Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in AZ CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS

All Meth crimes in Arizona are Charged as felonies; all felonies expose a person to prison.

215628_addiction.jpgLaw enforcement officers recently conducted the biggest methamphetamine bust in Maricopa County’s history. Sheriffs investigated for several months before locating 18 bricks of meth (51 pounds) worth almost $1 million. The twenty-six year old suspect who possessed the bricks was arrested for meth possession and other felony charges. As outlined below, he may face serious prison time, depending on his prior felony record and other factors.

Earlier this year, Phoenix AZ participated in “Operation Justice V” sponsored by the U.S. Marshall. In one week 231 persons without outstanding felony warrants were arrested. A large number of those were wanted for “Dangerous Drug” offenses including Meth crimes.

The possession and sale of meth is a growing illegal drug market in Arizona, and some believe it has reached crisis proportions, now affecting teenagers as well. Even though Arizona’s teenage meth use has declined in recent years, Arizona remains among the top 10 states for teen meth use.

Meth is highly addictive and affects the neurotransmitter dopamine. It can be smoked, injected or snorted. Users experience a rush as well as increased energy, reduced appetite, and increased respiration. There is a danger of violent behavior, irritability or psychosis. Importantly, long-term use of methamphetamines can cause brain damage that is akin to Alzheimer’s.

Due to the addictive nature of Methamphetamines and other Dangerous Drugs, they have been found to lead other serious crimes by users, and dealers that include theft, burglary, assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault, home invasions, even murder.

Meth is classified in the Arizona Revised Statutes as a “dangerous drug.” Other “dangerous drugs” include LSD, ecstasy, mushrooms, mescaline and GHB. Willful possession of a dangerous drug can subject anyone who is convicted to serious punishments at the sentencing stage.

Possession of methamphetamine is a Class 4 felony, until someone possesses more than 9 grams, as in the case described above. Then it is charged as a Class 2 felony because it is assumed to be possession for sale. It is important to note that possession of methamphetamine cannot be charged simply as a misdemeanor, even if you have no priors.

Penalties are increased substantially for possession of large quantities of meth. If someone possesses more than 9 grams and it is a first offense, the presumption is that it is for sale. In that case, the minimum imprisonment sentence is five years, the presumptive sentence is 10 years and the maximum sentence is 15 years. However, if someone possesses more than 9 grams and it is not a first offense, the increase in sentencing jumps dramatically. A minimum imprisonment sentence for possession for sale of meth on a second offense is 10 years.

First time drug offenders are eligible for a deferred prosecution program in which they participate in probation during which the offender is subject to drug testing among other things. If they do not meet conditions of their probation, they may face jail time.

The Arizona Revised Statutes permit mitigation or enhancement of a sentence for reasons such as prior criminal convictions, the amount of the drug, and more. If charged with a Class 2 felony and aggravating factors, a defendant can face over 12 years in prison.

The sentencing laws are even harsher for those convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine. In response to the meth crisis, in 2000, Arizona’s child abuse law was expanded to include a presumption of endangerment when children or vulnerable adults are found at meth labs.

Additional Resources:

About Meth (Arizona Attorney General)
Arizona Drugs Defined Under Criminal Code
Mesa AZ Police Department

Possession of 2-4 pounds indicator of commercial dealings. Convictions call for mandatory prison.

131369_pot_of_gold.jpgCultivation or manufacture of marijuana for non-medicinal purposes (or growing outside the strict guidelines provided in connection with medical marijuana cards) remains a felony in Arizona. Those arrested and prosecuted for felony marijuana manufacturing can face serious punishments at sentencing.

There have been several significant arrests in Phoenix and Tucson for cultivation of marijuana recently. In mid-May, Tucson police found a house where 356 marijuana plants in various stages of growth were growing. They also found $18,000 in cash. On June 3, 2013 a canine unit from the Arizona Department of Public Safety found a driver carrying 7 pounds of marijuana. After arresting him, the Arizona Department of Public Safety searched his house in Phoenix and found 100 marijuana plants as well as handguns and growing equipment.

