Are you facing charges involving the possession, cultivation, or sale of marijuana in Phoenix, Arizona? These charges are serious. Your future and freedom may be on the line, and you need a qualified Phoenix marijuana defense lawyer that can help you make sense of these complicated legal matters. Call Orent Law Offices, PLC at (480) 656-7301 for a free consultation. We’re always standing by to take your call.
Unlike many other states in the country, marijuana is still mostly illegal in Arizona. Having a drug crime on your record could prevent you from getting a job, getting an apartment, or even getting federal student loans. Your best bet to minimize the consequences of your arrest is to hire an experienced Phoenix criminal lawyer to represent you. Attorney Craig Orent has over 33 years of experience defending the people of Arizona. Contact Orent Law Offices, PLC for a free consultation.
At Orent Law Offices, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have been representing clients against criminal drug charges in Maricopa County for more than 33 years. When you call us for help, we’ll aggressively defend you and do everything we can to secure the best possible outcome in your case.
When you call our Phoenix marijuana defense lawyers for help, you can expect us to:
If the state won’t drop the charges or offer a fair deal, our skilled trial attorneys will defend you in court. We’ve been doing this for a long time and know how to get a jury on our side. We’ll make it as difficult as possible for jurors to convict.
The time to begin building your defense is now. Call our skilled team of criminal defense lawyers to get started today.
As you may know, states across the country are starting to legalize marijuana use. However, Arizona is not currently one of them. This means that you are not permitted to consume any amount of this substance for recreational purposes.
If you are caught with marijuana in Arizona, you may face one of several crimes. The penalties will depend on your activities as well as the quantity involved. Further, all punishments increase if you have prior convictions on your record.
Now, in Arizona, it is illegal to knowingly possess or use marijuana. If you’re charged with possession, the penalties will ultimately depend on how much of the drug you have.
Less Than 2 Pounds: If you are arrested with less than 2 pounds, this is considered a class 6 felony. It carries a potential jail term of between 4 months and 1.5 years.
However, if this is your first offense, the prosecutor has the option of charging you with only a misdemeanor. This is penalized with probation, 8 hours of drug education, and community service.
Between 2 and 4 Pounds: By contrast, if you have in your possession between 2 and 4 pounds of marijuana, you could be charged with a class 5 felony. This carries a potential period of incarceration of between 6 months and 2 years.
More Than 4 Pounds: Finally, having more than 4 pounds in your possession is considered a class 4 felony. It carries a penalty of between 1 and 3 years behind bars. Note that with all of these marijuana offenses, you may also face fines up to $150,000.
Keep in mind that the above charges involve only marijuana possession. But, if you are arrested with over 2 pounds, there is a presumption that you intended to sell the drug. This means that you could be hit with distribution charges (see below) as well. Further, note that you are not eligible for probation if you are caught with these amounts.
In addition to possession, it is also illegal in Arizona to knowingly sell marijuana. As you might expect, the penalties for this crime are more severe than with simple possession cases. Specifically, if your offense involved less than 2 pounds, this is considered a class 4 felony and you could face between 1 and 3 years in prison.
By contrast, having between 2 and 4 pounds is deemed a class 3 felony, which can lead to a minimum of 2 years and up to 7 years of incarceration. Note that being arrested with more than 4 pounds is considered a class 2 felony, which carries a potential prison term of between 3 and 10 years. Like possession, all of these offenses subject the offender to fines up to $150,000 per charge.
Now, Arizona has also criminalized the cultivation of marijuana. This means that you can be charged with growing an illegal substance in addition to the other drug crimes listed above.
If the crime involved less than 2 pounds, this is considered a class 5 felony. If you had between 2 and 4 pounds, you could be charged with a class 4 felony. For amounts above 4 pounds, the offense is deemed a class 3 felony.
Bear in mind that it is illegal to knowingly transport marijuana. This might include carrying it for a drug dealer or even bringing it into Arizona from a state where the substance is legal. If the transport involved less than 2 pounds, this is considered a class 3 felony. Any amounts over 2 pounds, however, could lead to you being charged with a class 2 felony.
It’s important to note that you can be arrested even if there is no amount of marijuana in your possession. This is because it is also a crime in Arizona to have any drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia includes anything that is used to plant, cultivate, grow, manufacture, package, or consume marijuana.
This definition is not always clear and you may be confused as to what falls under the category of paraphernalia. That said, the court will consider several factors in making this determination, including:
Now, possession of marijuana paraphernalia is considered a class 6 felony in Arizona. Also, keep in mind that the items are subject to forfeiture, which means that the state can seize your property.
Note that in cases where an offender is facing possession or paraphernalia charges, the court has the option of ordering the person to attend a diversion program in lieu of criminal prosecution. This option is not available to those with more than 3 prior convictions of possession on their record.
The diversion program involves drug screening, education, and counseling and lasts between 3 and 6 months. In order to qualify, the prosecutor must recommend this option in exchange for an admission of guilt. If you are facing charges, an attorney can be very helpful in getting the diversion program offered.
The major benefit of successfully completing the diversion program is that you avoid having a criminal offense on your record. However, note that in order to make it through, you need to pass all drug tests.
As you may or may not know, medicinal marijuana use is allowed under limited circumstances in Arizona. That’s thanks to the Medical Marijuana Act. However, to be able to do so legally you must have a “qualifying” condition. These conditions are stated in the law and include:
Prior to receiving a medicinal license, you first need a doctor’s recommendation. You or the medical professional will then submit an application to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Keep in mind that your card expires every 2 years and you must renew it to keep your legal status. You are allowed to have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana per 14-day period.
Now, home cultivation is also allowed, but only if you live more than 25 miles from a state-licensed dispensary. If you qualify, you can grow up to 12 plants.
It’s important to note that if you violate any of these rules you are subject to facing criminal charges. For that reason, it’s critical that you go through the proper application process, renew your card when required, and do not possess or grow more than the amounts allowed by law.
In all criminal cases, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. This means that a prosecutor must show that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard and requires significant evidence.
There may be instances where a criminal defense attorney can be successful in keeping certain key evidence out of a case. An example would be if you were the victim of an illegal search or law enforcement did not read you your Miranda warning during the arrest. Because your constitutional rights were violated, any evidence the police obtained through these means could not be used against you.
In addition, as mentioned, the law involving these crimes requires that you intend to either possess, sell, or cultivate marijuana. This means that it would be a defense if you had no knowledge of these activities. An example would be if a houseguest left drugs at your home without telling you.
If you are arrested and have a valid marijuana card issued in the state of Arizona, this would also be a defense. Further, the state has what is known as “reciprocity” with other states. This means that if you are a resident of another state, but are diagnosed with a condition recognized under Arizona criminal law and have a valid license in your home state, local authorities must honor your right to use medicinal marijuana.
Don’t go it alone. A marijuana charge is not something to take lightly. However, you may have options that a marijuana lawyer can help you pursue. Whether you were caught with a joint on campus or police discovered an ounce in your car during a routine traffic stop, Orent Law Offices is here to help.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with our skilled criminal defense team in Phoenix.