Attorney Scott Campbell

Criminal Defense Attorney

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Sentencing in Criminal Cases. I was recently challenged by a retired city judge to justify my opinion that some defendants accused of identical crimes should receive different sentences.  I do believe this is because of different theories of punishment, as I will detail.

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

The Deterrent Theory

Under this theory, the punishment is determined by the crime.  This is “cookie-cutter” justice; every offense is associated with a certain penalty.  The purpose is to deter others from committing the crime by demonstrating what the punishment will be.  This theory is behind mandatory minimum sentencing laws, laws that don’t work as demonstrated by out burgeoning prisons filled with people serving mandatory sentences.

The Retribution Theory

Here, a sentence is dictated, influenced, or imposed based on the victim’s desire for revenge.  While we don’t literally do this, many states have laws dictating that a victim be consulted before any plea bargain and be allowed to address the Court before a judge decides on a sentence.

The Punishment/Rehabilitation Theory

Under this theory, a judge imposes a sentence meant to punish as well as allow for rehabilitation of the offender, paying less attention to the crime and the victim.

It was in a discussion of this third theory that the retired judge challenged me.  The judge asked if two defendants, charged with the same offense, should receive the same sentence.  I said, of course, depending on the situation.  This judge was almost incredulous at this idea.

The example I used, falling on deaf ears, was a husband accused of a domestic violence offense against a wife.  I gave the opinion that any fine imposed should consider the impact on the family, especially the victim and any children.  I continued that mandatory counseling should be imposed.  Some people can absorb a fine with some or little impact on their finances, but other, less well-off people cannot and the financial shortfall would affect the victim and children more than the offender.

I am happy this judge is retired, but it is a shame so many are like-minded.  If we have cookie-cutter justice, why bother with the charade so often called sentencing?

Sentencing in Criminal Cases

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits – Today’s Guest Blog is by The Law Firm of Percey Martinez.

A person who files a personal injury lawsuit might learn that they will be entitled to receive two types of compensations: specific and general damages. What most people might not be aware of is that they can also receive a damage known as “punitive damages”, often referred to as “exemplary damages”. What are punitive damages? Punitive damages are damages that a defendant might be ordered to pay as a result of their attempt to hurt someone or their reckless acts.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

This is a damage that the court decides whether they want the defendant to pay it or not. If the court establishes that the defendant must pay punitive damages, the plaintiff will be entitled to obtain some or possibly all of the amount that the court orders the defendant to pay. The way that punitive damage differs from specific and general damages is the reason behind the compensation. With punitive damages, they are not mandated in order to pay back the victim for the injuries caused, they are ordered to serve as a form of punishment towards the defendant’s reckless actions.

Additionally, the court might order punitive damages if they believe that the amount the victim will be receiving is not fair for the number of damages that they sustained. As mentioned above, punitive damages were created to punish the defendant, but also to deter other people and the defendant from committing the same reckless actions again. For example, drunk driving. When a victim is injured by another driver who was driving under the influence, the victim will not only be entitled to receive specific and general damages, but they will be entitled to receive punitive damages because the actions of the driver were reckless. The drunk driver knew that driving while intoxicated could lead to another person’s injuries, but they still went ahead and drove that way. With the case mentioned above, the court will most likely require the drunk driver to pay punitive damages to deter them from ever driving drunk again.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Cases Where Punitive Damage Can be Awarded

Punitive damages are not available for every personal injury case. Listed below are several different cases where punitive damages may be awarded:

  • Intentional torts like rape, assault, DUI
  • Product Liability like poorly manufactured products
  • Premises Liability

Punitive damages rarely ever amount to anything in the million dollar range. The average pay for punitive damages falls under $50,000.

Helping Victims Receive the Compensation That They Deserve Including Punitive Damages

If a person was reckless or intentionally hurt another person, the victim can possibly be awarded for punitive damages along with the actual damages they will receive. Everyone needs to be held liable for their actions and ordering a defendant to pay punitive damages is a great start in deterring them from ever committing the same action again. The personal injury legal counsels within Percy Martinez’s law firm always fight to obtain as much money as possible for their clients. They want to see justice served.

Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes – Today’s guest blog is by the Law Firm of Percey Martinez

When a person hears the word “abuse” they just think about physical harm or emotional abuse, but there is another form of abuse that happens in nursing homes which is known as financial abuse. It is hard to tell that financial abuse is going on in a nursing home because it is not always apparent. Regardless of it being difficult to tell, there are certainly some signs that can indicate that financial abuse is taking place.

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

An elderly person might be frail and unable to stand up for themselves and so the nursing home or nursing staff take advantage of them. They might threaten them and instill fear so that they do not report it to their loved ones. Financial abuse can lead to emotional trauma as well. With the constant manipulation and threats, an elderly person most probably will suffer emotionally. The Miami abuse litigators do not allow these nursing homes to take advantage of their residents. They want to put a stop to this injustice and work on making these facilities liable for their actions.

Financial exploitation goes unreported the majority of the time. In fact, it is the form of abuse that goes the most unreported in Nursing Homes. Concern has been growing for the elderly population with the many forms of abuse that they have been subjected to. Below will be listed some signs of financial exploitation that can spark a loved one to take action.

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

 

Signs of Financial Abuse

The fact that financial abuse can be hard to identify can be the reason why is does not get reported. An elderly person might not even know they are being exploited. The family of the elderly have to protect their loved one and recognize the signs of financial abuse. Some signs include:

  • Medication that goes missing
  • Belongings that disappear
  • Missing credit cards, money, checks
  • Missing documents
  • Altered will
  • Forged checks
  • Resident starts to hide stuff
  • Sudden invoices
  • Unpaid bills
  • More

A loved one should be diligent in reporting any of these signs to the nursing home’s administration or authorities. Once the concern has been addressed, the loved one should keep every document because proof that the loved one took action will be vital for establishing a future case if nothing gets done.

Financial Abuse Lawyers in Miami Helping Victims

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Abuse can be seen in many forms. Although financial abuse is not the same as physical abuse, it can still lead to it, just like emotional abuse can too. No harm should be done to these fragile and innocent people. An elderly person has their chances of dying increase after they have been abused. Seeking legal help is another option that the family member has. If financial abuse is taking place, perhaps other forms of abuse are taking place. The Miami abuse lawyers thoroughly investigate every inch of the case to determine what else is going on, if anything. Percy Martinez and his team want to make a difference for these victims and make the responsible party pay for their actions.

Be Scared. Be Very Scared

Be Scared. Be Very Scared. To non-lawyers, this blog post may be a little “inside baseball,” but it exemplifies an attempt to punish clearly criminal behavior by casting too wide a net.

Be Scared. Be Very Scared

Be Scared. Be Very Scared

The issue is Arizona Statute 13-1410 that states: “A person commits molestation of a child by intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under fifteen years of age.”  Sexual contact is defined as “any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact.”

This seems clear enough, but statutes are supposed to specifically say what is illegal while not criminalizing completely innocent behavior.  This one does not do that.

If you can envision completely innocent behavior that a statute prohibits, there is a problem.  Read the law, it would criminalize a parent who changes a baby’s diaper and wipes them clean.  The parent would be “intentionally…directly touching or manipulating…genitals or anus…of a child under fifteen years of age.”  But, you say, that is silly.  The law doesn’t intend to make every parent a sex criminal.  No, it doesn’t, but the way it doesn’t is the problem.

The law includes an out.  13-1407 says “It is a defense to a prosecution…that the defendant was not motivated by a sexual interest.”  Easy enough, you say, all I have to do is explain that “I was just changing a diaper; I was certainly not motivated by a sexual interest.”

This, however, turns our law on its head.  The law allows a prosecutor to charge you and bring you to trial, then makes you prove you are innocent.  That is wrong.  It should be the prosecutor’s burden, in every case, to prove you are guilty.  This law does not make the prosecutor prove you had a sexual interest, it makes you prove that you did not.  It is often impossible to prove a negative, as this law requires a person to do.

