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 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.