Marijuana cultivation for non-medicinal purposes is not only illegal, but can also be physically dangerous. On June 6, 2013, a marijuana grow house with about 1 dozen marijuana plants caught fire. The firefighters observed lighting, heaters, and Styrofoam insulation. Equipment used to grow marijuana can require an enormous amount of electricity.

As a result of the equipment used to grow large quantities of marijuana, circuits can get overloaded and wires get overheated, resulting in a fire. An entirely sealed room may require a dehumidifier, which also consumes electricity. Failure to control humidity can lead to mold or rotted wood. If propane powered generators are used, there is also the chance of explosion. Depending upon the circumstances, causing a fire and the ensuing property damage or injury to a person can lead to additional civil or criminal penalties beyond those levied for marijuana manufacturing.

Marijuana cultivation for non-medicinal purposes carries different punishments based on the dried weight of the marijuana. In addition to jail or prison time, those convicted of marijuana cultivation must also pay $750 in fines. If convicted of cultivating an amount less than 2 pounds, sentencing may be for a Class Five felony. As a first offense, marijuana manufacturing can be punished with prison for between 6-2.5 years in custody. A judge may offer a first time offender probation instead. If the defendant has one or more prior felony convictions, incarceration times increase even for this small amount.

If convicted of cultivating a quantity of marijuana with a dry weight of 2-4 pounds, the cultivation is a Class 4 felony that carries a mandatory prison sentence of 1 to 3.75 years of incarceration. With one prior felony conviction, the mandatory prison range is 2.25-7.5 years prison. The amount of mandatory prison time increases the more prior felony convictions a defendant has.

Marijuana cultivated in an amount that exceeds 4 pounds dried is a Class 3 felony with a mandatory prison sentence of 2-8.75 years in prison. This amount can increase up to 25 years of incarceration with two prior felony convictions.

Other penalties may apply in a situation involving a marijuana grow room or outside crop. A defendant may be charged not only with manufacture or cultivation, but also possession, sales, or trafficking depending upon the circumstances. As mentioned above, there may be property damage or other problems associated with a grow room.

There are several defenses to a charge of cultivating marijuana that an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to raise. A number of these have a constitutional basis and involve the police following flawed procedures. For example, if the police coerced you into making a confession or failed to read you your “Miranda rights,” the evidence obtained this way is not admissible at trial. Similarly, where search warrants were not obtained or obtained improperly, they may violate Fourth Amendment rights.

Under certain circumstances, people are arrested and charged who were not aware of marijuana cultivation. This may happen, for example, on a rental property if marijuana is growing outside in a small part of a garden.

If you are arrested for manufacturing marijuana or for another marijuana-related offense, you should retain an attorney knowledgeable about these types of cases to defend and protect your rights. Contact The Law Office of James Novak at 480-413-1499 for a free consultation.


Additional Resources:

Arizona Drug DUI Laws
Arizona Drugs Defined Under Criminal Code
Mesa AZ Police Department

More Blogs

Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Law Stands Ground, Phoenix DUI Lawyer Blog, June 4, 2013
Marijuana DUI: The Impact of Montgomery v. Harris, Phoenix DUI Lawyer Blog, March 13, 2013

But Medical Marijuana Card Holders Not without Risk

540325_plantator.jpgAlmost three years after passage, Medical marijuana remains controversial in Arizona. Medical Marijuana was legalized in 2010 through voter passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA). The purpose of the AMMA is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, so that they can obtain necessary relief.

AMMA allows patients to get a registration identification card to show law enforcement officers that they are permitted to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Visitors from another state that recognizes medical marijuana, like California, with equivalent cards are also protected.

Notwithstanding these state protections, some law enforcement officers refuse to recognize the card. Federal law, which trumps state law, does not recognize or permit a medicinal use for marijuana. An appellate case heard earlier this year further legitimized medical marijuana cards, but the facts of the case illustrate that it there are still risks from a legal perspective to be a medical marijuana user in Arizona.
In the case, a California driver (the defendant) was stopped when she entered Arizona. The authorities found and seized marijuana and other contraband. The State filed drug charges against the driver, dismissing them only after she produced proof of permission to use marijuana for medical purposes. The Superior Court ordered that the driver’s marijuana be returned.