What do the Courts say, you ask.  Well, the Arizona Supreme Court says this is perfectly fine.  The said “We…will not assume that the state will improperly prosecute persons who, though perhaps technically violating the terms of the broad statutes…clearly engaged in reasonable, acceptable, and commonly permitted activities.”[1]  But, what if you believe you were clearly reasonable, acceptable, and doing something commonly permitted, but a rogue prosecutor (maybe someone who dislikes you or a group you are in, or a religious zealot) disagrees?  This scares me.  Now, instead of the prosecutor having to prove you did something prohibited by the law, you have to prove you didn’t.

Let me be clear.  Child molestation is abhorrent.  But our laws have to clearly say what is prohibited, not allow a prosecutor to decide on his own then make us go through the time, effort, and considerable expense to prove what we did was ok.

Be Scared. Be Very Scared

[1] Arizona v. Holle, CR-15-0348-PR (2016)

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air. For years, the government has been touting their success in taking drug dealer’s assets, thus advancing their war on drugs.  What they have consistently denied is what is, in war, euphemistically called “collateral damage.”  The government shows many millions of dollars alongside great quantities of drugs and proudly proclaims that they got the drugs and the profits.  What they don’t tell is the rest of the story.

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air

What they don’t show is innocent people who accumulate cash in savings or a cash-intensive business who are stopped by police and have to prove their money was legally acquired.  The government will seize the money, then call an “expert” police witness to say the way the money was packaged or carried was indicative of drug proceeds.  However, I have seen these “experts” say money carried in a roll, folded in half, carried in bundles of round amounts, put in plastic, put in paper bags, or just not carried the way most people carry pocket money (a few dollars in a wallet) in indicative of drug money.  In other words, any way you carry money is indicative of drug money.

A Judge, who has presided over countless drug trials, then finds “by a preponderance of the evidence” (51%), that the money was drug money and the government seizes it.  Often, maybe more often, the amount is just a few thousand dollars and the victim of the seizure doesn’t want to pay an attorney more that is at stake to try to recover it.

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air

Put another way, imagine you have a nice watch…one that cost a couple thousand dollars.  A police officer says drug dealers have nice watches and takes it from you.  An attorney would cost more than the value of the watch, so you don’t hire one.  An “expert” police officer then testifies that drug dealers wear nice watches, so the Judge says the government can have your watch…even though you were never charged with a crime.

The Arizona legislature, in an uncommon change in the law of forfeiture, has given us a whiff of fresh air.  Now, the Judge has to find by “clear and convincing evidence” that the money was illegally obtained.  In addition, if the person whose money was taken “substantially prevails” at the hearing, the State has to pay his attorney fees.  Finally, the Attorney General has to approve a city or county spending any forfeited funds, meaning they have to be spent only on what they are legally allowed to be spent on…with oversight.

Hear the police howling?  I can.  But, it is just a whiff of fresh air.  A true breath would be to release any money taken where no criminal conviction ensued, without the need for lawyers, hearings, and “expert” police testimony.  That would be a true breath of fresh air.

A Whiff, But Not a Breath of Fresh Air

Arizona Drug Crimes

Arizona Drug Crimes – What are the punishments? Today’s guest blog is by Powers Law, P.C in West Islip, NY.

Punishments for drug crimes in Arizona can vary, depending on a number of factors, namely the illegal substance in possession, the amount of said substance, the person’s previous criminal record, more specifically their record of drug-related crimes.

Arizona Drug Crimes

Arizona Drug Crimes

Those convicted of drug crimes in Arizona can be penalized heavily with jail time, probation and fines which can reach up to $150,000 for drug charges for individuals and $1,000,000 for drug charges for enterprises.

Illegal substances and their classifications

Possession charges carry different punishments depending on the drug that the person is being charged with possessing.

Possession of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor, but it is most often charged as a class 6 Felony offense. A class 6 Felony offense is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

Possession of narcotic drugs is considered a class 4 Felony offense in Phoenix. There are many different drugs that may be classified as a narcotic drug in Arizona, including cocaine, crack, heroin and prescription drugs. A class 4 Felony offense is punishable by up to 3.75 years in prison.

