What You Need to Know About Arizona Drug Possession Laws
The illegal use or possession of a controlled substance in the state of Arizona is a serious criminal offense if the individual lacks a prescription. In fact, illegally using or possessing a drug without a valid prescription is a felony. Dig deep into the language of Arizona drug possession laws and you will find it is quite detailed, listing every single type of prohibited drug along with the respective quantities, charges and penalties. The bottom line is every Arizonan should know illegal drug possession is punishable by law.
Arizona Drug Possession Penalties
The specific penalties for drug possession hinge on the individual’s history of criminal actions (or lack thereof), the type of drug in question and whether the charge is for personal use or the intent to sell. The penalties for drug use or possession without a prescription include fines that typically start at $2,000 or, alternatively, three times the monetary value of the substance in question. Whichever of these two dollar amounts is higher ends up as the fine.
An Arizonan convicted of possessing a dangerous drug is guilty of a Class 4 felony. There is the potential for this felony to be reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor if the individual in question is a first-time offender or of the drug in question was not meth or an amphetamine. If the individual does not have prior convictions, the amount of time spent in jail will be upwards of a full year. However, if there is a prior conviction, jail time might end up at more than three years.
An Arizonan caught in possession of a narcotic drug such as heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine will be charged with a felony. If the individual is a first-time offender, this felony might be Class 1. However, there is also the potential for the felony to be of the Class 4 variety. If there are no prior convictions, the individual will be punished with a year in jail or less. If there are prior convictions, the imprisonment might be as long as 15 years.
Controlled Dangerous Substances in Arizona
The state’s criminal law states the controlled dangerous substances are classified into six categories including dangerous drugs, substances emitting toxic vapors, narcotics, marijuana, peyote and prescription drugs. The state permits the use of medical marijuana yet distributing marijuana for non-medical use is a drug crime.
Possession of Narcotics
The crime of possessing narcotics mandates that the prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual in question knowingly and intentionally possessed a narcotic drug prior to establishing the guilty verdict. There must be sufficient evidence that proves the supposed criminal’s connection to illegal drugs. State law also mandates that a truly thorough investigation be performed to prove the seized substance is actually a dangerous drug.
Arizona’s Proposition 200 states judges are no longer permitted to send first or second-time drug offenders who are non-violent to jail until there is a third conviction. However, such an individual still faces a probation term along with the required drug treatment.
Drug Possession Does not Automatically Trigger a Conviction
If you are convicted of illegally possessing drugs, do not assume you will be convicted. A hardworking and intelligent Arizona criminal defense attorney will analyze the facts of your case and develop the optimal legal strategy on your behalf As an example, if your property was illegally searched, if you did not know the drugs were present or if the police violated any other laws, you might not be convicted. Furthermore, if you have a religious reason for using peyote, it can be used as a legitimate criminal defense strategy.