known that the drug paraphernalia could be used under circumstances to commit a controlled substance offense.

Section 18-18-427(1), C.R.S., lists several factors that a court may consider in determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia. For example, Section 18-18-427(2) states that:

“In the event a case brought pursuant to sections 18-18-425 to 18-18-430 is tried before a jury, the court shall hold an evidentiary hearing on issues raised pursuant to this section.  Such hearing shall be conducted in camera.”

As explained in § 18-18-426(2), C.R.S., the term “drug paraphernalia’” does not include any marijuana accessories as defined in section 16(2)(g) of article XVIII of the state constitution.”

Back to top

Legal Definitions of Drug Paraphernalia in Colorado

The term “drug paraphernalia” is defined in Instruction F:113 as follows:

  • All equipment, products, and materials of any kind
  • That are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the laws of this state.

The term “drug paraphernalia” is defined to include, but is not limited to:

  • Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body;
  • Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;
  • Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;
  • Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
  • Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
  • Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

The term “drug paraphernalia” also does not include testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of controlled substances.

Back to top

Affirmative Defenses for Drug Paraphernalia Crimes

There are defenses available to possession of drug paraphernalia. One of the most common defenses is that the alleged offender knew about the items, but the items were regularly used for other purposes, such as insulin checks or injections.

There are additional and more creative defenses that can also be successful. They include:

  • Lack of knowledge – the alleged offender was unaware of the paraphernalia because it belonged to someone else.
  • Prior disclosure – if a person discloses the presence of a needle prior to a police search, the allow prevents that person from being charged with possession.

Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney can help defendants mount the best defense for their case.

Back to top

Manufacture, Sale, or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia

Colorado’s standard jury instructions set out the elements prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or delivery of drug paraphernalia under § 18-18-429, C.R.S. The following elements must be proven at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Knowingly;
  4. Sold or delivered, or possessed or manufactured with the intent to sell or deliver;
  5. Equipment, products, or materials;
  6. Knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should have known, that the equipment, products, or materials could be used as drug paraphernalia.

For purposes of crimes prohibiting the manufacture of drug paraphernalia, the term manufacture is defined in Instruction F:206 as:

“to produce, prepare, propagate, compound, convert, or process a controlled substance, directly or indirectly, by extraction from substances of natural origin, chemical synthesis, or a combination of extraction and chemical synthesis, and includes any packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.”

The term manufacture does not include the preparation, compounding, packaging, repackaging, labeling, or relabeling of a controlled substance by:

  • a practitioner as an incident to the practitioner’s administering or dispensing of a controlled substance in the course of the practitioner’s professional practice; or
  • a practitioner, or by the practitioner’s authorized agent under the practitioner’s supervision, for the purpose of, or as an incident to, research, teaching, or chemical analysis and not for sale.

For purposes of crimes prohibiting the sale of drug paraphernalia, the term “sale” is defined in Instruction F:327 to include:

“a barter, an exchange, or a gift, or an offer therefor, and each such transaction made by any person, whether as the principal, proprietor, agent, servant, or employee, with or without remuneration.”

Back to top

Crimes for Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia

The standard jury instructions in Colorado lists the following elements for the crime of advertisement of drug paraphernalia:

  1. That the defendant;
  2. In the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged;
  3. Placed an advertisement in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication; and
  4. Intended thereby to promote the sale in Colorado of equipment, products, or materials designed and intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

Back to top

Statute Of Limitations

A statute of limitation refers to the time frame a prosecuting attorney can charge someone with a crime. Usually, the time period starts when the offense allegedly occurred. For many crimes, prosecutors lose the opportunity to charge someone with a crime after a certain amount of time has passed. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for all crimes is determined by the type of crime and whether it is a petty offense, misdemeanor, or felony-level crime. Like other petty offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia has a six-month statute of limitation. After six months, prosecutors typically cannot charge someone with the offense unless there is a good reason why the general rule should not apply.

Back to top

Additional Resources

 Drug Paraphernalia Laws in CO | CRS – Visit the official website for the Colorado Revised Statutes to read up on their laws for drug crimes including possession of drug paraphernalia. Access the site to read up on the penalties, elements, admissible defenses, and other information you may deem to be valuable.

Drug Paraphernalia | DEA – Visit the official website for Get Smart About Drugs, an initiative started and run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Access the site to learn more about how to identify different types of paraphernalia including those for marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or ecstasy/MDMA/molly.

Back to top

Colorado Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer | Denver, CO

If you or someone you love has been arrested for possessing drug paraphernalia, we urge you to get in contact with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.. Drug defense attorney Matthew Martin has years of experience he can apply to your case as well as a passionate dedication to what he does. He can file motions, suppress evidence, call upon expert witnesses, and do whatever necessary to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Call (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. for free. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has offices in Denver, CO, but accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, Lyons, Lakewood,  Evergreen, Golden, Morrison, Englewood, and Centennial.