Arizona Drug Possession Laws


Arizona Drug Possession Laws

Arizona drug possession laws

Arizona drug possession laws and sentencing are complex. Your sentence, if convicted, will depend on at least the following factors:

  • The specific crime or combination of crimes—particularly whether the offense is possession for personal use as it involves intent to sell/actual sale/transportation for sale, etc.
  • How many prior offenses you have
  • The quantity of drugs involved
  • Any mitigating or aggravating factors

In addition to potential jail time, probation, etc., Arizona provides for financial penalties in the form of fines that reach as high as $150,000 for each criminal charge for individuals, and as high as $1,000,000 for each criminal charge for enterprises. The same factors listed above generally determine the amounts.

In short, you need the assistance of an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer. He can help you figure out what your potential sentence might be if you face conviction.

Statutory Threshold Amounts Call for Incarceration

In many cases, a range of sentencing options is possible, including probation and diversion programs. This is not the case when the quantity of drugs involved meets or exceeds the “statutory threshold.” In that case, prison time is mandatory. Section 13-401 of the Arizona statutes specifically defines the “threshold amount” of various drugs as:

  • Heroin—1 gram
  • Cocaine—9 grams or, if in the form of cocaine base or hydrolyzed, 750 milligrams
  • PCP—4 grams or 50 milliliters
  • Amphetamine and methamphetamine—9 grams
  • LSD—.5 milliliters or, if in blotter form, 50 doses
  • Marijuana—2 pounds

For any other illegal drug, the threshold amount is any amount that is valued at $1,000 or more. Note that this means that the threshold amount of any illegal drug not listed above will actually vary as the drug’s value goes up or down and raises serious questions as to how the value is determined.

Single Offenses

For the charge of possession for personal use, the court generally gives first offenders probation. 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 offenders, but the court may make incarceration a condition of probation. Various other circumstances affect whether the court imposes incarceration for these offenses.

The more serious offenses of distribution, transportation, etc., are class 2 felonies with maximum sentences of many 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.

Under Arizona drug possession laws, distribution of less than 2 pounds of marijuana is a class 3 felony with a lower maximum sentence. Distribution of prescription drugs is a class 6 felony with a still lower maximum sentence.

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, 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 presents mitigating factors draws a 3-year sentence. If the class 2 felony is a third or higher offense, involves drug quantities above the threshold amount, and present aggravating factors the draws a 15 year sentence.

Experienced Legal Representation in Arizona

Drug charges in Arizona are serious business: they can ruin your reputation, your finances, your family and your future. A good defense requires in-depth knowledge of Arizona drug possession laws. It also requires knowledge of the police, prosecutors and the facts of your specific case. If you are facing drug charges anywhere in the state, call and speak to Howard Snader. He has built his understanding of these cases over a 25-year legal career (limited exclusively to criminal defense law in Arizona) after having served as a prosecutor in Maricopa County. Howard has offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale. He offers a free initial consultation.

Ask a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney



Call Now


FOR YOUR FREE CASE EVALUATION


702 E Osborn Rd,
Ste. 150
Phoenix,, AZ 85014

Copyright © 2021 Snader Law Group, LLC - All Rights Reserved. | Powered by Advantage Attorney Marketing & Cloud Solutions

Need help with your criminal case?

Has your case been scratched?

Ask us us a question or request a free consultation

Arrested in Phoenix? Don't Plead Guilty!

Have you ever wanted to go to jail? If so, Arizona is the state for you. Arizona laws are tough and even your first arrest could land you in jail, cause you to lose your job, ruin your reputation and make you lose your right to possess a firearm. Even a minor conviction can have lasting consequences on your life.

We’re On Your Side When Your Freedom is at Stake

Ask Us a Question or Request a Call. We’ll get back to you right away.

Call Us Now!

BUSTED!

Secrets Cops & Prosecutors Don’t Want You to Know

BUSTED! The Secrets Cops and Prosecutors Don't Want You To Know
Enter your information to receive my FREE book, or simply call (602) 957-3300 to order your book.