How and why to fight your charge for drug possession and paraphernalia
If you are facing a drug paraphernalia charge, an experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to best protect your record. For the most effective representation, contact the Grieve Law firm well before your court date.
|Offense||Wisconsin Statute||Penalty||Max Fine|
|Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia||§ 961.573(1)||30 day max||$500|
|Manufacture or Intent to Deliver Paraphernalia||§ 961.574(1)||90 day max||$1,000|
|Delivering Drug Paraphernalia to a Person 17 Years of Age or Under||§ 961.573||9 month max||41,000|
These penalties are as of 2017. Often these charges will be added to other charges like maintaining a drug trafficking place – every charge added will have penalties of its own. Many times extra charges seem added on solely to bolster a negotiating position for pleas. An experienced criminal defense attorney will seek to get the charges dropped, instead of just pleaded down.
Is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia a Misdemeanor in Wisconsin?
Unaccompanied drug paraphernalia charges are technically misdemeanors. The cop almost certainly told you it’s “just a misdemeanor ticket, just pay and be done with it.” Many cops will be friendly and helpful after charging you. They don’t want to show up in court, they want their convictions to stick.
Before accessing publicly available online criminal records on the Wisconsin CCAP website, there is this warning to employers:
Notice to Employers: It may be a violation of state law to discriminate against a job applicant because of an arrest or conviction record. Generally speaking, an employer may refuse to hire an applicant on the basis of a conviction only if the circumstances of the conviction substantially relate to the particular job. For more information, see Wisconsin Statute 111.335 and the Department of Workforce Development's Arrest and Conviction Records under the Law publication.
There’s the letter of the law and there’s the way it is applied in practice. Big companies get a lot of applicants and they are actively looking for reasons to filter them out to save time and insulate themselves from risk. Small businesses are doing the same thing, and there’s not much the government can do to ensure that people with minor drug charges get a fair shake at employment.
1. Probable Cause
One of the most important questions about your drug charge is whether the officers made legal contact with you. If they did not make legal contact with you (i.e. Was it an illegal traffic stop or an illegal stop-and-search in the street?), all the evidence the police used to convict you (drugs, drug paraphernalia, even confessions) could be thrown out.
Learn More About Probable Cause
2. Constructive Possession: Someone Else’s Drug Paraphernalia
“Those aren’t mine” is a very common line police hear from when they find drug paraphernalia. It then comes down to a he-said, she-said matter between the accused and his/her passenger(s) or roommates. The police and DA will nevertheless be looking to pin charges on at least one person. This can lead to one pipe or bag of marijuana being used to charge 2 or more people. Those people could then get different results in court based on pleas, judges, and juries.
Accused persons in drug charges often think they have an entrapment case when they are the victims of a sting operation. There are many variables that go into an entrapment defense. Just being involved in a sting does not guarantee your success. You’ll want to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about this one.
Learn More About Police Entrapment
4. Missing Drugs
If the police cannot produce the drugs associated with your charge, your charge might not stick.
5. Call An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
This is your best shot at getting paraphernalia charges dropped or reduced. At the very least, contact Grieve Law for a free initial consultation to learn how we can help.
Drug Paraphernalia List
- Rolling Papers
- Plastic Baggies
- Pipes (wood, metal)
- Burnt Spoons
- An Apple (pierced to make a pipe)
- Modified soda cans/bottles
- Vaping Devices for Marijuana