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Posted on February 13, 2018 in Drugs

Is Drug Possession a Felony?

Being convicted of felony drug charges in Arizona can result in thousands of dollars in fines along with time spent in prison. Felony charges are severe because the crimes committed under the felony umbrella are typically serious crimes. If you have been charged for a felony, contact a drug possession attorney as soon as possible.

What Types of Crimes Are Felonies?

Crimes classified as felonies usually include those that cause or have the potential to cause harm to another person. A few examples of crimes that are felonies include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide
  • Burglary
  • Grand theft
  • Certain types of DUIs
  • Drug trafficking or distribution of drugs

What About Drug Possession?

Many people are surprised to find out that possession of drugs for personal use can also be a felony. What’s surprising about this is that the vast majority of people arrested for possession of drugs for personal use are clinically addicted to the drugs in their possession. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies drug addiction as a medical condition. Even the federal government considers personal use possession to be a misdemeanor infraction.

By classifying drug possession for personal use as a felony, society is punishing people for having a disease. If someone is addicted to drugs, the drugs they have in their possession are directly related to their disease. Their bodies have developed a need for the drug and they experience physical symptoms called withdrawal symptoms if their body goes too long without the chemical it has become dependent on. A drug crimes lawyer in Phoenix could argue that one has a mental disorder because of their addiction to drugs and get the penalties reduced or even dropped. Treating them as serious criminals is like treating someone with cancer as a criminal if they are using chemotherapy drugs to treat their disease.

Why Is It a Felony?

There are different reasons and theories as to why drug possession for personal use is still considered a felony.

Lawbreakers should be punished, and it will serve as a deterrent. If this were true, states with the stiffest penalties for drug use would also have the lowest rates of drug use and arrests for drug possession. The reality is that the states that consider personal use drug possession a misdemeanor do not have higher incarceration rates and their rate of drug use is actually a little bit lower. The rate of people who are admitted to drug treatment programs is higher. What this means is that there are fewer arrests, fewer drug users, and more drug treatment taking place in states that have reduced penalties for addiction-related drug possession crimes.

Drug addiction is still stigmatized in society. Drug addiction is viewed as something that only happens to weak people who make bad decisions. This thought process protects people from the fear that it could happen to them. The reality is that drug addiction is not limited to a certain segment of the population. It’s a disease the touches all socio-economic groups, races, genders, age groups, professions – no one is immune from this disease. The current opioid addiction crisis in this country frequently starts with prescription pain pills received after surgery.

What About Drug Possession in Arizona?

Arizona has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. Even possessing less than two pounds of marijuana is considered a felony and a conviction can result in a minimum fine of $1000 and from 4 months up to 2 years in prison.

Do I Need a Drug Possession Lawyer?

Yes! A felony is a very serious charge that has life-long consequences if you are convicted. An experienced Arizona defense attorney will know how to evaluate the charges against you to mount a strategic defense. If your attorney can find holes in the case against you or evidence that the police acted improperly, they may be able to have the charges dismissed. Don’t leave your fate to chance, get expert representation to fight for your rights.