Drug Possession Laws in Arizona

If you or a person you love has been charged with drug possession in the state of Arizona, it is not something to be taken lightly. You will likely have to deal with paying fines and court costs, as well as possibly being required to attend some kind of addiction counseling, and receiving probation. And even small amounts of some drugs, like cocaine, can mean that you will be facing prison time. Get serious about your defense and do it early on by contacting an experienced Phoenix drug possession attorney who will work with you to ensure that you get the most positive results possible from your case.

Arizona Drug Possession: Classifications of Drugs

As noted in the reference to cocaine above, the laws of Arizona treat different kinds of drugs in different ways. Some drugs will automatically net you higher charges and stiffer penalties than others. Arizona’s classification of drugs is broken into three parts: narcotics, marijuana, and dangerous drugs.

Drugs that Arizona considers dangerous drugs include things like:

  • methamphetamines
  • LSD
  • steroids
  • psilocybic mushrooms
  • mescalin
  • GHB
  • Ecstasy
  • Clonazepam

Possession of any drugs classified as dangerous will mean that you will receive a Class 1 misdemeanor charge that carries with it penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and 6 months of jail time.

Drugs that Arizona classifies as illegal narcotics include many well-known controlled substances such as:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Opium

Possession of any drugs classified as illegal narcotics will mean that you will receive a Class 5 Felony charge and face an attached prison sentence of up to 18 months, as well as applicable fines and other penalties.

The third category of Arizona illegal drugs is the only one to include just a single controlled substance: marijuana. Despite, or perhaps because most other illegal drugs tend to be considered more addictive and more dangerous than marijuana, the laws in Arizona governing this drug are varied and complex when compared to those for other substances. The charges you will face largely depend on the amount of marijuana in your possession, but since most possession charges deal with only small amounts, that’s all we’re going to touch on here. Larger amounts often receive different charges altogether that can involve selling, distribution, and trafficking.

For possession of anything less than 2 pounds of marijuana, the charge in Arizona is a Class 6 felony that carries with it a penalty of up to a year of prison time.

How to Fight Arizona Drug Possession Charges

The number one thing that you want to do as soon as possible when you are charged with drug possession is to seek out the counsel of an experienced Phoenix attorney who knows and has dealt with the local statutes on drugs and possession charges.

If this is your first offense, one thing your attorney needs to look into is Arizona’s deferred prosecution. In an attempt to keep people out of jail and encourage rehabilitation rather than punishment, the state will stop the process of prosecuting your offense in exchange for you participating in a probation program. This might entail drug tests, treatment, and even classes, but if you successfully complete the program, all criminal charges will be dropped. If for some reason you are unable to make it through the program, you will be required to face the original charges and penalties.

Even if this option is not available to you, that does not mean that you don’t want a good criminal lawyer on your side. A legal expert can make sure you understand everything that is going to happen to you and how you can best help him or her to ensure that they do everything possible to lessen your charges or even get them dismissed.

By Michael Munoz

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