Possession of Drug Paraphernalia | N.J.S.A. 2C:36

     Possession of drug paraphernalia without more is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey.  This means that if it is the only charge, a defendant will face a maximum of 6 months in jail$1,000 fine.  , and a  Additionally, as with all Title 35 and 36 Drug Crimes, a conviction can also result in a 2 year driver’s license suspension.  


Can I Fight my Paraphernalia Charge?

       An experienced Criminal Trial Attorney can help you in several ways.  In all cases we try to have the case dismissed outright if the arrest was anyway improper.  That means the slightest defect in the State's case, from lack of probable cause, to the way the store security officers detained you, and numerous other technicalities may foreclose prosecution.  

       Even if there are no avenues of total defense, an Attorney can still help by working with the prosecutor to downgrade or plead the offense to one with minimal fines, no jail time, and no criminal record that could harm your future livlihood.  

       There are hundreds of possible defenses against the State's case, and only an experienced drug possession defense lawyer will recognize them all.  A conviction for shoplifting can carry lifetime consequences, and it is important to protect yourself with the best Criminal Defense possible.

Smoking out of police car copy

(Yes, even this 'police car' would be considered paraphernalia)

The following is the full statute of N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1 and -2.  This is the law that covers all drug paraphernalia, including those for Marijuana, LSD, Heroin, MDMA (Molly, Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Steroids, and all others defined as “controlled dangerous substances”.  For a list of substances/drugs covered under the this act, please see here.


Drug Paraphernalia | Full Title N.J.S.A. 2C:36-1&2

As used in this act, “drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled dangerous substance , controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. It shall include, but not be limited to: a. kits used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled dangerous substance or from which a controlled dangerous substance can be derived; b. kits used or intended for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; c. isomerization devices used or intended for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled dangerous substance; d. testing equipment used or intended for use identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness or purity of controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; e. scales and balances used or intended for use in weighing or measuring controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; f. dilutants and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose and lactose, used or intended for use in cutting controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; g. separation gins and sifters used or intended for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, marihuana; h. blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and mixing devices used or intended for use in compounding controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; i. capsules, balloons, envelopes and other containers used or intended for use in packaging small quantities of controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs; j. containers and other objects used or intended for use in storing or concealing controlled dangerous substances , controlled substance analogs or toxic chemicals; k. objects used or intended for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marihuana, cocaine, hashish, hashish oil, nitrous oxide or the fumes of a toxic chemical into the human body, such as (1) metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; (2) water pipes; (3) carburetion tubes and devices; (4) smoking and carburetion masks; (5) roach clips, meaning objects used to hold burning material, such as a marihuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand; (6) miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; (7) chamber pipes; (8) carburetor pipes; (9) electric pipes; (10) air-driven pipes; (11) chillums; (12) bongs; (13) ice pipes or chillers; (14) compressed gas containers, such as tanks, cartridges or canisters, that contain food grade or pharmaceutical grade nitrous oxide as a principal ingredient; (15) chargers or charging bottles, meaning metal, ceramic or plastic devices that contain an interior pin that may be used to expel compressed gas from a cartridge or canister; and (16) tubes, balloons, bags, fabrics, bottles or other containers used to concentrate or hold in suspension a toxic chemical or the fumes of a toxic chemical.

In determining whether or not an object is drug paraphernalia, the trier of fact, in addition to or as part of the proofs, may consider the following factors: a. statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use; b. the proximity of the object of illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances , controlled substance analogs or toxic chemicals; c. the existence of any residue of illegally possessed controlled dangerous substances , controlled substance analogs or toxic chemicals on the object; d. direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons whom he knows intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this act; the innocence of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, as to a direct violation of this act shall not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use as drug paraphernalia; e. instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use; f. descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use; g. national or local advertising whose purpose the person knows or should know is to promote the sale of objects intended for use as drug paraphernalia; h. the manner in which the object is displayed for sale; i. the existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; and j. expert testimony concerning its use.


It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance , controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly persons offense.

Frequently Asked Questions

I was charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia in my town, what will happen next?

      If there were additional other drug charges, which is most cases, and the charge is a 4th degree crime or greater, the case will be submitted to your county prosecutor where it will be adjudicated.  

      If the only charge was for drug paraphernalia or other disorderly persons offenses, the case will be handled at the municipal court of the town you were arrested.  

The Paraphernalia was the property of a friend, can I still be found guilty?

      Unfortunately the law will not distinguish between you or your friend, unless the friend takes the heat and admits the drug paraphernalia was his.  Often times this is not an option and the ‘friend’ refuses to do so.  In these cases it is necessary to defend yourself, for a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445.

The police are about to arrest me, what do I do?

      In most situations when being arrested we advise our clients to not say a thing.  You do not have to and should not be coerced or threatened into talking with the police.  If you are being arrested call our attorney's immediately for representation.  Even one wrong statement to the police can harm you and result in a conviction later on.  

What happens when the supposed ‘paraphernalia’ wasn’t for drug use, but had another legitimate purpose?

     In these situations it is important to stress this fact to the Judge.  To do so on your own is a risky proposition however, as often times we see uncounselled defendants convicted because they do not have the experience necessary to argue these legitimate uses.  

I am under 18 years old, how does the NJ Paraphernalia / Drug law affect me?

     New Jersey's Juvenile justice system differs significantly from the adult system.  Minors charged with most crimes will most often be instead adjudicated for juvenile delinquency.  Juvenile Delinquency can carry the same penalties as the predicate offense, but is generally far more lenient.  For more information about Juvenile Delinquency charges, please see here.

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

      In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty with no jail time or demerits on your permanent record.  Our attorney’s are also adept at avoiding what many consider the harshest punishment related to this crime, the 2 year driver’s license suspension.

     Another approach is to enter our client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI)  or Conditional Discharge (CD).  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal record.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with high level offenders who have other concurrent drug offenses, such as the possession of marijuana.

I have been convicted for the Posession of Drug Paraphernalia before, but in another state, how does this affect the case?

     There is no step up provision for recurrant crimes, however if the other State's paraphernalia law is substantially similar to NJ's, a NJ court will likely count it as a prior and be more inclined to impose greater than the minimum penalties.  This could mean the difference between walking out of court and going to jail for 6 months.  If you have been convicted before for  no matter the State, it is imperative you contact an Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

How does a drug paraphernalia / conviction affect my immigration status?

     The United States has very restrictive immigration laws, and a NJ Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge can have dire consequences, including possible deportation and inadmissibility back into the US.  

     Drug offenses are among the most dangerous crimes in regards to immigration status.  Any offense related to a controlled dangerous substance (drugs), can result in deportation, except a single conviction related to the possession of 30g or less of marijuana.

     If you have been charged with any criminal offense in NJ and are not a citizen, don’t risk immigration consequences.  Our lawyers have a near perfect success in protecting our clients from the immigration consequences of a drug paraphernalia conviction.

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