Is What You're Selling Drug Paraphernalia? That's a Misdemeanor.

In Minnesota, even if you don't make, sell, or possess controlled substances, you could still be charged with a drug crime. How so? The State is steadfast in its war on drugs and has a few laws on the books that make it illegal to have or sell drug paraphernalia. Although the penalties for a conviction for one of these offenses might not be as harsh as those for drug possession or other crimes, they should still be taken seriously.

Most drug paraphernalia crimes are misdemeanors, which means a conviction could result in up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

How do you know if you've violated one of these laws? We'll talk about that in this blog.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

To get a better understanding of Minnesota's laws prohibiting drug paraphernalia, it's helpful to know what the State considers drug paraphernalia.

Minnesota Statutes 152.01 defines drug paraphernalia as equipment or material that can be used to:

  • Make drugs;
  • Use drugs;
  • Test drugs; or
  • Enhance the effects of drugs

That's a pretty broad definition. Basically, the law encompasses nearly any object you might have in your possession but don't use for drug-related purposes. This means that a spoon, a knife, a scale, or a blender could potentially result in a misdemeanor charge. Of course, that's a little extreme. The State would need evidence to prove that the item you had or were selling was, in fact, used for a controlled substance offense.

Generally, drug paraphernalia charges are coupled with more serious drug crimes. For instance, if the police conduct a drug bust, the alleged offender could be charged with drug possession as well as drug paraphernalia possession. In some cases, because it's difficult to prove that an item was used as drug paraphernalia, no charges may be brought.

What Does Minnesota's Law Prohibit?

Minnesota has 4 laws concerning drug paraphernalia.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
It's unlawful for a person to have or use drug paraphernalia. First and second offenses are petty misdemeanors, and a third offense is a misdemeanor.

Manufacture or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia
If any person makes or delivers items used for drug-related offenses, they could be charged with a misdemeanor.

Delivering Drug Paraphernalia to a Minor
Giving drug paraphernalia to a person under 18 years of age is a crime. It is considered a more serious offense than providing an adult with such an item, and, thus, is charged as a gross misdemeanor.

Advertising Drug Paraphernalia
No person can knowingly advertise for sale drug paraphernalia in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication. This is also a misdemeanor.

A drug paraphernalia offense might seem minor – you just had, sold, or made an everyday object – but it also comes with severe consequences. As mentioned before, if you're convicted, you could be sentenced to jail and/or be ordered to pay a fine.

Your conviction, as well as your arrest, become a matter of public record, which means anyone can access it. This can have detrimental effects on your life, as it may sway decisions of potential employers or landlords. Even though a drug paraphernalia charge might seem like a small matter, it can become something larger, which is why it's crucial to have a criminal defense attorney help fight the allegations.

If you've been charged with a drug crime in Minneapolis, call Brockton D. Hunter P.A. at (612) 979-1112 or contact us online. We're ready to defend you.