The State appealed. It argued that the superior court could not order the sheriff to return the marijuana and that Arizona law not only requires “summary forfeiture” of any marijuana seized by law enforcement, but the sheriff could not return the driver’s marijuana or risk violating federal law and getting prosecuted.

The appellate court reasoned that law enforcement officers did not seize the marijuana in connection with a drug offense, since the driver was permitted to possess marijuana for medical purposes. Nor could the State win on the grounds that it could keep marijuana that came into its possession. This was because to do that would require either bringing civil forfeiture proceedings, or to be holding drugs possessed in a crime. Since AMMA decriminalized medical marijuana, the latter situation did not exist.

The State also argues that the AMMA did not expressly require them to return marijuana from a qualifying patient. The appellate court disagreed. It noted that no penalty could be placed on a qualified patient under the statute.

The State had also argued that the sheriff could be prosecuted for transferring marijuana under federal law. This, too, the appellate court repudiated. Federal law “immunizes” law enforcement officials who follow a court order.

The State’s final argument was that the superior court could not order that the driver’s marijuana be returned to her because her possession was a federal crime. The appellate court declined to decide whether federal law preempted AMMA for purposes of adjudicating this case. There was no actual or threatened prosecution of the driver under federal law, and the State was not a party with a personal stake who had standing to argue that federal law prevented the driver from possessing the marijuana. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed the ruling of the superior court.

It’s clear that this will not be the last time a defendant will have to deal with a situation in which state law enforcement attempt to ignore AMMA. Officers may continue to arrest drivers, requiring them to come to court to fight the charges brought against them.


Additional Resources:

Arizona Drug DUI Laws

Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1

Arizona Drugs Defined Under Criminal Code

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Criminal Rights and Exceptions of Right to Counsel

A person’s rights to counsel can be found in the State’s Rules of Criminal Procedures; The US Constitution 5th and 14th Amendment; the Arizona Constitution; and Under Arizona Criminal Code A.R.S. 13-114. This segment focuses on the Rules of Criminal Procedure in Maricopa County.

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure – Right to Counsel

Rules 6.1 (a.) & (c.) entitle a defendant to be represented by counsel in DUI and criminal proceedings. However, they are not entitled to counsel if the offense has no possibility of resulting in jail or prison if they are found guilty.

A defendant may waive their right to counsel at any time.

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure – Withdrawal of Waiver of Right to Counsel
Rule 6.1 (e.) allows for a person who previously waived their right to counsel, to also withdraw their waiver of right to counsel, at any time.

There is one exception to withdrawing a waiver of right to counsel at any time: A person is not entitled repeat a proceeding, they previously waived their right to an attorney, on the sole ground that they were unrepresented.

When Legal Counsel is Necessary

Defense services of qualified legal counsel are needed in all stages of criminal proceedings, that expose a person to jail or prison, if they are found guilty of the charges. These stages include:

• Pre-trial Services;
• Trial Representation;
• Sentencing
A person should also consider hiring a lawyer to represent them in pre-indictment cases, when a suspect is being investigated for serious charges, but has not yet formally been charged.

Legal Representation for DUI and Criminal Charges in Mesa AZ

It is unwise for a person to waive their right to legal counsel for DUI or criminal charges in which a person may be exposed to incarceration in jail or prison if found guilty. If a person moves forward with criminal proceedings unrepresented, irreversible harm can result in their case, and their defense may be compromised.

A defendant should always retain an attorney as early as possible in order to preserve all rights and defenses that may be used in the future to challenge or defend the charges.

If a defendant has jeopardized use of defenses, waived rights, or provided self-incriminating testimony, an attorney generally can’t undo the damage that has been done. They can’t go back and abolish the proceeding on the sole basis that the defense was compromised as a result of the defendant’s waiver of right to representation by an attorney.

