Possession of narcotics in Arizona without a prescription is a felony, according to ARS 13 3408. Narcotics, similarly referred to as opiates, are medicines created to relieve chronic or acute pain. Because of their intended function, binding opioids, these medicines have the side effect of users developing addictions and tolerance for the drugs. Due to the negative affects these medicines can have on the body in the long-term when they are abused, it is illegal to possess or sell these drugs without a medical prescription.
Narcotic drug abuse is a widespread issue the United States faces. Whether produced by a pharmacy or in-home, narcotics are produced from a base of opium. Opium has been used for centuries to relieve pain, induce sleep, or dull the senses.
Most narcotics come in the form of morphine or codeine. These two types of pain relievers are synthesized from opium.
Common Narcotic Drugs governed by ARS 13-408 include:
Why are Narcotics Dangerous
A narcotic is a pharmaceutical, synthetic, or manufactured drug. When used under doctor’s orders and with the correct, safe prescription, these drugs can be beneficial. However, many users develop an addiction to these narcotics and this can lead to a felony possession of narcotic drugs.
Many variations of narcotics have been created and each comes with different effects and side effects. Some narcotics have detrimental effects on the brain, while others can affect the nervous system, muscles, and bodily organs.
Penalties for Possession of Narcotic Drugs
ARS 13 3408 outlines the following penalties regarding narcotic drugs:
- Possession or use of a narcotic drug – Class 4 Felony
- Possession of a narcotic drug for sale – Class 2 Felony
- Possession of equipment or chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a narcotic drug – Class 3 Felony
Possession charges are not taken lightly in Arizona. Even as a first offense, a possession charge is a felony offense.
The following are the related penalties for Class 1-4 Felonies in Arizona:
Class 1 Felony: The only crime classified as a class 1 felony in Arizona is murder. Possession of narcotic drugs will not be considered a class 1 felony. Depending on the specifics of the crime, the penalties can range from 10 years in prison to a life sentence in prison.
Class 2 Felony: A class 2 felony can result in a minimum sentencing of three years in Department of Corrections. Sentencing can be increased to up to 12.5 years depending on the severity of the crime. In certain circumstances a judge has the ability to offer probation with one year in jail.
Class 3 Felony: A class 3 felony may result in a minimum sentencing of two years in prison and can be increased up to almost 9 years for an aggravated charge. Probation may also be an option, should the judge so choose.
Class 4 Felony: A class 4 felony can result in sentencing of 1 to 3.75 years. Probation may be available for a class 4 felony as well.
Class 5 Felony: A class 5 felony may result in sentencing of a minimum of six months in prison and can be increased to 2.5 years depending on case specifics. Probation is an option in a class 5 felony also.
Class 6 Felony: A class 6 felony sentencing varies on the crime, but can result in a minimum of .33 months in jail and can be increased to up to 2 years. Again, probation is a potential option.
*Drug related convictions generally also involve a fine of some sort, which can be up to $150,000.
The penalties for drug related crimes can vary largely depending on the circumstances of the charges, but obviously have some serious repercussions. Because of the wide range of potential penalties, it is recommended to contact a skilled Arizona criminal defense attorney to ensure you receive the best sentencing available. With the range of probation all the way up to 12.5 years for a class 2 felony, it is unwise to not have a successful criminal defense lawyer on your side.
Penalties for Related Narcotic Drug Charges
In addition to possession charges, according to ARS 13-3408 police officers can also arrest you for:
- Manufacturing a narcotic drug – Class 2 Felony
- Administering a narcotic drug to another person – Class 2 Felony
- Obtain or procure the administration of a narcotic drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge – Class 3 Felony
- Transport for sale, import into this state, offer to transport for sale or import into this state, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a narcotic drug – Class 2 Felony
Fighting a Possession of Narcotic Drugs Charge in Arizona
If you have been arrested for possession of narcotic drugs, your first step should be to contact a criminal defense attorney. An attorney knows the system and can help to make the best defense possible for your case, and help you avoid additional prison time or fines.
The type and amount of the drug found in your possession will be a major determining factor in your charges and will mold the defense used in your case. The means in which the officers found the drugs are an important piece of your case. If the police officers did not have a warrant or searched your home or vehicle illegally, it can help your attorney have that evidence dismissed.
An experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney will know which defense strategy is best for your case. It is important to find an attorney with a proven track record that you can trust because the penalties can be extreme if you do not have a good defense attorney in your possession of narcotic drugs case.
Finding Treatment Options for Narcotic Drug Abuse
If you are looking for assistance for drug abuse, Arizona offers some amazing options. With your drug charge you may be ordered to work with TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center) for drug testing, counseling, and drug abuse classes. TASC provides assistance for all stages of behavioral health issues and serves to help the community. Arizona also offers numerous detox and rehab centers throughout the state, both private and federally owned. Assistance is available for any individual that is looking to end their narcotic drug abuse.
A possession of narcotic drugs charge is a frightening situation. Having an experienced possession of narcotic drugs defense attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. With this much on the line, don’t leave your future up to chances. Contact an Arizona criminal defense attorney today to discuss your options.