ARS 13-3415 is the Arizona statute that makes it a crime for people to do certain acts with drug paraphernalia, like use it to grow, harvest, make, test, inject, or conceal any illegal drugs. “Drug paraphernalia” includes things like syringes, baggies, roach clips, and scales. A violation of this law is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to two years in state prison.
- using a scale to help process cocaine.
- possessing a spoon to help in the cooking of drugs.
- delivering a pack of bowls to help conceal methamphetamine.
People have the right to challenge drug paraphernalia charges with a legal defense. A few common defenses include defendants showing that:
- they did not have “drug paraphernalia,”
- they did not “possess” drug paraphernalia, and/or
- law enforcement violated one of their constitutional rights.
- a state prison term of up to two years, and/or
- a maximum fine of $150,000.
In this article, our Phoenix Arizona criminal defense attorneys will discuss what the law is under this statute, defenses available if charged, the penalties for a conviction, and related crimes.
1.How does Arizona law define “drug paraphernalia” offenses?
ARS 13-3415 makes it a crime for people to do several things with drug paraphernalia. These include:
- using, or possessing to use, drug paraphernalia to grow, harvest, make, test, inject, prepare, store, inhale, conceal, or otherwise introduce into the human body any illegal drug,
- delivering, or possessing with the intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia while knowing that it will be used to grow, harvest, make, test, inject, prepare, store, inhale, conceal, or otherwise introduce into the human body any illegal drug, and
- placing an advertisement in a publication in order to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.i
For purposes of these drug crimes, “drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, storing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body any illegal drug.ii
Examples of “drug paraphernalia” include:
- water pipes,
- an object where drugs are in close proximity of the object,
- smoking and carburetion masks, and
- objects used for ingesting drugs into the human body.iii
2. Are there defenses to ARS 13-3415?
Criminal defense lawyers draw upon several different legal strategies to help clients challenge criminal charges brought under this statute. A few common ones include the attorneys showing that:
- a defendant did not have “drug paraphernalia.”
- a defendant did not “possess” drug paraphernalia,
- the police violated one of the accused’s constitutional rights.
2.1 No drug paraphernalia
This statute only prohibits certain acts with regards to drug paraphernalia. Further, the statute sets forth a precise definition for “drug paraphernalia.” A defense, then, is for a defendant to show that the object he/she had did not add up to drug paraphernalia.
2.2 No possession
Many charges brought under this code section involve possession of drug paraphernalia charges. A possession charge, though, is sometimes difficult to prove since a prosecutor has to show that a defendant had drug paraphernalia on his/her person, or it was within his/her control. Therefore, defendants can challenge a charge by showing that they never actually possessed paraphernalia.
2.3 Violation of a constitutional right
Accused people in these criminal cases can always try to challenge a charge by showing that law enforcement violated one of their constitutional rights. For example, maybe the police:
- conducted an unlawful search or seizure,
- stopped or arrested the defendant without probable cause,
- coerced a confession, or
- failed to read the defendant his/her Miranda rights.
In these situations, a defendant can use the violation to try and exclude certain evidence from the case or get a case dropped in its entirety.
3. What are the penalties?
Drug offenses under this statute result in felony charges. In particular, a drug conviction under ARS 13-3415 is a Class 6 felony.
First-time drug offenders of this law can receive a punishment of up to two years in state prison (as opposed to jail time).
If a person commits a felony conviction under this law, and has prior convictions involving drug paraphernalia, then he/she can face over two years in prison.
Under Proposition 200 (or, “Prop 200”), some drug paraphernalia offenders may be eligible for probation. Further, some offenders may be eligible for a diversion program.
4. Are there related offenses?
There are three crimes related to illegal acts with drug paraphernalia. These include:
- dangerous drug crimes – ARS 13-3407,
- narcotic drug offenses – ARS 13-3408, and
- trespass – ARS 13-1503.
4.1 Dangerous drug crimes – ARS 13-3407
Under ARS 13-3407, a dangerous drug crime is where people perform certain acts in relation to a dangerous drug (for example, possess one, use one, or make one). Common “dangerous drugs” include methamphetamine, mescaline, and MMDA.
Drug use under this statute is a more severe crime than a violation of ARS 13-3415. A conviction under ARS 13-3407 can result in a Class 2 felony charge punishable by over 12 years in state prison.
4.2 Narcotic drug offenses – ARS 13-3408
Per ARS 13-3408, a narcotic drug offense is where people possess, use, sell, make, and/or engage in the transportation of narcotics. Some examples of narcotic drugs include cocaine, codeine, and heroin.
Drug paraphernalia charges can be brought with regards to both dangerous drugs and narcotic drugs.
4.3 2nd degree trespass – ARS 13-1503
Per ARS 13-1503, second-degree trespass is the crime where people knowingly enter or remain unlawfully on a nonresidential property or in any fenced commercial yard.
Note that if a person unlawfully enters a nonresidential property, and is in possession of drug paraphernalia, then a prosecutor can charge the person with both:
- second-degree trespass, per ARS 13-1503, and
- possession of drug paraphernalia, per ARS 13-3415.
For additional help…
For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer, we invite you to contact our law firm/law office at the Shouse Law Group. Our legal team provides both free consultations and legal advice you can trust.
- Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3415A-C. See also State v. Escalante, 242 Ariz. 375 (2018).
- A.R.S. 13-3415F2.
- ARS 13-3415F2(a)-(xiii).