In general, defendants usually do not secure favorable resolutions to their charges when they go unrepresented. A person who represents themselves if expected to adhere to all Rules of Criminal Procedure; understand their rights and laws; and consequences of their decision in the event they are found guilty of the charges. Early retention of a criminal defense attorney is a key factor in obtaining any favorable outcome in criminal cases.

Additional Resources:

AZ Supreme Court – Rules of Criminal Procedure

Maricopa County Superior Court

Right to Counsel under Criminal Code

US Constitutional Amendments

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Criminal Arrest Phoenix AZ.jpgDomestic Violence Charges

The police and prosecution take domestic violence very serious. They egregiously pursue convictions in these cases because they are considered to be a crime against a victim.
Domestic violence refers to a familial relationship. The victim may be a spouse, partner, brother, sister, grandparent, child, or other persons residing together.

Police have the burden on the scene to distinguish the aggressor from the victim. Often the victim is cited or arrested when the police are unable to identify which party was the aggressor at the scene. It can also occur when false accusations are made against a victim by the aggressor.

Police Departments keep logs of incidents where the police have been called to a residence before. In many of these cases, an arrest will be made, or both parties will be cited, or arrested and forced to defend their charge in court.

Arizona Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic Violence (DV) crimes are described under Arizona Law ARS § 13-3601. This law applies to specified domestic persons who become victims of assault, homicide, threat, intimidation, neglect, abuse or other act of violence.

Offenses may be classified as felonies or misdemeanors, and penalties vary depend on circumstances involved. They include: aggravated or mitigated factors; age of the victim; nature and severity of injuries; if a weapon was used; and whether or not the crime was dangerous or non-dangerous; and if the crime was a first time or repeat offense.

Penalties for Non-Dangerous Domestic Violence Offenses
Non-dangerous Misdemeanor DV charges call for minimums of 30 days to 6 months in jail; and fines from $500.00 to $2500.00.

Non-dangerous Felony DV charges call for 6 months to 18 months in prison, minimums; and 4 to 10 years maximum ranges.

Persons convicted of non-dangerous domestic violence offenses may be ordered to participate in domestic violence offender or anger management counseling programs.

Penalties for Dangerous Domestic Violence Offenses

Dangerous Felony first time offenses expose a person to a minimum of 18 months to 3 years in prison; and maximum penalties of 7 years to 21 years on prison.
Felony domestic violence offenders will be exposed to court ordered fines that can reach a maximum of $150,000, plus restitution.

Persons convicted of domestic violence offenses will be ordered to participate in domestic violence offender or anger management counseling programs. Additional Court ordered penalties may apply such as community service, or probation.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Crimes Mesa, AZ

If you have been charged with any domestic violence offenses you should consult a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. There may be defenses that can be used to challenge the charges, lead to suppression of evidence, or even a dismissal of charges. It is never a good idea to go to court without qualified legal representation for any criminal offense. If retained, an attorney will protect your rights, defend your charges. If the case can’t be dismissed, they will work to mitigate sentencing to help you avoid or reduce harsh jail or prison sentencing.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence .

