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Possesssion of Drug paraphernalia - what will happen to me?

Goleta, CA |

My mom found drug paraphernalia and is going to turn it in and talk to a narcotics officer tomorrow.

Everything she has includes:

-a tin foil square (unused) and empty tin foil box

-a scale, matches, several bic lighters, a zippo lighter, an empty lighter fluid canister, a candle

-a rolled up dollar bill covered in ashes (used to smoke crack off foil)

-a stolen bottle of cologne

I know where she hid it. Should I go and destroy/some or all of it?

Is it illegal to own a scale, and some lighters, and some tin foil?

Are there going to be charges against me?

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor in CA pursuant to HS 11364. Whether you will have charges filed against you is unclear. The police may or may not use the information and evidence she gives them to arrest or cite you. Even if the police do arrest/cite you, the DA may choose not to file charges based on the way the evidence came to them.

I would urge your mother to reconsider. Absent physical abuse, I don't think involving the police with regards to a loved one makes much sense.

Additionally, I would mention that a HS 11364 is eligible for PC 1000 diversion, where you could avoid a conviction if this is a first offense.


Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
t: 323.803.4352 | f: 323.617.3838
Sunset Law Building | 1295 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA | 90027


Do not put details in a public web site. Get an attorney ASAP.


Please, please, please do not post such incriminating information on the Internet. A police officer and / or prosecutor from the Goleta area might be familiar with what your mom turned in and then read this post by you to increase your charges based on admissions made.

A lot depends upon whether there was some residue from the narcotics. If there is not, it is not illegal to own such things, although in combination, a case certainly can be made.

Whether there will be charges against you is up to the recommendations of the police officer and the District Attorney.

I would retain an attorney ASAP and not talk to police without him or her present.


Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor under California law. Health and Safety code section 11364 makes it illegal to possess an opium pipe or any device, contrivance, instrument, or paraphernalia used for unlawfully injecting or smoking certain controlled substances. Of the items mentioned, it seems that the only item that might be seen as "drug paraphernalia" is the dollar bill, if it tests positive for crack residue.

However, you might also be on the hook for receiving stolen property, in violation of Penal Code section 496, if it can be proven that the cologne is actually stolen and you knew it was stolen. Depending on the value of this cologne and your criminal record, that charge could be a felony.

The thing that is a little tricky about your particular situation is the fact that your mom is going to walk into a police station and tell an officer that you smoke crack and she found all this stuff and it belongs to you. Some officers might see this as unreliable evidence and not pursue criminal charges against you at all, especially if they see this as misdemeanor conduct, given the legal requirement that a misdemeanor arrest under Penal Code section 836(a)(1) requires that the misdemeanor must be committed in the officer's presence. However, this requirement wouldn't apply if this was a citizen's arrest or a felony.

If you are arrested, the decision to prosecute would be made by the district attorney's office based on their independent view of the evidence.

I would talk to your mom and try to make amends with her and try to dissuade her from going to the cops.

If you are contacted by a police officer, I would not make any admissions and refuse to answer any questions without an attorney being present.


My colleagues are correct . Get an attorney . Do not post any additional info here.

Andrew Roberts
(805) 496-7777

Andrew Roberts (818) 597-0633/ (805) 496-7777


Do NOT destroy anything. That could get you in real trouble.

It is not illegal to own a scale, lighters, or tin foil. But, if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to use any/all of these items for illegal purposes, you could be convicted of crime.

The response above is not intended as legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal questions can only be fully answered through consultation with an attorney to whom you give full and accurate details. Anything you post here is not confidential and is not protected by the attorney-client relationship. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting.