Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia

Throughout the years the drug laws have change, and the government wants to prosecute alleged offenders that have anything to do with any of the substances that have been declared illegal.  Although there are laws that currently focus on the possession of a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance, and marijuana offenses to combat the War on drugs, there are also other drugs laws.

Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor offense. Other ways the government is tackling the drug issue in New York is by making it illegal to have items that are needed for the manufacturing, distribution, and storage of the drug and/or controlled substance. New York Penal Law § 220.50 does not always involve large drug trafficking operations, it can involve equipment such as capsules or vials used in the packaging.

If you are in possession of any one of many instruments sometimes used for the trade of controlled substances, however, prosecutors in New York may be able to charge you with criminally using drug paraphernalia.

New York Drug Paraphernalia Defense Lawyer

If you're charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, Rochelle S. Berliner, a New York paraphernalia charges defense attorney, can help you fight the charges. She will stand by your side and seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. 

Rochelle S. Berliner is a dedicated criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in fighting drug laws. She has taken her advocacy outside the courtroom to the public policy field as a member of NORML's Legal Committee.

She will use her knowledge and experience to fight for your rights. Call the Law Office today at to set up a free and confidential consultation to discuss your charges.

The Law Office is proud to represent clients throughout the New York City area, including Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. She can also represent those accused of drug paraphernalia crimes on Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Back to top

Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia Information Center

Back to top

New York Drug Paraphernalia Laws

When you think of drug paraphernalia, you may think of bongs, rolling papers, water pipes and other items commonly used to smoke marijuana or other controlled substances. However, New York, unlike many other states, does not go after users with its paraphernalia laws.

Instead, New York's paraphernalia laws are aimed at those selling or trafficking in narcotics. The items banned in New York Penal Law § 220.50 and § 220.55 are primarily used in the drug trade, either for manufacturing, delivery or sale. The items include:

  • Items to dilute narcotics while mixing, compounding or preparing, such as
    • Diluents.
    • Dilutants.
    • Adulterants.
  • Items used for packaging narcotics into individual quantities, such as
    • Gelatine capsules.
    • Glassine envelopes.
    • Vials.
    • Other capsules.
  • Scales, balances or other equipment for measuring or weighing controlled substances.

In addition to being in possession of any of these items, prosecutors must prove that they were found under circumstances, for items that dilute, that indicate an intent to use the items for mixing, compounding or preparing narcotics or stimulants, and for anything else, that indicate an intent to use the items for manufacturing, packaging or dispending narcotics or stimulants. Prosecutors can also charge you if they can prove you knew someone else would use the item for that purpose.

Back to top

New York Penalties for Paraphernalia Convictions

If you have no prior convictions for paraphernalia, you will be charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

However, if you have a prior conviction, you will be charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia in the first degree, a Class D felony punishable with up to two and a half years in prison, with a minimum of one year, and a $5,000 fine.

Additionally, the conviction may stay on your criminal record and affect future prospects. Some people may not know what the charge means, but know that it indicates you were, in some way, involved with drugs. Others may know and think it means you are a drug dealer. Regardless, drug charges have the potential to affect whether you get a job, housing, a loan or educational opportunities.

Back to top

Defenses to New York Paraphernalia Convictions

For prosecutors to convict, they have to prove all elements of the charge "beyond a reasonable doubt." That means that, other than some completely far-fetched or improbable scenario, everything they say happened definitely happened.

All elements means they have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you possessed the item, that you possessed it knowingly, and that either circumstances indicated you intended to use the items for the illegal purposes they describe or circumstances indicated you knew someone else would.

That can be hard to prove, especially intent. However, New York prosecutors are able to meet the burden of proof every day. An experienced criminal defense attorney can look for the weaknesses and the reasonable doubt in the case against you and expose it.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia – Follow the link to view New York Penal Law § 220.50(3), which is Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree. If you are facing charges being informed and knowing the law is important. Nevertheless, it is even more important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side to represent your rights and fight for your best interest.

Queens Misdemeanor Treatment Court (QMTC) – This drug court initiative program is a special courtroom in Queens Criminal Court. The program is centered on helping first time offenders after an arrest in Queens, NY. Participants must have only non-felony charges pending and express a desire to receive treatment in the voluntary program. The Queens Misdemeanor Treatment Court (QMTC) is located at:

125-01 Queens Blvd

Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: (718) 298 – 0914

Back to top

Queens, NY Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorney

Rochelle S. Berliner is an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer who will zealously defend your rights. The Law Office is proud to serve clients who have been accused of criminally using drug paraphernalia throughout the New York City and Long Island area, including Queens County, Kings County, Bronx County, New York County, Nassau County and Suffolk County.

Call or submit an online form today for a free consultation to go over your charges.