City of Mesa Police – Family Violence Unit can also provide assistance

Arizona Court – Domestic Violence Information and Resources

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Arizona DUI BAC Drink chart.GIFDid you know that the National Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign is in effect August 17, 2012 to September 3, 2012? You have probably seen the Television commercials airing the messages: “Drive Sober or get Pulled Over;” Don’t drink and drive; and “They’ll see you before you see them”. The efforts involve increased police presence, DUI Task Forces; media outreach; national and local advertisements geared at raising public awareness. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a new anti-impairment driving campaign to support high visibility enforcement (HVE) of police officers nationwide. The campaign is intended to help reduce drunk driving, and raise awareness about the hazards of driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The efforts focus combining resources: • Community outreach programs and education; • DUI Task Force administration guides and materials; • Heightened Presence of Police for basic traffic safety; • Paid media communications, advertisements and marketing; • Social media and internet campaigns to communicate the messages Every state has their own laws regarding the legal limit or level of impairment that will result in criminal charges. It is important that you be familiar with the laws in your state, or any state that you plan to visit or reside. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Legal Limits Arizona All states in the country comply with at least 0.08% as the legal limit. Other states have more strict legal limits for example 0.05%. Under Arizona law A.R.S. § 28-1381 A (2) a person may be arrested for DUI if their BAC is 0.08% or greater while driving or in actual physical control of any vehicle. In Arizona, a motorist may also be charged with DUI, even if the BAC is below 0.08% down to 0%. This is called being “impaired to the slightest degree” under the influence of alcohol or drugs A.R.S. § 28-1381 A (1). The penalties for DUI convictions are some of the harshest in the country. A first time Misdemeanor DUI, non-extreme BAC (below 0.15.%) conviction carries jail terms; 90 day suspension of driver’s license; Ignition Interlock Device on vehicle; mandatory drug or alcohol counseling; probation; fines and fees. DUI Attorney for defense of charges in Chandler AZ If you face any type of DWI or drunk driving charges, you should always consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter, and defense options. It is never a good idea to go to court alone or try to go without legal representation. If retained, your lawyer will provide legal representation throughout the criminal justice process; make sure you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and look for mitigating factors that will help you avoid a conviction or harsh penalties. If you “Like” this article please let us know with a +1! Feel Free to subscribe and “Share • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Driving Safety • National Impaired Driving Enforcement Crackdown • Arizoan Legislature – Arizona Revised Statutes Continue reading

On July 29, 2012 Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer denied the request to halt implementation of the Medical Marijuana Law voted in by Arizonans in November 2010.
Governor Brewer stated in a letter to the Yavapai County Attorney, that she is “duty-bound” from such halt because “the voters approved it”. Approximately 29,500 people have received their Medical Marijuana cards.
The letter signed by Arizona County Attorneys in 13 Counties, including Maricopa County, requested an immediate halt due to the following concerns:

• Arizona Medical Marijuana laws are preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”);
• Imminent threats of seizures and closures of dispensaries in Arizona by the U.S. Attorney exist;
• State employees involved or who participate in conduct that is in violation of Federal offenses is compelling enough to take immediate action to halt of ADHS licensing.

Despite the fact that Governor Brewer did not support the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA), she feels strongly she has a duty to support its’ existence which was voted into law by the people of Arizona. She stands on firm ground with her decision, and will move forward with implementation until and unless she is notified by the higher Court that State employees will be prosecuted by administration of the law within their duties.

Arizona Laws

As it stands now Medical Marijuana laws allow for, among other things the following provisions:

• No limit exists as to the amount an approved and licensed dispensary may grow;
• Qualified Patients with valid Medical Marijuana cards may purchase 2.5 ounces every two week.

Arizona Drug DUI and Marijuana DUI Laws

All medical marijuana users should understand that although they are qualified users, with valid cards, that do not prevent them from being arrested for Drug DUI.
Under A.R.S § 13-3401, any person “driving impaired to the slightest degree” due to the influence of alcohol, drugs, or Marijuana, they may still be charged with a DUI. The other fact to keep in mind is that Marijuana stays in the blood stream much longer than alcohol. So even in small amounts, it may show positive on DUI blood or chemical testing days or even weeks after it was smoked or ingested.

Consequences of DUI with Drugs or Marijuana DUI

If you are arrested in Arizona for a Drug DUI, or Marijuana DUI you should consult a criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter and defense options. Penalties for Marijuana DUI Convictions are as severe as those for Alcohol related DUI charges. They carry mandatory jail sentencing; suspension of driver’s license; probation; alcohol/drug education, counseling and screening; fines, fees, and assessment costs. You should retain proper legal representation for your charges. They will make sure your rights are protected; that you are treated fairly; and work to get the best resolution in your case. Favorable outcomes may include dismissal of charges, reduction of sentencing; avoidance of jail or other harsh penalties.

