Your Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney request your free consultation

Phoenix Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Phoenix Drug Trafficking Lawyer, Craig OrentHave you been arrested for drug trafficking? Do you believe you are under investigation by the DEA? There is no time to waste; a Phoenix drug trafficking lawyer can help you protect your rights and fight for your freedom. Orent Law Offices is here to give you the legal defense you deserve. Contact us at (480) 656-7301.

We will give you an honest assessment of your case and explore possible defense strategies in a free case review.

How Orent Law Offices Can Help if You’re Arrested for Drug Trafficking in Phoenix, AZ

Handcuffs

When you are charged with drug trafficking, you are facing a lengthy prison sentence with limited options for probation. In the state of Arizona, drug laws are strict, and prosecutors are unforgiving and aggressive. You may be surprised to be charged with trafficking after a routine traffic stop or for small amounts of drugs for personal use.

Given the severity of the drug charge you are facing, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. At Orent Law Offices, we have more than three decades of legal experience defending clients against serious drug crimes in Phoenix, AZ.

Founding attorney Craig Orent is a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and Certified Criminal Law Specialist. He will put this expertise to work on your case to seek a dismissal, reduced charge, or satisfactory plea deal. Our law firm will not rest in pursuing the strongest defense strategy available to you.

Choose a Phoenix criminal defense attorney at Orent Law Offices to represent you and count on our law office to:

  • Carefully investigate whether your constitutional rights were violated
  • Raise reasonable doubt through exculpatory evidence, expert testimony, discrediting the prosecution’s witnesses, and contesting evidence findings
  • Offer sound legal advice and guidance as you navigate the criminal justice system
  • Negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and seek alternate penalties when available

Call Orent Law Offices today for a free consultation. Our Phoenix drug trafficking lawyer is here to fight for you and your freedom.

What Is Drug Trafficking in Arizona?

Drug trafficking is a common drug offense in Phoenix. Many think of drug trafficking as transporting large amounts of drugs across the border or state lines. However, trafficking can actually apply to a wide range of offenses.

Arizona law cover possession, use, manufacture, sale, and transfer of:

  • Precursor and regulated chemicals
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Narcotic drugs

Most people charged with drug trafficking are charged for trafficking of one of the following groups of drugs:

  • ARS §13-3407, dangerous drugs including depressants like lorazepam; amphetamines and methamphetamine; hallucinogenic drugs like mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD; and other non-marijuana illicit drugs.
  • ARS §13-3408, narcotic drugs include fentanyl, opium, codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and cocaine.

These statutes make it a crime to transport for sale, import into Arizona, or offer for transport for import, sale, or transfer a dangerous drug or narcotic.

The elements of possession with intent to distribute or trafficking are:

  • Control over the controlled substance,
  • Knowledge of the presence of the controlled substance,
  • Knowledge that the substance was a dangerous drug, narcotic, or illegal drug, and
  • The drug was possessed with intent to distribute, transport, or sell.

Under Arizona law, if you are found with a certain amount of illicit drugs in your possession, there is an assumption the drugs were for distribution or sale. This law is called Arizona’s “statutory threshold amount” and arguing the drugs were for personal use is not a defense.

The following are Arizona threshold amounts for common illicit drugs:

  • Heroin: 1 gram
  • Cocaine: 9 grams
  • PCP: 4 grams
  • Methamphetamine or amphetamine: 9 grams
  • LSD: 0.5ml or 50 units
  • Drugs not listed: Value exceeding $1,000

Thanks to this threshold amount law, otherwise simple drug possession offenses can easily become a much more serious trafficking offense. Phoenix drug trafficking charges often result from otherwise routine traffic stops on interstates like I-40 and I-10. They can also be the result of sophisticated police investigations or when parcels are intercepted in the mail.

Federal Drug Trafficking Charges in Phoenix

In addition to state trafficking charges, you may also face a federal drug trafficking charge. Some trafficking cases involve investigation by federal law enforcement agencies like the DEA which may employ wiretapping and undercover federal agents.

The federal government considers Arizona a “national-level distribution center” with a multifaceted transportation infrastructure (including extensive highways) and a nearby border with Mexico. The state regularly sees activity high-level drug trafficking organizations from Mexico affiliated with drug cartels.