Possession of dangerous drugs is also classified as a class 4 Felony offense. Dangerous Drugs include a variety of different drugs such as Methamphetamine, PCP, Ecstasy, Mushrooms, and LSD. A class 4 felony is punishable by up to 3.75 years in prison.

Arizona Drug Crimes

Charges for single offenses

For a possession for personal use charge, the court generally gives probation to first-time offenders. Completing a drug treatment or education program is one of the probation conditions, and the court requires defendants to bear the cost of the program to the extent that they are financially capable of doing so. Probation is also common for second-time offenders, but the court may make incarceration a condition of probation. Various other circumstances affect whether the court imposes incarceration for these offenses or not.

The more serious offenses of distribution, transportation, etc., are class 2 felonies with maximum sentences of several years in prison if they involve narcotics, a listed “dangerous drug,” or more than 2 pounds of marijuana. Methamphetamine is singled out for an even higher maximum penalty.

Charges for multiple offenses

Most drug charges in Arizona involve multiple offenses. This means that the defendant is accused of several illegal acts based on the same event. For example, possession of a drug combined with possession of drug paraphernalia, or both transportation for sale and the actual sale. For multiple offense cases, Arizona provides a comprehensive scheme based on whether it is the first, second, or third and higher offense, and whether the quantity of drugs exceeds the statutory threshold amount.

The penalties cover a broad range even for the same offense. For example, a class 2 felony that is a second offense involves a quantity below the threshold amount, and the presence of other mitigating factors draws a 3-year sentence. If the class 2 felony is a third-time or higher offense, involves drug quantities above the threshold amount, and other aggravating factors, then it draws a 15-year sentence.

Arizona Drug Crimes

Author Bio:

Competent attorneys at Powers Law, P.C provide strong representation for family law, commercial litigation, and real estate cases.

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

Today’s guest blog is by Attorney Paul W. Hamilton

The legal definition and consequences of domestic violence in the state of Arizona are referenced under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601. In essence, it is the use of violence against a family member, significant other, sexual partner and in certain cases, an acquaintance.

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

On the authority of ARS 13-3601, the charge of domestic violence can be applied in the following cases:

  • The alleged victim and aggressor are married, were formerly married, share a household or formerly shared a household.
  • The alleged victim is pregnant with the accuser’s child, the victim and accused are related by blood or marriage.
  • The accused lives in the same household as a minor victim and the two are related by blood or through a former spouse. The accused and victim are or were in a romantic or sexual relationship.

The nature of the domestic violence can be physical, sexual and also economic. When dealing with domestic violence cases, the court has to take into account the nature of the relationship between the accuser and the victim, the period of time during which the relationship has or had been ongoing, as well as the frequency of interaction between the accuser and accused. In cases of a terminated relationship, the time period since the relationship has been ended is also taken into account.

Offenses that may result in a domestic violence charge

According to ARS 13-3601 if any of the offenses listed below are committed against an individual who is in a relationship that is defined as protected by Arizona’s domestic violence laws, the charge of domestic violence applies.

  • Negligent homicide, manslaughter or murder
  • Endangerment (acts that create substantial risk of bodily harm to another person)
  • Threatening or intimidating a witness
  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Custodial interference (interfering with a parent or legal guardian’s physical custody of a child)
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal damage
  • Interference with judicial proceedings
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Preventing use of a telephone during an emergency or false representation of an emergency
  • Intimidation, annoyance, and harassment over the telephone
  • Stalking
  • Emotional abuse of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Dangerous crimes against children

How is Domestic Violence Charged?

How domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the exact nature of the violation. In cases of emotional abuse or endangerment, the accused can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. A charge of disorderly conduct involving a deadly weapon is a Class 6 felony.

If an individual is charged and found guilty of one of these offenses, such as assault, he or she will face the potential sentence recommended by Arizona courts. If the convicted does not have any prior record, typically criminal penalties are the same regardless of the domestic relationship between the victim and perpetrator. However, domestic violence cases are often prosecuted much more aggressively than typical legal cases.

A second conviction of domestic violence can result in the convicted being put on supervised probation with jail time being one of the conditions for probation.

Being found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for the third time in an eighty-four month period can result in a felony charge resulting in the individual being charged with jail time accordingly.

