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Phoenix Drug Possession Lawyer

If you have been charged with a count of drug possession in Phoenix, contact a Phoenix drug possession attorney today. Understand the seriousness of the offense. Arizona drug laws have become more severe over the years in order to combat the rising amount of border violence linked to drug trafficking. However, it is important to keep in mind that an arrest does not equal a conviction, and regardless of the offense, we have an opportunity to keep it off your record with the assistance of an experienced Phoenix criminal attorney.

Arizona Drug Possession Resources:

How to Hire a Drug Possession Attorney in Phoenix

If you have been arrested for drug possession, do not hesitate to contact the Orent Law Offices. Craig Orent, a renowned Phoenix drug possession attorney, has over 30 years of experience in handling drug possession cases and understands the severity that Arizona’s drug laws bring. He works tirelessly to ensure that his clients do not face these penalties and develops defense strategies to protect his clients from years in prison.

First Time Drug Possession Charge in Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona has some of the toughest drug laws on record due to its proximity to the Mexican border. These laws to prevent drug trafficking across borders include the sale, use, and possession of: marijuana, crystal meth, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin. Legislators and politicians have tried to combat the drug problems by instilling severe penalties for even first time offenses in small quantities. For example, if you are arrested with even a small amount of marijuana found in your possession, you will face felony charges. Felony charges involve years in prison and heightened fines.

Phoenix is, unfortunately, one of the stops of the drug trade from Mexico to the United States and has led the state to develop stricter laws to tackle the drug problem head-on. These laws did not account for first time offenders who may have experimented one time, or maybe unintentionally had a friend’s drugs in their car. These laws leave little wiggle room, but an experienced criminal attorney will be able to develop a successful defense strategy to protect their clients.

Requirements to Prove Drug Possession

All crimes, including drug possession, require a high burden of proof – a jury must be certain beyond a reasonable double that the following two statements are true:

  1. You knowingly possessed a dangerous or narcotic drug.

It’s not enough, for example, to be in the same room as a dangerous or narcotic drug. Evidence must link you to the drug, such that you knew about its existence. A prosecutor must also show that you had control over the drug.

  1. The drug was, in fact, dangerous or a narcotic.

The prosecution must also establish that the substance recovered from your person was indeed dangerous or a narcotic – for example, it’s an established, scheduled drug by the DEA. This often requires scientific testing from a forensic scientist, who must testify in court about his or her findings.

If a prosecutor cannot provide evidence of these things beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot face a conviction for possession. Your criminal defense attorney will work to mount a defense on your behalf, whether it’s lack of knowledge, illegal search, and seizure, or even entrapment. If you’re facing possession charges, contact Phoenix criminal defense attorney Craig Orent to discuss your legal options today.

Punishment for Drug Possession

Drug possession offenses in Arizona cover a wide range of drug types and punishment ranges. Most drug offenses are harshly punished as legislators have begun to tackle a rising drug problem within the state. As a result, even a small amount of drugs found on your possession has the potential to drastically impact your future.

Drug possession charges can be based on federal or state law, and each comes with a different set amount of punishments and penalties. Trafficking drugs between states is a federal crime and tend to include heightened fines and longer punishments unless the accusations are disputed by a Phoenix federal crimes lawyer.

Aside from solely possessing a drug, drug possession offenses can include the following:

  • Possession for sale
  • Sale of illegal drugs
  • Transportation
  • Manufacture and cultivation
  • Drug trafficking
  • Prescription forgery

Drug possession charges can usually be tacked onto other drug crimes which in turn lead to heightened punishments unless they are contested with the help of a Phoenix drug crimes attorney, and may even lead to federal charges if the drugs have crossed state or international lines.

Punishment for drug possession will vary depending on the gravity of the offense, amount on your person, and criminal history. Possession charges may fall under both state and federal laws. Generally, there are two types of drug possession: simple possession, and possession with intent to sell.