This means federal law enforcement is frequently deployed to fight trafficking in Arizona. Trafficking can become a federal drug trafficking charge in the following scenarios:

  • Transportation across state lines or the border
  • Arrest is made by federal law enforcement
  • Cases involving large sums of cash or money laundering
  • Prescription and/or Medicare fraud
  • Deaths linked to trafficking outside the state
  • Suspicion of involvement in a criminal organization

A federal drug trafficking charge is even more serious than a state offense. State and federal offenses aren’t just tried in different court systems; penalties are very different. For a first offense, federal trafficking comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and up to 40 years. Federal penalties are based on the type of drug and the amount.

No matter what type of drug trafficking charge you face, it’s important to work with an attorney who has a depth of experience handling all complex criminal drug matters. Phoenix drug crime lawyer Craig Orent is ready to defend you in state court, against federal charges, and at any point in time when you need help.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Phoenix, Arizona?

Under Arizona law, trafficking of a dangerous drug or narcotic is a class 2 felony.

This felony class comes with the following possible sentences:

  • No prior criminal record: 4 to 10 years in prison, eligible for probation if the threshold amount is not exceeded
  • One prior conviction: 6 to 18.5 years in prison, usually not eligible for probation
  • Two prior convictions: 14 to 28 years in prison, not eligible for probation

If your case involves drugs exceeding the threshold amount, you are not eligible for probation, a suspended sentence, or a release from prison until you have served the sentence imposed by the court.

Arizona law also treats methamphetamine more harshly than other drugs. For a first offense of trafficking involving methamphetamine, the penalty is 5 to 15 years in prison with a presumptive sentence of 10 years. With a previous violation, the penalty is increased to 10 to 20 years with a 15-year presumptive sentence.

Even if you did not possess the statutory threshold amount of methamphetamine and successfully argue for personal use, having the charge dropped from trafficking to possession will not qualify for Prop 200 protection. Arizona’s Prop 200 allows first-time drug offenders to be sentenced to probation only without jail time. It is not available in trafficking cases, and methamphetamine offenses are specifically excluded by statute thanks to Prop 301.

You may also face a fine of up to $2,000 for narcotic drugs and $1,000 for prescriptions or dangerous drugs.

What Are Possible Defenses to Drug Trafficking in Phoenix?

When you are facing a serious charge of drug trafficking, you may feel hopeless and overwhelmed. No matter how hopeless your case appears, there may be multiple defense strategies available. At Orent Law Offices, our drug crime attorneys in Phoenix will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to build the strongest defense possible.

Lack of Knowledge and/or Control

If the state alleges you were in control of drugs above the threshold amount, they must still prove not only that you were in control of the drugs but you had actual knowledge of what the substance was. Evidence proving these elements may not even exist or may be circumstantial. If the drugs were found in a common area of a shared home or vehicle, it may be enough to raise reasonable doubt.

Violations of Constitutional Rights

Your case may also involve violations of your constitutional rights. We will investigate the circumstances of your arrest and how evidence was gathered. If you were not read your Miranda rights or you were not allowed to have an attorney present during questioning, evidence acquired during interrogation may be excluded. We may also seek to have evidence excluded if police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over or evidence was gathered through an illegal search.

Lack of Evidence

If it is not alleged that you were in possession of a controlled substance exceeding the threshold amount, other defenses become available. In this case, the prosecution must prove intent to distribute in another way. These cases often lack direct evidence of trafficking or transactions and may rely on circumstantial evidence like the presence of cash, baggies, or witness testimony.

An experienced Phoenix drug crime defense lawyer will employ multiple strategies to weaken the prosecution’s case. This may include arguing personal use for a reduced charge of drug possession.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Phoenix Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Drug trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes in Phoenix with harsh penalties if convicted. With your freedom on the line, Orent Law Offices is here to help with a vigorous legal defense. We will aggressively pursue the strongest defense possible, protect your rights, and form a multi-faceted strategy to fight the charge you are facing.

Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix drug trafficking lawyer to get started building your defense.