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.
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.