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Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Is Most Common Crime in OC

The fiscal year 2019-2020 saw misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia overtake misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) as the most-charged offense in Orange County. DUI had held the top spot the previous four years.

The reasons behind the flip are uncertain. One theory is fewer DUIs were the result of COVID-19 restrictions keeping more drivers at home. More than 8,000 paraphernalia possession charges were filed compared to less than 7,300 DUI.

There were changes at the top of felony charges as well. In 2019-2020, burglary was the most common felony charge. In three of the previous four years, methamphetamine possession for sale led the way.

While misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, these violations can still have a tremendous impact on your future. Our skilled attorneys at Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC have extensive experience in handling a wide range of charges, from probation to capital cases.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia Possession?

The crime of drug paraphernalia is categorized under “Miscellaneous Offenses and Provisions” in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in California’s Health and Safety Code.

The statute states that “(a) It is unlawful to possess an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking (1) a controlled substance specified in subdivision (b), (c), or (e) or paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, specified in paragraph (14), (15), or (20) of subdivision (d) of Section 11054, specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11055, or specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 11055, or (2) a controlled substance that is a narcotic drug classified in Schedule III, IV, or V.”

Drug paraphernalia is defined as “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are intended for use or designed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.”

The following equipment is included in this definition:

  • Pipes
  • Bongs
  • Chillums
  • Bowls
  • Carburetion Tubes or Masks
  • Cocaine Spoons or Vials
  • Scales and Balances for Weighing Controlled Substances
  • Blenders and Mixing Devices for Controlled Substances
  • Diluents and Adulterants

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Convictions on misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia carry county jail sentences of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

Drug division can be offered instead of jail time if the paraphernalia crime was non-violent. Possible alternative sentencing includes Deferred Entry of Judgment, Proposition 36, or Drug Court.

Top 10 Felonies and Misdemeanors

According to statistics from Orange County Superior Court, a total of 37,110 charges were filed in the fiscal year 2019-2020. The vast majority of charges were misdemeanors.

Felony Charges

  1. Burglary (Second-Degree): 675
  2. Possession of Methamphetamine for Sale: 579
  3. Grand Theft Exceeding $950: 498
  4. Vehicle Theft: 484
  5. Robbery: 457
  6. Assault with a Deadly Weapon: 403
  7. Burglary (First-Degree): 339
  8. Vandalism Valued at $400 or More: 310
  9. Auto Theft with Prior Conviction: 301
  10. Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale: 275

Misdemeanor Charges

  1. Drug Paraphernalia Possession: 8,196
  2. Driving Under the Influence: 7,363
  3. Methamphetamine Possession: 5,910
  4. Petty Theft: 2,758
  5. Possession of a Controlled Substance Without Prescription: 2,731
  6. Driving on a Suspended License (Not DUI-Related): 1,831
  7. Public Intoxication: 1,157
  8. DUI (Drugs): 1,003
  9. Driving on Suspended/Revoked License (DUI-Related): 925
  10. Resisting Arrest: 915

Aggressive Defense for Any Criminal Charge

With more than 100 years of collective experience, our attorneys have considerable knowledge in defending clients against all levels of criminal charges. We tackle each case with urgency and fight for your rights.

If you have been arrested, or think you will be, contact us right away. We will immediately begin to formulate the best possible defense for your circumstances. We’re available 24.7. Call (949) 251-0330.