If the charge involves serious bodily harm to the victim or the use of a weapon, the accused may be charged very seriously.

Aggravated assault is a class 3 felony with a minimum jail time sentence being five years and the maximum jail time sentence being fifteen years.

Because of the nature of domestic violence charges and the stigma associated with them, it is crucial to take domestic violence accusations and charges very seriously. It is of the highest importance to find proper legal representation, preferably with an attorney who has extensive experience in domestic violence cases.

What constitutes domestic violence in Arizona?

Author Bio:

Law Office of Paul W. Hamilton strives to exceed your expectations in criminal law, family law, real estate, estate planning & probate representation. Call (229) 232-8056

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Today’s guest blog is by Michael L. Ainley, Esq.

Felony crimes refer to serious criminal offenses and carry a prison term of at least one year. The most serious felonies are punishable by death. These are crimes which include a physical violation of another human beings rights violation. Examples of such crimes are murder, rape, sexual molestation of a child, armed burglary and thefts of property with very high monetary value. Prison terms are longer for people convicted of repeat felonies. In Arizona, felonies are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Class 1 Felony – Class 1 felonies are reserved for murders in the first and second degree. First-degree murder (murder that is both willful and premeditated) is punishable by death or life in prison. Second-degree murder (a non-premeditated murder, resulting from an assault in which the death of the victim was a distinct possibility) is punishable by 16 years to life in prison.

Class 2 Felony – In Arizona, Class 2 felonies are reserved for sexual molestation of a child, production of child pornography, possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine, LSD, mescaline) for sale, trafficking of stolen property, burglary with a firearm and theft of property worth more than $25000. The presumptive prison term for these crimes is five years and the aggravated term can be up to twelve and a half years.

Class 3 Felony – Possession of more than two but less than four pounds of marijuana, certain forms of theft, certain forms of stalking and telecommunications fraud are all Class 3 felonies in Arizona. They allow sentences of a minimum of two years in prison, whereas aggravated sentences can carry a sentence of up to 8.75 years.

Class 4 Felony – Class 4 felonies in Arizona include theft of property with a value between $3000 and $4000, growing marijuana illegally, possession of dangerous drugs, identity theft, weapons misconduct and driving under the influence. Class 4 felonies carry prison sentences of one year, with aggravated felonies carrying a sentence of up to three years and eight months.

Class 5 Felony – Prostitution, as well as pimping and pandering (facilitating and making a profit from prostitution), are class 5 felonies. Class 5 felonies carry a prison term of two years, with the aggravated term being one of two and a half years.

Class 6 Felony – Class 6 felonies are the least serious felony crimes under Arizona law. These include charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful use of means of transportation and theft of property with a value of $1000. In some cases, a judge may designate the conviction as a class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in a sentence of six months in jail and three years of probation.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a time period designated by lawmakers during which the state of Arizona must begin prosecution against the defendant or their attorney can have the case dismissed. Usually, the state has a period of seven years from the time the crime has been committed to begin its prosecution. However, the most serious felonies such as murder and production of pornographic material featuring children have no statute of limitations and the state can begin its prosecution at any time.

Felony convictions have serious consequences. If convicted, an individual can go to prison and lose chances of finding employment which is up to the standard of his or her qualifications. The individual can lose the right to vote and to possess a firearm. Being convicted of multiple felonies can result in a harsher punishment, meaning longer prison terms and heftier fines. For further information click here

How Are Felony Crimes Classified Under Arizona Laws?

Author Bio:

People in northwest Tennessee turn to the law office of Ainley, Hoover & Hoover, PLLC when they need experienced legal advice or representation to resolve simple to complex legal issues. At Ainley, Hoover & Hoover, PLLC, you can expect fairness and honesty, and to be treated with the respect and dignity you deserve.

Can I Sue the Police?

Can I Sue the Police? This is a question I am often asked.  The answer is yes, you can sue the police.  The bigger question is whether you will be successful.

Can I Sue the Police

Can I Sue the Police?

