Can I be charged with a crime for drug paraphernalia?

Yes, you can face criminal drug paraphernalia charges in Georgia. Title 16 of the Georgia Code provides for this offense and its penalties under Section 16-13-32 of its Crimes and Offenses chapter. 

Drug paraphernalia, also known as drug-related objects, refers to anything designed for or used primarily for one of the following purposes: 

  • The injection, ingestion, inhalation, etc. of a controlled substance into a human body 
  • The enhancement of a controlled substance’s effect on a human body 
  • The testing of a controlled substance for its purity, strength, effectiveness, etc. 
  • The preparation or processing of a controlled substance 
  • The concealment of a controlled substance 
  • The containment of a controlled substance while a human being puts it into his or her body 

Common drug paraphernalia objects include the following: 

  • Pipes and/or water pipes 
  • Roach clips 
  • Syringes 
  • Miniature spoons 
  • Small scales and/or balances 
  • Small plastic bags or balloons 

Conviction elements 

To convict you of a drug paraphernalia charge, the prosecutor must prove not only that you possessed a drug-related object, but also that you knew what it was and its intended purpose. (S)he can prove either your actual knowledge or your constructive knowledge. The latter requires only proof that you had sufficient knowledge to “put a reasonable and prudent person on notice of the drug related nature of the object.” 


Georgia law categorizes drug paraphernalia penalties according to how many convictions you receive. For instance, your first and second convictions will result in misdemeanors, although the second conviction will be a “misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.” You likely will serve little, if any, time in jail for these convictions. Your third conviction, however, results in a felony for which you can expect to serve a prison sentence of up to five years, plus, pay a maximum fine of $5,000. In any event, you can expect that the state will confiscate your paraphernalia and that you will forfeit any right to compensation therefor.