Possession of an illegal drug or a legal drug without a prescription can result in criminal drug charges. In the United States, the government classifies illegal drugs from schedule classes I (1) through V (5) with schedule I drugs being the most serious and schedule V being the least.
Drug crime penalties are based on the type of drug, the amount in possession, and whether you are suspected of having manufactured, distributed, trafficked, or fraudulently obtained without a prescription. As Arizona law is very clear in regard to drug crimes, a person discovered with drugs or under the influence may be charged with felony drug possession.
Due to the seriousness of the crime, a good defense is required to reduce or dismiss jail time and fines that can result from a conviction. If you are facing drug charges in Arizona, you need a Peoria drug crime defense attorney to provide a strong defense.
Drug Crime Laws in Arizona
In Arizona, the law is very detailed and lists the various types and quantities of prohibited drugs, as well as their corresponding penalty. The state divides controlled dangerous substances (CDS) into six main categories. These include marijuana, dangerous drugs, prescription drugs, peyote, narcotic drugs, and illegal substances that emit toxic vapors.
Presumption of sales can result in a more severe penalty for individuals convicted of a drug crime. There are threshold levels for CDS that if met, could result in a mandatory prison term regardless of the alleged offender’s past criminal history. These threshold levels are as follows:
- 2 pounds of marijuana
- 9 grams of amphetamine
- 9 grams of methamphetamine
- 9 grams of cocaine
- 4 grams of PCP
- 1 gram of heroin
For a guilty verdict, the drug crime must carry a burden of proof. This means that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged offender knowingly possessed the illegal drug and that the evidence recovered is a recognized and dangerous drug.
Drug Crime Penalties in Peoria
A conviction of a drug crime can carry harsh penalties, including possible jail time, fines, and the loss of many public benefits. Since the passing of Proposition 200 in Arizona, first- and second-time non-violent drug offenders cannot be sent to prison until their third conviction. However, probation and mandatory drug treatment may be enforced. If probation is violated, the offender will be required to serve jail time.
If you are carrying a CDS that exceeds the threshold amount in Arizona, you may face additional charges of intent to sell. Possession of dangerous drugs for sale is a class 2 felony and has a maximum jail sentence of 12.5 years for a first-time felony conviction.
Possible penalties for a drug crime in Arizona may include:
Class 4 felony with a possible reduction to a Class 1 misdemeanor if the drug was not meth or another amphetamine. A penalty of up to 1 year in jail with no prior convictions or up to 3.75 years in jail with prior convictions. A fine of no less than $2,000 or 3x the substance’s total value.
Class 4 felony. Possible reduction to a Class 1 misdemeanor with no prior felonies. A penalty of up to one year in jail with no prior convictions or up to 15 years in jail with two or more priors. Fine of no less than $2,000 or 3x the substance’s total value.
Class 6 felony if the amount is less than 2 pounds and possessed for personal use. Possible reduction to a misdemeanor with no prior convictions. Class 5 felony if the drug was self-produced and Class 4 felony if the drug is for sale. A penalty of up to 1 year in jail with no prior convictions and up to 3.75 years in jail with two or more prior convictions.
In some instances, a drug crime conviction may result in probation or a suspended sentence. If this occurs, you will be required to serve 360 hours of community service. This is typically a mandatory condition for your probation and one that should be strictly followed to avoid jail time.
Defenses for Drug Crimes in Peoria
It is not always an easy task to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person had knowledge or should have reasonably known that drugs were in their possession. This can give the defense an advantage and can possibly result in a dismissal of all drug charges.
When you contact a Peoria drug crime defense attorney to advocate on your behalf, you can expect a strong defense that aims to minimize or eliminate penalties. A drug crime defense attorney may focus on a number of defenses, such as lack of evidence, police entrapment, unlawful search and seizure, or violations in police procedure.
A Peoria drug crime defense attorney may also argue that you did not know that the drugs were in your possession, you did not know that the drugs were in a borrowed vehicle, or you did not know that a passenger in your vehicle was in possession of illegal drugs.
Peoria Drug Crime Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with a drug crime, time is of the essence. At our Peoria, Arizona location, our team of dedicated defense attorneys has vast experience in defending alleged drug crime offenders. Speak with a JacksonWhite defense attorney today to discuss your case.
Call the Peoria JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.