Have you been arrested for drug possession in Phoenix, AZ? Orent Law Offices is here to help you fight for your future. Phoenix drug possession lawyer Craig Orent has more than 33 years of experience providing passionate legal representation. Call today at (480) 656-7301 to schedule a free consultation.
Drug offenses are taken very seriously in Phoenix and the consequences of a conviction can affect you for the rest of your life. It’s crucial to begin planning your legal defense as soon as possible. We are ready to put this experience to work for you.
The Arizona criminal justice system treats drug offenses very harshly. When you have been arrested for drug possession, the prosecution may seek the maximum prison term. They are rarely sympathetic even to low-level offenders struggling with addiction. While Arizona law allows most first-time offenders to be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony and avoid jail time, don’t count on the prosecution to offer it.
You deserve an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you navigate the criminal justice system and defend yourself.
At Orent Law Offices, we have fought for Phoenix, Arizona residents arrested for drug possession for more than 33 years. Founding attorney Craig Orent is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and one of a select number of Arizona criminal defense lawyers admitted to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers organization.
Choose Orent Law Offices to defend you and count on us to:
Orent Law Offices is dedicated to giving you the sound legal defense you deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free case review with a Phoenix drug defense lawyer ready to help you.
Possession of dangerous drugs is the lowest level drug offense involving controlled substances in Phoenix. However, it is still usually a felony and carries harsh penalties.
Arizona does make an important exception for first-time offenders. If you are arrested for a first-time drug offense, and the drug is not methamphetamine, amphetamine, or LSD, the charge can be reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor.
However, this is at the discretion of the court. You cannot qualify to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor if you have been convicted of any felony, however, even a non-drug-related offense.
Arizona’s drug laws fall under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. Arizona separates controlled substances into several categories, including narcotic drugs and dangerous drugs. Narcotic drugs are covered under ARS § 13-3408 while “dangerous drugs” are covered under ARS § 13-3407.
A narcotic or dangerous drug in Arizona includes most substances other than marijuana. This includes:
Both narcotics and dangerous drugs are treated in a similar way under Arizona law. However, there are some differences.
If you are found in possession of a dangerous drug and the amount of drugs exceeds the Arizona statutory threshold amount, it creates an assumption of intent to sell. This means your charge will be automatically upgraded to intent to distribute with a mandatory minimum prison term – even without actual evidence of sales or intent. This is true even for first-time offenses.
Arizona’s threshold amounts are:
If you are facing drug possession with intent to distribute, the stakes become even higher with no possibility for probation or a suspended sentence. You also face a lengthy prison term. This makes it crucial to consult with an experienced Phoenix drug defense lawyer as soon as possible to build your defense.
Arizona has six classes of felonies. Use or possession of a dangerous drug or narcotic is a Class 4 felony in Phoenix.
A Class 4 felony is usually punishable by 18 months to 3 years in prison. The presumptive sentence is 2 years, 6 months. This is the standard sentence that judges give in most cases.
A drug conviction can affect your life in many other ways. You may lose public benefits, including public housing and subsidies. It can affect your right to vote and own a gun. It can also affect your ability to find gainful employment and hold a professional license.
Arizona’s Proposition 200 allows people convicted of a first-offense drug possession charge, without intent to sell, to be placed on probation. The court cannot sentence you to prison and you cannot receive jail time as a condition of probation.
However, not all first-time drug offenders are covered by this law.
Proposition 200 does not cover offenders who have:
Proposition 200 essentially allows discretionary plea bargaining to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. If you are facing a first-time drug possession charge, an experienced Phoenix drug possession attorney will help you fight for protection under Prop 200 to avoid jail time and get the treatment you need.
Arizona treats methamphetamine more harshly than any other drug thanks to Proposition 301, passed in 2006 when the state was facing an epidemic of meth making its way in from Mexico. Under this law, someone charged with methamphetamine possession, even as a first-time offender, must face prison time.
It’s important to keep in mind that drug possession is also a federal offense. Most people arrested for drug possession in Phoenix are charged under Arizona law, but you may be charged under the federal Controlled Substances Act. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to marijuana possession.
Possession of marijuana for personal use is now legal in Arizona under Prop 207. Previously, Arizona also allowed medical marijuana. However, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 dangerous drug by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act. This means you can use marijuana and comply with Arizona law but violate federal law.
Federal prosecution of marijuana possession is very rare. The Department of Justice announced it would not interfere with legal marijuana use in states, but individual agents have discretion. Certain actions such as attempting to cross state lines or entering an airport with marijuana may result in federal charges.
There many ways in which experienced Phoenix drug possession lawyers can help you defend yourself against a drug offense. The first step is investigating whether your constitutional rights were violated.
At Orent Law Offices, we will find out if your rights were violated during your arrest, through an illegal search and seizure, or when you were being interrogated. If so, evidence against you may be excluded from trial. Sometimes this is enough to completely break the case against you.
Even if your rights were not violated, there are defenses available. Arizona law requires that you knowingly possessed or used the illicit substance. Many people are arrested when they were unaware there were controlled substances in their vehicle or home.
It may be a valid defense if someone living with you or unknown to you stashed drugs in your car or home.
The prosecution must also show that you were in possession or constructive possession of the substance. You cannot be guilty of drug possession that was not in your control and when you were unaware it was an illegal substance. This defense may come into play if drugs are found in someone else’s belongings who is with you or you were holding someone else’s drugs without realizing what they were.
Are you facing drug possession charges in Phoenix, AZ? Do not delay in seeking experienced legal counsel to help you defend yourself. You are innocent until proven guilty and a skilled defense lawyer can help you clear your name and potentially avoid Arizona’s harsh drug law penalties.
Contact Orent Law Offices today for a free consultation with a Phoenix drug possession lawyer who will put his decades of legal experience to work fighting for you.