Simple possession assumes that drugs found in your possession are for personal consumption. In Arizona, there are “threshold levels” that distinguish between simple possession and intent to sell. The intent to sell amount in Arizona is a weight, market value, or measure of an unlawful substance, including:

  • 1 gram of heroin
  • 4 grams or 50 mL of PCP
  • 9 grams of cocaine
  • 9 grams amphetamine
  • 9 grams of methamphetamine
  • 2 pounds of marijuana

Penalties for Drug Possession in Arizona

Penalties for Arizona drug charges pertain to Title 13, Chapter 34, Sections 3401-3421 of Arizona’s revised statutes. Under these laws:

  • Possession of a dangerous drug or narcotic can be a Class 1 misdemeanor, assuming you have no previous felony drug charges. This can carry fines of $2000 or three times the value of the drug in your possession, whichever is greater.
  • Possession of less than 2 lb. of marijuana can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Personally produced marijuana is a Class 5 felony. If convicted, you may face up to a year in jail and fines of $2000 or three times the value of the substance, whichever is greater.

Possession with intent to sell carries higher penalties and constitutes a felony offense. You may face these charges if you have a substance in excess of the threshold listed above, though the prosecution may use other evidence, such as the presence of scales, to pursue felony possession with intent to sell charges. Possession with intent to sell is a Class 4 felony, which can lead to 3.75 years for multiple offenses. You may also face additional fines and penalties – up to $100,000 or more.

Under Proposition 200, judges may no longer send first or second-time offenders to prison until they face their third conviction. Today, most drug offenders complete a standard probation term and undergo a mandatory drug treatment program. However, you may still face jail time if you violate the terms of your probation.

Additionally, the conviction of a drug-related offense can lead to a loss of public benefits. These include scholarships and tuition waivers, access to public housing, and other subsidies such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

What to expect if you are arrested for drug possession in Phoenix

Being arrested for drug possession anywhere in Arizona can be a scary experience. From the moment the blue lights start flashing and the officer places you under arrest, your mind is going to be on overload.

As we mentioned above, messing around with drugs in Arizona can get you into serious trouble. This state’s drug laws have little mercy for anyone in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. It is important to know what to expect after a drug possession arrest. Whether you are the one who has been arrested or you have a family member or friend who has been arrested, here is a quick guideline of what is coming.

Before you are arrested

At al phases of an arrest, it is important to remember that you do not have to speak to the police. Yes, you should give them your identifying information (name, age, etc.). Outside of that information, keep quiet. The police will record everything you say and use it against you in court.

When the police ask you questions at the scene, inform them you are choosing not to speak until you have a lawyer present with you. Do not try to talk your way out of getting arrested. If the police think you are in possession of drugs, they are going to arrest you no matter what you say.

Be respectful but adamant on keeping silent about anything you may or may not have done. Your right to stay silent also includes your right to not make any written statements or to sign any documents.

After the arrest happens

Every jurisdiction has its own laws regarding the possession of drugs. If you are arrested in Phoenix for drug possession, you will be taken to jail where you will be fingerprinted, have your mugshot taken, and sent to a cell. There, you wait for the first of multiple “days in court.”

If you have a drug possession lawyer, use your phone call from inside jail to contact them so they can get to work on securing your release. If you are a family member reading this and your loved one has called you, then you need to contact their attorney for them.

  • Please remember that all phone calls you make from the jail are recorded. Prosecutors will use these recordings against you in court if you say anything incriminating. When you make any phone calls, keep them simple. Let your drug possession lawyer or loved ones know you have been arrested. Do not discuss any aspect of your case over a jail phone.

The initial appearance will be a bond hearing where a judge will set the amount of money needed to get you out (or not, depending on your criminal history and the amount of drugs you were in possession of). By bailing out of jail, you can avoid having to sit in the Maricopa County jail for the duration of your case.

Your attorney will work diligently

The main thing you need to do after being arrested for drug possession is to stay out of trouble. Go to work and stay in compliance with any conditions of your release on bail. Let your attorney work on examining the evidence of your case and handle all discussions with the prosecution. You need to keep track of all court dates and show up to everyone your attorney tells you to be at. Whether you are seeking a plea bargain or looking to go to trial will greatly affect the length of time your case takes, and your drug possession attorney will guide you on the right path.