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Phoenix Drug Defense Attorney.jpg

TruNarc: Police Drug Detection
Police Departments around the Country have begun using TruNarc, a mobile device used for drug testing. The device can rapidly detect single or multiple compounds and drugs, including those more difficult to detect such as “bath salts”, within seconds. For the last 50 years police have used lab kits to test for narcotics or illegal drugs. In effect TruNarc in said to speed up the drug identification process, allowing police to be more efficient with their time, and decrease turnaround time in drug cases.
How it Works

The device has a laser which is pointed directly at the suspicious drug sample. It then generates a distinct spectrum, similar to a finger print. It is then analyzed for identification in the device’s drug library contained the unit. It can be easily updated for new dangerous or designer drugs. Records can be automatically produced, to include the name of the drug, time and date stamps and anything else the police department wishes to program into it.
Industry Recognition

The core technology used for the Thermo Scientific device uses “Raman spectroscopy”, which is recognized as an analytical tool by the “Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRU). TruNarc’s results were compared to the same drug samples as certified laboratories. The conclusions were that TrucNarc had produced 80% – 100% positive results, with “0″ false positive results.

Pros

Below are 7 items in favor of TruNarc Testing Device:
• Device is lightweight and easy to use;
• Immediate results; Eliminates need for backlogged and costly lab processing
• Detects compounded and new “designer”, bath salts and synthetic drugs;
• Can be used in addition to drug testing kit for presumptive testing;
• Nonintrusive. The test does not require contact;
• Reduces time for Criminal Case Resolutions:
• Police K-9 Dog Drug Screeners costs between $20,000.00 and $$29,000.00 to train. The cost of the device is equal or less for TruNarc $20,000.00 currently.

Cons

Below are 7 items that oppose TruNarc Technology for drug testing:

• Costly: $20,000.00 per device;
• Lack of background science, experience or reported statistics of use in the Field by police;
• Police officers would need to be trained to operate, minister, and maintain it;
• If adopted by the states, it will face much challenge by experts and criminal defense attorney, regarding administration, accuracy, validity, maintenance, and operation of the device (similar to the challenges that breathalyzers presented.);
• Technology may not prove to serve as an effective substitute for full lab analysis by a certified laboratory and trained lab professional;
• Judges around the country have yet to decide if the test results from TruNarc can be admissible in trial.
• No case law or documented challenges have been argued against it for drug charges involving the device.

Resources:

http://goo.gl/76gqM

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Drug Possession Laws in Phoenix AZ
In Arizona, a person may be charged with possession of an illegal drug if they are knowingly in possession of Marijuana, an illegal drug, or a dangerous drug, defined under A.R.S. 34 13-3401. The higher the quantity of a drug a person is found to have in their possession, the higher the sentencing and penalties. One of the reasons for this is that law enforcement perceives a large quantity of an illegal drug as a sign that the drugs are in their possession to sell, intended for sale, manufacture, distribution, or transport. All of these drug offenses call for harsh prison sentencing.

Drug Sentencing Guidelines

Under Arizona Drug laws A.R.S. 13-3419: Arizona has separate sentencing ranges for convictions into two categories:
1) The illegal drug possession charges involved a quantity below the “Threshold Amount”;
2) Illegal drug possession charges that equal or exceed the “Threshold Amount”.

• Below Statutory Threshold Amount -
Drug Possession with a quantity that falls below the statutory Threshold Amount
may be charged as a Class 5 to Class 2 with prison sentencing of .05 to 12.5 years;
• Equal or Exceeding Statutory Threshold Amounts -
Drug Possession convictions involving quantities that equal or exceed the the statutory Threshold Amount may be charged as a Class 5 to Class 2 with prison sentencing .05 to 15 + years.

