Arizona Drug Possession Attorneys

Drug possession crimes in Arizona are governed by the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), primarily ARS 13-3407. This law classifies drug possession offenses based on the type and quantity of controlled substances involved. The penalties for drug possession can vary widely, with more severe consequences for certain drugs and larger amounts.

For example, simple possession of a personal use amount of a drug like marijuana is considered a petty offense, typically resulting in a citation or a civil penalty. However, possession of dangerous drugs, prescription drugs without a valid prescription, or controlled substances classified as dangerous can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances.

Possession of Dangerous Drugs in Arizona

ARS 13-341(6) contains a list of over 200+ drugs that are considered “dangerous” and qualify for more punitive sentencing.  The most common “dangerous drugs” include: methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, anabolic steroids, PCP, LSD., fentanyl, and heroin.  First-time offenders who are arrested for possession of a dangerous drug other than Meth are eligible to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale

ARS 13-3407 sets out the statutory framework that determines whether a defendant meets the statutory threshold to be charged with possession for sale.  Threshold amounts are determined by type of drug, and include:

  • Methamphetamine: 9 grams
  • Cocaine: 9 grams
  • Heroin: 1 gram
  • Fentanyl: 9 grams
  • LSD: ½ milliliter

Early Disposition Court (EDC)

The Early Disposition Court is a specialized program in Maricopa County, Arizona, designed to expedite the resolution of certain low-level drug possession cases. EDC aims to divert individuals from the traditional court process by offering them the opportunity to complete a drug education and treatment program. Successful completion can lead to the dismissal of charges, allowing individuals to avoid a criminal record and the associated long-term consequences.

It’s important to consult with a criminal defense attorney if facing drug possession charges in Arizona. Legal counsel can help navigate the complexities of drug laws, assess the specific circumstances of the case, and provide guidance on potential defenses, diversion programs, or alternative sentencing options to minimize the impact of a drug possession conviction.

Proposition 200

Proposition 200, also known as Prop 200, was a significant ballot initiative passed in Arizona in 1996. This proposition fundamentally changed the state’s approach to sentencing for certain drug offenses. Under Prop 200, non-violent, first and second-time drug offenders found in possession of a small amount of drugs were eligible for probation and drug treatment programs instead of mandatory incarceration. The proposition aimed to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment for individuals struggling with substance abuse issues and reduce the strain on the state’s overcrowded prisons. While it provided alternatives to incarceration, Prop 200 also included provisions for stricter sentencing for repeat drug offenders and those involved in drug-related crimes. Prop 200 marked a notable shift in Arizona’s drug sentencing policies, focusing on rehabilitation and diversion programs for certain drug offenders.

Proposition 200 is codified in ARS 13-901.01.

Sentencing Classifications

  • Possession or use of a dangerous drug: Class 4 felony
  • Possession of a dangerous drug for sale: Class 2 felony
  • Manufacturing a dangerous drug: Class 2 felony
  • Transporting a dangerous drug for sale: Class 2 felony

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