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CRS 18-18-428

Colorado Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – Penalty

Colorado statute CRS 18-18-428—known as possession of drug paraphernalia—is a drug petty offense punishable by up to $100 in fines. You cannot be thrown in jail for possession of paraphernalia. Possession of drug paraphernalia in Colorado is defined as knowingly possessing equipment, products, or materials intended for use in producing or using a controlled substance in violation of state law.

Let’s face it. Life happens.

No one wants to get in trouble, but when it happens, what do you do?

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, the best decision you can make is to
hire a good criminal defense attorney. With the right defense lawyer in your corner, you
will be advised and guided towards the best outcome for your case.

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Possession of drug paraphernalia Drug petty offense

 

Fines up to $100
(CRS 18-18-428)

Possible Defenses for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Colorado

In order to convict you of possession of drug paraphernalia in the state of Colorado, the prosecution must prove that you knew the item in your possession was drug paraphernalia and that the item was found during a legal search or with probable cause.

Some possible drug paraphernalia defenses, therefore, include the following:

  • You did not know—and can’t be expected to know—that the item was drug paraphernalia.
  • The generic items could have been—and were—used in a legal way and never used for drug-related purposes.
  • The item was recovered during an illegal search.
  • In the case of syringes or hypodermic needles, the defendant disclosed the presence of the item to law enforcement or an EMT prior to its discovery.
  • The paraphernalia was discovered after a good faith reporting of an emergency situation, and you stayed on the scene, cooperating with first responders and law enforcement.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-18-428:

(1)(a) Except as described in section 18-1-711 and paragraph (b) of this subsection (1), a person commits possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she possesses drug paraphernalia and knows or reasonably should know that the drug paraphernalia could be used under circumstances in violation of the laws of this state. 

(b)(I) Prior to searching a person, a person’s premises, or a person’s vehicle, a peace officer may ask the person whether the person is in possession of a hypodermic needle or syringe that may cut or puncture the officer or whether such a hypodermic needle or syringe is on the premises or in the vehicle to be searched. If a hypodermic needle or syringe is on the person, on the person’s premises, or in the person’s vehicle and the person, either in response to the officer’s question or voluntarily, alerts the officer of that fact prior to the search, assessment, or treatment, the peace officer shall not arrest or cite the person pursuant to this section for the hypodermic needle or syringe or section 18-18-403.5 for any minuscule, residual controlled substance that may be present in a used hypodermic needle or syringe, and the district attorney shall not charge or prosecute the person pursuant to this section for the hypodermic needle or syringe or section 18-18-403.5 for any minuscule, residual controlled substance that may be present in a used hypodermic needle or syringe. The circumstances described in this paragraph (b) may be used as a factor in a probable cause or reasonable suspicion determination of any criminal offense if the original stop or search was lawful. 

(II) Prior to assessing or treating a person, an emergency medical service provider, as defined in section 18-3-201(1.3), or other first responder may ask the person whether the person is in possession of a hypodermic needle or syringe that may cut or puncture the technician or first responder. If a hypodermic needle or syringe is on the person, and the person, either in response to the question or voluntarily, alerts the emergency medical service provider or first responder of that fact, a peace officer shall not arrest or cite the person pursuant to this section for the hypodermic needle or syringe or section 18-18-403.5 for any minuscule, residual controlled substance that may be present in a used hypodermic needle or syringe, and the district attorney shall not charge or prosecute the person pursuant to this section for the hypodermic needle or syringe or section 18-18-403.5 for any minuscule, residual controlled substance that may be present in a used hypodermic needle or syringe.

(2) Any person who commits possession of drug paraphernalia commits a drug petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.

Have You Been Charged or Arrested for Possessing Drug Paraphernalia in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

If you’re facing a conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia, it’s important to understand that you have rights. A conviction of this nature could jeopardize your future, after all. For the prosecutor to convict you of this crime, they’ll need to prove that you knowingly possessed an item, that you were aware of its intended use for drug use or production, and that you failed to disclose it (in the case of syringes or hypodermic needles).

There are many possible defenses to this charge, including your ignorance of the item’s intended use. Still, in order to defend yourself against a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, you must understand how the law applies and what the District Attorney in El Paso County must prove.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia isn’t limited to tools used to inhale, inject, or ingest controlled substances. The definition also covers items that are used to grow, harvest, produce, package, store, or contain illegal drugs. This includes weighing instruments, mixing containers, capsules, balloons, pipes, small spoons, etc.

Is it a crime to possess marijuana paraphernalia in Colorado?

The State of Colorado allows residents to possess recreational marijuana legally—up to two ounces. This means that marijuana paraphernalia can also be possessed legally and you will not face conviction if it is recovered in your possession.

Can I get my possession of drug paraphernalia case sealed in Colorado?

If you’re charged with possessing drug paraphernalia in Colorado, you may be able to petition for the case to be sealed. If your case is dismissed, you can request the sealing of the record immediately, but if you’re convicted, you’ll have to wait for one year following the end of the case.