How state law identifies drug paraphernalia

Possessing dangerous drugs is not the only way to run afoul of drug laws. Both the state of Illinois and the federal government have criminalized the use and possession of items known as drug paraphernalia. In the event a police officer discovers paraphernalia during a lawful search, it could result in criminal charges. 

Drug paraphernalia can take many different forms, so it may help to understand what the law considers to be paraphernalia. Some paraphernalia are made for the express purpose of servicing controlled substances while other items are lawful devices that a person uses for illegal drug purposes. 

Identified items

The Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act identifies different items specifically as paraphernalia. These include isomerization devices that the user intends to boost the potency of controlled substances. The act also specifies kits intended to manufacture, process and prepare a controlled substance. 

The law goes on to name a number of devices that a person can use to ingest, inhale or somehow introduce a controlled substance into his or her body. These include water pipes, bongs, chillums, electric pipes, miniature cocaine spoons and vials, ice pipes, chillers, carburetor pipes, and air operated pipes. 

Paraphernalia and its use

Illinois law makes it clear that any item or device could qualify as paraphernalia if someone uses or intends to use it in certain ways. The state paraphernalia law lists many different actions, such as manufacturing, cultivating, harvesting, preparing or analyzing a controlled substance. Even storage or concealment of an illegal substance may also count as paraphernalia. 

Since some forms of paraphernalia have legitimate uses, the fact that an officer may discover a spoon or a scale inside a home or a vehicle may not be enough to count it as evidence against a person. As FindLaw explains, an officer may look for other pieces of evidence, such as cocaine residue on a spoon or a scale, to properly identify it as paraphernalia.