Charged With Drug Possession? Discover The Powerful Defense Strategies We Offer in Phoenix
Drug possession charges certainly sound like a simple idea. In Arizona, however, it can rapidly get very complicated. And you need our Phoenix drug possession lawyer at Snader Law Group by your side to navigate these complexities.
The crime of “simple possession” means that you had illegal drugs for personal use. In most instances, that’s a relatively minor offense. It’s a very different story when the drugs are going to be sold to other people, though; that’s considerably more serious and draws much heavier potential penalties. If you are caught with drugs for distribution, you need to contact a Phoenix drug distribution attorney.
The penalties for possession span a wide range from misdemeanors to serious felonies which involve lengthy prison sentences. Many cases of possession of illegal drugs also allow the state to charge related offenses, most commonly the possession of “paraphernalia” associated with the use of the drug involved, which are made separate crimes under Arizona’s laws. We recognize your unique case and we understand the toll it takes on anyone going through the same thing. We are here and we can help you.
Contact a Phoenix Drug Possession Attorney today to schedule your free case consultation.
The Type and Quantity of Drug Matters
Arizona has created several basic categories of drugs to classify offenses and penalties, through drug scheduling:
- Schedule I: These are drugs with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Examples include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy (MDMA).
- Schedule II: These are drugs with a high potential for abuse, but they have accepted medical uses and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples include oxycodone, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
- Schedule III: These are drugs with a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule I and II substances. They have accepted medical uses and may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Examples include anabolic steroids and certain medications containing codeine.
- Schedule IV: These are drugs with a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule III substances. They have accepted medical uses and a lower likelihood of leading to physical or psychological dependence. Examples include Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam).
- Schedule V: These are drugs with the lowest potential for abuse among controlled substances. They have accepted medical uses and a minimal risk of physical or psychological dependence. Examples include cough preparations containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams.
- Marijuana: Arizona has legalized the medical use of marijuana, and recreational use was also legalized for adults over the age of 21 through a voter initiative. However, marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level.
If you are facing drug-related charges in Arizona, it’s crucial to consult with our drug possession lawyer who can provide guidance on the specific laws and penalties related to the controlled substances involved in your case and help you navigate the legal process.
Indications of Intent to Sell
There are numerous facts other than the amount of the drug involved that may be considered to have some bearing on whether the defendant possessed illegal drugs for personal use or for sale. Other evidence that may bear on the personal use versus sale distinction may include:
- Large amounts of cash found on the defendant or under his control, for which there is no good explanation
- The presence or absence of the kinds of equipment is usually associated with the sale of the type of drug involved (bags for packaging, scales for weighing, etc.).
Our experienced Phoenix drug possession charges defense attorneys know how to deal with these facts, and anticipate how the prosecutor will try to spin them.
What To Do If I Have Been Charged With Drug Possession in Phoenix, AZ?
If you have been charged with drug possession in Phoenix, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to protect your rights and seek legal assistance. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you find yourself in this situation:
- Stay Calm and Do Not Discuss the Case: It’s essential to remain calm and avoid discussing the details of your case with anyone, especially law enforcement, without an attorney present. Anything you say can be used against you later.
- Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Politely inform law enforcement that you wish to remain silent until you consult with an attorney.
- Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney: One of the most critical steps you can take is to hire an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug possession cases. A knowledgeable Phoenix drug possession lawyer can assess the details of your case, provide legal advice, and represent your interests.
- Gather Information: Provide your attorney with all the information you have about the case, including any documents, witness contact information, and a detailed account of the events leading up to your arrest.
- Understand the Charges: Work closely with your attorney to understand the specific charges against you and the potential penalties you may face. Assess the evidence against you and explore potential legal defenses.
- Consider Alternatives: In some cases, your Phoenix drug possession attorney may explore alternatives to traditional prosecution, such as diversion programs, drug court, or plea negotiations to reduce charges or penalties.
- Appear in Court: Attend all court appearances as required. Your attorney will guide you through the court process and represent you during hearings and trials.
- Comply with Bail Conditions: If you have been released on bail or bond, ensure you comply with all conditions set by the court, such as drug testing or travel restrictions.