The government puts many obstacles in the way of suing the government or a government officer.  First, in a lawsuit in State court, the government says you cannot sue for certain things.  Basically, you cannot sue the government for making a certain policy or for deciding how to spend money.  In other words, if a police officer was following written policy, he is immune.  If a city doesn’t spend enough on staffing sufficient police officers, you can’t sue them for that decision.

Then there is something known as “qualified immunity.”  This takes two forms.  First, if a police officer does certain things (such as fails to make an arrest, an escaped prisoner harms you, rendering emergency care) unless the officer was “grossly negligent.”  Second, if an officer violates your rights, but that right is not sufficiently clear in the law, he may be immune from suit.

Another obstacle, if you are suing in State court, is the requirement that you serve the officer and his department with a Notice of Claim within 180 days of the incident.  Then there are other very strict deadlines.

If you want to sue in Federal Court, qualified immunity may still apply, but the 180-day notice deadline does not apply if you are suing under Federal law.

To be successful in suing the police, you must have some significant damages (not just hurt feelings) and a clear cause of action.  If that is the case, see a lawyer immediately so you don’t miss the very strict deadlines for action.

Can I Sue the Police?

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

What are the possible Punishments and their Defenses for Drug Crimes in Arizona?

Today’s guest blog is by The Weingart Law Group.

The state of Arizona incarcerates thousands of people on drug-related charges every year. As a state, Arizona has a relatively high conviction rate for those accused and arrested for drug-related crimes. It is, therefore, prudent to have an understanding of Arizona’s drug laws, possession charges, their punishments and possible defenses that your lawyer may use to lighten or defeat these charges.

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses

Arizona divides drugs into the following categories under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3401:

Marijuana – Marijuana can refer to the resin extracted from any part of a plant of the genus cannabis, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or its resin.

Prescription drugs – Prescription drugs refer to any legally produced, FDA approved medication, which has a potential for abuse and is, therefore, illegal to purchase or possess without a medical doctor’s prescription, or to sell to any individual that does not have prescription for these drugs.

Narcotics – Narcotics refers to a host of specifically named drugs where the substances may or may not be from a natural or synthetic origin. It is a controlled substance, a drug that reduces pain, causes drowsiness, and induces sleep.

Peyote – Peyote refers to any part of a genus Lophophora or spineless cactus, known mainly for its use as a hallucinogenic.

Substances that release toxic vapors – This refers to a substance that contains fumes that release toxic substances that have an intoxicating effect when inhaled.

Dangerous drugs – Dangerous drugs refer to a host of named substances with varying effects, such as LSD, stimulants of the central nervous system such as amphetamines, depressants of the central nervous system such as heroin, and anabolic steroids.

Apart from the aforementioned categories of controlled or illegal substances, individuals found to be in possession of substances which can be used to illegally manufacture these substances can be prosecuted under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3408.

Possession of a Dangerous Drug (Charges and Defenses)

Possession of a dangerous drug is a serious offense, resulting in grave consequences for those who are found guilty. Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3407, it is prohibited to knowingly possess, use, manufacture, transport, sell or distribute substances defined as “Dangerous Drug”.

Individuals found in possession of substances defined as such are guilty of a Class 4 Felony, which means that the said individual can receive punishment similar to those found guilty of forgery, aggravated DUI or misconduct with a deadly weapon.

However, if the drug in possession was not LSD, crystal meth, heroin or amphetamines, or the individual has no prior convictions under sections 13-3407 or 13-3408, the defense attorney might be able to motion the state to reduce the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor with probation. Being found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, the individual can still be charged with jail time up to, but no more than six months as well as a fine, up to but not more than $2500.

Being charged with a Class 4 felony means that the individual can be charged with 3.75 years in prison, four years of probation and a fine of $150,000 with surcharges.

If the individual ends up being charged with a class 4 misdemeanor, he or she can face a reduced sentence of six months in jail, maximum five years of probation and a $2500 surcharge.

It is important to note, that in cases of probation the court reserves the right to issue a warrant for arrest, add additional conditions to the probation and revoke probation in exchange for imprisonment.

For more information on the penalties associated with possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and their possible defenses, contact an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney.

Arizona Drug Crimes Punishments and Defenses