In the case of Texas law, possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate criminal charge.
What exactly is illegal drug paraphernalia?
Drug Paraphernalia is defined as any item that can be used as a drug processing, packaging, or consumption mechanism, as defined in the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 481. Texas Controlled Substances Act, Section 481.125. This includes items you can legally purchase in “Smoke Shops” or could even include common household items such as scales, cans/bottles, spoons, bowls, envelopes or bags. The more common paraphernalia charges are generally items such as pipes, rolling papers, cans and bongs. The statute classifies the following items as paraphernalia is a person knowingly or intentionally posses an item (drug paraphernalia) with the intent to use to: plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance.
What is the Penalty for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas?
Simple possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of fines up to $500.
Distribution or possession with intent to distribute or sell drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year in jail.
Second offense penalties can result in enhanced charges and jail time.
Selling drug paraphernalia to someone under 18 years of age is classified as a State Jail Felony.
Will My Drivers License be Suspended?
Many people do not realize that a drug conviction of any type will lead to a Driver’s License suspension. Even if you were NOT operating a motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offense, the Driver’s License suspension will apply if you are convicted. If your case is not dismissed or you do not obtain deferred adjudication probation, you will lose your license for 180 days if you are over 21. If you are under 21, you may lose your license for one year. A conviction for any of the following offenses will result in an automatic Drive’s License suspension: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Controlled Substance or Possession of a Dangerous Drug case.
Individuals who are convicted of a drug or controlled substance offense will face the following penalties:
- Will have their driver license suspended for 180 days, and
- Are required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program for each conviction. (Online courses will not be accepted for this requirement)
Individuals who do not have a driver license at the time of the offense will be denied the issuance of a driver license for 180 days. The 180 days for the denial of issuance, also known as an Order of Prohibition, starts when the individual contacts the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and completes the appropriate form.This form is NOT available online, you must go to a local DPS Office and pick one up in person.
Prior to the renewal or issuance of a driver license, the defendant must:
- Pay the required reinstatement fee and
- Obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an authorized insurance company then submit to DPS (an SR-22 must be maintained for two years from the date of conviction), and
- Submit to DPS the certificate of completion for the required Drug Education Program. To find the program that is right for you, click here for a list of agencies. Then you must contact that agency directly and register for the class.
To check your driver eligibility with Texas DPS, click here.