The Legal Price for Abusing Illegal Drugs In Arizona
As substance abuse issues continue to grow throughout Arizona, the state’s drug laws concerning drug possession have become clearer than ever. Knowing what criminal charges you or a loved one may face for drug possession is important when making safe and informed decisions. But can you be charged with drug possession after the fact?
If you are worried about possession charges or have already been charged, seeking treatment services can be an effective sign to prosecutors and Judges about your willingness to change.
Keep reading to learn more about Arizona drug laws and how you can handle drug possession charges. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and are in need of treatment, the Catalina Behavioral Health facility can help you achieve lasting sobriety.
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How Are Drugs Classified In Arizona?
Arizona separates controlled dangerous substances (CDS) into six different categories, which are: marijuana, peyote, prescription medications, dangerous drugs, narcotics, and substances that produce toxic vapors.
The state has certain threshold levels for CDS, which dictate what an appropriate amount is when suspecting the possessor of intent to sell these drugs. This allows the possessor to be faced with prison time regardless of further evidence or lack of a previous criminal record.
This threshold limit is measured in weight, market value, and other measurement forms, including:
- Heroin: 1 gram
- Cocaine: 9 grams
- PCP: 4 grams or 50 ml
- Methamphetamine: 9 grams (including liquid meth)
- Amphetamines: 9 grams (including liquid amphetamines)
- Marijuana: 2 pounds
What are Typical Arizona Penalties for Drug Crimes?
If you or a loved one is faced with any type of drug charge, this can have a significant impact on your life. Drug charges can bring fines, jail time, and the loss of public benefits, including state funding and support such as scholarships, welfare benefits, housing, and other services.
With the passing of Proposition 200, judges in Arizona are only able to sentence third-time drug offenders to prison, so long as violence was not involved in a first or second offense.
In most cases, first and second-time offenders will receive probation and court-ordered rehab.
In the event that they violate their probation, jail time can be a possibility. Under Arizona law, charges associated with the possession of drugs include:
- Fines and probation for less than 2 lbs of marijuana. This may include up to 5.75 years in prison if the defendant has previous convictions
- Six months to 7.5 years of jail time and fees for 2-6 lbs of marijuana
- 4 months-two years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine for possession of a controlled Dangerous Drug with a felony charge
How Long Can You Be Charged With Drug Possession After the Fact?
In some cases, a person may not receive a drug possession charge right away. In many states, there exists a “statute of limitations,” which is essentially a deadline for how long prosecutors will have to press charges.
If you are arrested or being investigated for a drug-related offense in Arizona, it can take anywhere from months to years for you to receive a summons to appear before the court. Just how long the police will have to press charges against you can depend on several factors.
In most cases, your particular county or city (acting for the state) will have around one to two years to press charges against you. A felony drug charge, however, can grant them even more time.
During this time, it will be important to learn your constitutional rights and seek out a drug defense lawyer who can help you navigate this legal process.
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What are Common Defenses for Drug Possession?
If you are trying to get a drug trafficking or drug possession charge dismissed, you will need to create reasonable doubt for the validity of your charge. If the judge believes the defendant knew and intentionally possessed an illicit substance, it is likely that they will be charged with actual possession.
However, should the prosecutor’s case fall and the drug courts are unable to prove that the defendant knowingly possessed and intended to use an illicit substance, they may be cleared of their charges. There are several common defense methods for battling a drug possession charge, including:
- Lack of Knowledge: The first defense that can be used is a lack of knowledge on the state’s behalf of constructive possession. If The State is unable to prove that you had knowing and intentional possession of illicit drugs, you cannot be convicted. An example of this would be borrowing a friend’s car without knowledge of there being illegal drug paraphernalia present.
- Illegal or Unreasonable Search: Under the U.S. Constitution, The Fourth Amendment ensures protection against unlawful search and seizure procedures. If an officer violated the defendant’s constitutional rights and conducted an illegal search without a search warrant or probable cause, a suppression hearing can be held to legally pull this evidence from the trial. However, if police find drugs during a legitimate traffic violation stop or other search, these can be seized and used as evidence.
- Medical Use: If a defendant found to be in possession of less than 2.5 ounces of a substance is able to show evidence of a valid prescription, they can avoid being charged with illegal possession of an illicit drug.
