Phoenix Drug Possession Defense Lawyers
In Arizona, drug possession charges range from very serious to relatively minor. Possession of a dangerous drug, according to Arizona Code Section 13-3407, is defined as possession of drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines or marijuana in addition to illegal possession of prescription drugs. However, the punishments for possession range from those of a Class 4 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. In addition, even felony charges may be reduced to misdemeanor charges if a person has no prior convictions.
In 1996, Arizona citizens passed a law known as Proposition 200. This law was passed in an effort to streamline the criminal justice process for first-time offenders of drug possession laws and to offer them a chance to rehabilitate without terrible legal consequences. However, there are many exceptions to the parameters of this law; for example, even first-time offenders of methamphetamine possession do not qualify for reduced sentences.
A misdemeanor drug violation could result in as much as six months in prison; it could also result in probation with specific conditions. In some cases, defendants who are willing to comply with the strict standards of the TASC program can have charges dismissed upon successful completion of all requirements. However, this program is expensive; offenders must enroll in and attend regular sessions of counseling and must submit to drug testing, as well as pay costs of up to $2,500 for all program activities.
Those convicted of a felony may serve up to 45 months in prison; those who have prior convictions may face longer sentences. Furthermore, a felony conviction may appear on a person’s record for life and may be taken into account regarding sentencing if the person commits offenses other than drug possession.
Clearly, the law regarding drug possession is complex and how your case is handled will be very circumstance-dependent. Prosecutors generally take a firm stance on those who are accused of selling drugs rather than possession of a small amount of personal use, but no one rule is set in stone. This is one reason why, if you are ever accused of any type of drug possession, it is wise to seek professional legal counsel. The repercussions of a drug conviction can stretch far into the future and may affect the rest of your life. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help you minimize the damage caused by a drug possession conviction by working with you to either defend your case or arrange a beneficial plea agreement.