The legal process can be complex, and the outcome of your case will depend on various factors. Having a skilled Phoenix drug possession attorney on your side can significantly impact the result. Give us a call as soon as possible after being charged with drug possession to ensure your rights are protected and to explore the best legal options available to you.
Can I Go To Jail For Drug Possession in Arizona?
Yes, you can go to jail for drug possession in Arizona. Drug possession is generally classified as a felony offense and the severity of the potential jail sentence depends on various factors.
What are the Penalties for Possession of Drugs in Arizona?
The penalties for drug possession in Arizona can vary depending on several factors, including the type of drug, the quantity of the drug in your possession, your prior criminal record, and whether you are charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute. Arizona has some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. Here’s an overview of the potential penalties for drug possession in the state:
- For many controlled substances, simple possession is classified as a Class 4 felony.
- Penalties can include up to 3.75 years in prison for a first offense.
- Subsequent convictions may result in longer prison sentences, and there may be mandatory minimum sentences for certain drugs.
- Possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana for personal use is generally classified as a Class 6 felony.
- Penalties can include up to 2 years in prison for a first offense.
- Possession of more than 2 pounds of marijuana is typically charged as possession with intent to distribute, which can result in more severe penalties.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Possession with intent to distribute is typically charged as a more serious felony offense.
- Penalties can include longer prison sentences, especially if large quantities of drugs are involved.
- Enhanced penalties may apply if the distribution occurs near a school or involves minors.
Drug Paraphernalia Possession
- Possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate offense in Arizona.
- It is classified as a Class 6 felony, with penalties including possible imprisonment and fines.
Drug Court and Diversion Programs
- In some cases, especially for first-time offenders, Arizona offers diversion programs or drug courts as an alternative to incarceration. Completion of these programs may lead to reduced charges or dismissal of charges.
- If you have prior drug-related convictions on your record, you may face enhanced penalties, including longer prison sentences.
- Proposition 200, a voter-approved law in Arizona, allows for the possibility of probation and drug treatment instead of incarceration for first-and second-time non-violent drug offenders.
You may also be charged with a federal crime if the drugs were taken across state or international boundaries, or if “interstate” mechanisms were used to facilitate any aspect of the drug transaction (making arrangements and deals by mail, e-mail, etc.).
The addition of federal charges complicates the case and magnifies the importance of getting immediate, experienced legal help. There are then two sets of laws to analyze and defend, and the prosecution has the services of federal investigative agencies to help make the case against you.
Defending the Drug Possession Case
Defending possession cases requires an in-depth understanding of Arizona’s laws, the likely impact of the various facts of the case, and how the prosecutors go about building their case. For example, you aren’t guilty of possession if you never knew the drugs were there, but prosecutors don’t usually have much incentive to investigate that angle of the case until the defense attorney gives them a good reason. And there are several ways that innocent people end up in “possession” of drugs without ever knowing it, including:
- People you know can use your property—a vehicle, a toolbox, a cabinet in your home—as hiding places for their drugs.
- You may be tricked into driving a vehicle that the owner knows contains drugs.
- Co-workers may hide drugs in your work area.
Some cases involve improper actions by the police or by the prosecutors. Examples of these defenses include:
- Failure to adequately inform you about your right to remain silent and to consult an attorney
- Not living up to the legal requirements for detaining you and bringing you to trial
- Lack of probable cause for the police search that found the drugs
- Invalid search warrants.
Help for Drug Possession Charges in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Area
Get the legal help you need to get the best result possible by calling Attorney Howard A. Snader. Howard has the in-depth understanding that comes from having been a Maricopa County prosecutor before he began the exclusive practice of criminal defense work 25 years ago. He carries the highest rating by his peers and is a certified specialist in criminal law.
Whether you are facing allegations relating to drug cultivation and manufacturing, drug distribution, possession of marijuana, or prescription drug fraud, Snader Law Group is more than ready to assist you.
Don’t settle for less when your reputation and future are on the line. If you’re facing prosecution for a drug offense anywhere in Arizona, call Howard Snader and get him working on your defense the right way. Schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix drug possession attorney today!