- Religious Use: In the event that the defendant is found to possess drugs like peyote, or in some cases, DMT, they can use the defense that this substance was being used for religious or ceremonial purposes, and posed no threat to the surrounding community.
The Next Steps After Receiving a Drug Possession Charge
If you have recently had drugs found in your possession, it is important to equip yourself with an experienced defense attorney and come up with a game plan. It is important to work with your attorney and the court throughout your case.
Intentionally impeding a police officer’s investigation can have negative implications for your trial. This includes hiding or holding drugs that have been identified on a search warrant, which will be considered evidence suppression.
If you know that you are going to be charged with possession, it is important to be honest with yourself and others about your drug use. In these cases, your next best step will be to seek professional help for your substance abuse.
Addiction is a disease that is too often misunderstood and criminalized. Fortunately, treatment centers in Arizona, and Catalina in particular, have made great strides to provide those struggling with drug abuse find recovery resources and accessible treatment.
Charged with Drug Possession: Get Treatment in Arizona
With a population exceeding 7 million people, Arizona has over 400 drug rehab facilities available to help treat those who are struggling with addiction, and in cases where you have been charged with drug possession, the impact of getting help can keep you out of jail, as well as provide a foundation for a whole new life.
Most of these treatment centers are located in more densely populated cities like Phoenix and Scottsdale, with our Catalina Behavioral Health facility being nestled in the Catalina Foothills that frame Tucson.
With its expansive desert landscapes, beautiful mountain ranges, and sunny climate, The Grand Canyon State is an ideal recovery destination. When choosing to seek treatment in Arizona, you give yourself the opportunity to achieve full mind and body wellness.
The Catalina Behavioral Health Treatment Program
Located in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert, our treatment center caters to the Catalina Foothills, Chandler, Gilbert, Tucson, and Mesa areas. We also accept and encourage out-of-state visitors at our treatment facility, and strive to provide each of our clients with the supportive and distraction-free environment they need to achieve lasting recovery.
Our rehab facility offers various services and qualities that set us apart from other recovery centers in the state, including:
- High-Quality Care: Our certification from The Joint Commission shows that we prioritize maintaining high-quality care standards in our rehabilitation center. As one of the most trusted organizations for establishing standards of care amongst healthcare institutions, earning their seal of approval can give our clients peace of mind that they will be well cared for when staying at our facility.
- Individualized Treatment Plans. Our program recognizes that no two clients are the same in their treatment needs and expectations. That’s why we strive to provide each person who walks through our doors with a unique treatment plan that caters specifically to their addiction and recovery goals.
- Comprehensive Care. When recovering from a substance use disorder, many people will need to participate in different levels of care in order to fully address their addiction and its causes. Our facility offers a full continuum of care to our clients, including medical detox services, inpatient treatment and sober living accommodations, outpatient treatment, medication management, and dual diagnosis treatment.
- Good Staff to Client Ratios. We believe that every person in recovery deserves to have regular access to support from their treatment team. That’s why our facility makes sure to maintain low staff-to-client ratios so that our clients have access to an addiction specialist, counselor, or any other treatment provider at all times and can receive the one-on-one care they deserve.
- Qualified Staff. At our treatment facility, we employ a diverse staff of licensed medical professionals, therapists, counselors, and addiction specialists to ensure that our clients are receiving the most informed and comprehensive care possible and that their treatment providers are able to work with all of their recovery needs.
Get Help and Support Through Your Struggle
If you or a loved one has run into legal trouble due to addiction and are ready to start seeking treatment, the Catalina recovery facility can be a great fit! We prioritize the health and happiness of all of our clients and strive to provide them with the ideal recovery environment for all of their needs.
You can call now to speak with one of our representatives about how our treatment programs can be a good fit for you, discuss what payment options are available to you, and get answers to any other treatment questions you may have. Call now to get started today!
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FAQ on Being Charged with Drug Possession in Arizona
Is Marijuana Legal In Arizona?
In the state of Arizona, approved medical use of marijuana is legal. The state legalized marijuana in November 2020.
However, any recreational use of this drug, possessing marijuana with the intention of selling it, or cultivating non-medical marijuana are all still considered to be serious crimes.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you are looking for a drug defense attorney, you will have many options to choose from in the state of Arizona.
In most cases, an experienced drug defense lawyer will offer a free initial consultation for those who are charged with possession of controlled substances.