The Threshold Amount is the amount specified by law under A.R.S.13-3401.36 for a the quantity of a certain drug. The higher the amount over the Threshold, the more severe the Sentencing and penalties. Additional penalties include fines, fees, community service, drug and alcohol counseling or treatment, and other fines deemed necessary by the court.
Sentencing Factors

Other factors besides quantity the court will consider in sentencing if convicted include:
First drug offense verses repeat offense;
• Prior criminal history, if any;
• Purpose of the drug in a suspects possession (personal use verses sales)
• Other charges brought at the same time (violent or dangerous crimes)
• Mitigating or Aggravating factors
• Classification of drug (Marijuana, Narcotic, or Dangerous Drug)

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Drug Possession Phoenix, AZ
If you face drug possession charges in Arizona, you should consult an experienced criminal lawyer regarding your matter. They will protect your rights and defend you through the criminal defense attorney. Drug crimes of any kind, may expose a person to incarceration, and other harsh penalties. There are often defenses that exist that can be used to challenge the evidence including the quantity of a drug a person is accused of possessing. Your attorney will make sure you are treated fairly; protect your rights, and defend your charges. In some cases they can help you avoid prison or jail sentencing; lower the charges; and or get the charges dismissed. Your chances of getting a favorable decision in your case, will increase significantly with retention of a private practice drug defense attorney.
I

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Methamphetamine “Meth” Charges in Phoenix AZ

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 13-3401.6 the drug Methamphetamine or “Meth” is classified as a “Dangerous Drug”. A person may be guilty of a Dangerous Drug crime if they knowingly possessed any amount of Methamphetamine or “Meth” as defined under A.R.S. § 13-3407.
Arizona Dangerous Drug Offense Law and Classifications

A.R.S. § 13-3407. Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs; classification:

A. A person shall not knowingly:

1. Possess or use a dangerous drug (Class 4 Felony):
2. Possess a dangerous drug for sale (Class 2 felony);
3. Possess equipment or chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug (Class 2 Felony for Meth);
4. Manufacture a dangerous drug (Class 2 Felony);
5. Administer a dangerous drug to another person (Class 2 Felony);
6. Obtain or procure the administration of a dangerous drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge (Class 3 Felony);
7. Transport for sale, import or offer to transport for sale or import or sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a dangerous drug into Arizona. (Class 2 Felony)

A person may be convicted of Dangerous Drug possession if they knowingly possession any amount of Methamphetamine or “Meth”, for any purpose described above.

“Threshold Amount” – A.R.S. § 13-3401

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. § 13-3401. 36 (e) “Threshold Amount” means: means a weight, market value or other form of measurement of an unlawful substance. The specified Threshold Amount for methamphetamine is Nine grams. This includes methamphetamine in liquid suspension; or any combination of those unlawful substances listed under this law. If a person is found to have in their possession an amount that equals or exceeds the Statutory Threshold Limit, for a particular drug, they will be exposed to mandatory prison sentencing. The length of the prison terms a person will face increases based on the amount of the drug that exceeds the threshold limits for that drug.

Sentencing Guidelines for Meth, Dangerous Drug Crime Convictions

If a person is convicted of a methamphetamine or Meth crime, they may be exposed to harsh prison sentencing that can range from 2 to 15 years prison depending on the factors involved. Factors considered for sentencing include:

 Aggravating Factors;
 Mitigating Factors;
 Whether or not the defendant is over 18 years of age;
 Quantity of the substance;
 If the quantity exceeds the Statutory “Threshold Amount”;
 Whether or not the crime involved a “Dangerous offense”;
 Prior DUI or Criminal offense convictions;
 First time or repeat drug offense;
 If the circumstances caused physical injury to a minor under fifteen years of age ARS § 13-3407(A)(1).

Other penalties include large monetary fines, fees, assessments; mandatory counseling; community service, and other penalties.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Meth Charges, Phoenix AZ

Crimes involving any Dangerous Drug, particularly Meth crimes are very serious charges. All drug charges involving Meth crimes, if convicted, will expose a person to prison sentencing, exorbitant fines; and other harsh penalties. If you were arrested for any illegal drug charge you should consult an attorney who frequently defends drug charges in Phoenix AZ or Maricopa County. A good criminal attorney will make sure your rights are protected; defend your charges; and work to get the best possible outcome in your case. If the charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney will look for mitigating factors that will help get your sentencing reduced, so that it has the least adverse impact on your life as possible.

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