TAP TO CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

SEND A TXT MSG

HELP IS AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK

Arizona Drug Charges

If you or a loved one is charged with a drug offense in the state of Arizona, you will need an experienced Phoenix Drug Attorney to help you navigate the court system. Drug Offenses in Arizona can be complex, and can range from diversion eligible offenses for first time offenders (including TASC drug treatment), to mandatory prison if you have prior offenses or exceed the statutory threshold.

WHAT ARE THE DRUG CLASSIFICATIONS IN ARIZONA?

Arizona classifies its drug offenses into three basic categories. Dangerous Drugs, Narcotic Drugs and Marijuana. How you are charged and the potential punishment depends on the substance and the quantity.

Possession of Dangerous Drugs

Under A.R.S. 13-3407 “Possession or use of a Dangerous Drug” prohibits a person from knowingly possessing or using a dangerous drug. Dangerous Drugs include substances like LSD, ecstasy, methamphetamines, steroids, hallucinogenic mushrooms, GHB, mescaline, clonazepam, lorazepam or any type of prescription for either a pain killer or an antidepressant.

Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs: ARS 13-3407

  1. A person shall not knowingly:
    1. Possess or use a dangerous drug.
    2. Possess a dangerous drug for sale.
    3. Possess equipment or chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug.
    4. Manufacture a dangerous drug.
    5. Administer a dangerous drug to another person.
    6. Obtain or procure the administration of a dangerous drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge.
    7. Transport for sale, import into this state or offer to transport for sale or import into this state, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a dangerous drug.
  2. A person who violates:
    1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is guilty of a class 4 felony. Unless the drug involved is lysergic acid diethylamide, methamphetamine, amphetamine or phencyclidine or the person was previously convicted of a felony offense or a violation of this section or section 13-3408, the court on motion of the state, considering the nature and circumstances of the offense, for a person not previously convicted of any felony offense or a violation of this section or section 13-3408 may enter judgment of conviction for a class 1 misdemeanor and make disposition accordingly or may place the defendant on probation in accordance with chapter 9 of this title and refrain from designating the offense as a felony or misdemeanor until the probation is successfully terminated. The offense shall be treated as a felony for all purposes until the court enters an order designating the offense a misdemeanor.
    2. Subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    3. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section is guilty of a class 3 felony, except that if the offense involved methamphetamine, the person is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    4. Subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    5. Subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    6. Subsection A, paragraph 6 of this section is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    7. Subsection A, paragraph 7 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
  3. Except as provided in subsection E of this section, a person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 1, 3 or 6 and who has not previously been convicted of any felony or who has not been sentenced pursuant to section 13-703, section 13-704, section 13-706, subsection A, section 13-708, subsection D or any other law making the convicted person ineligible for probation is eligible for probation.
  4. Except as provided in subsection E of this section, if the aggregate amount of dangerous drugs involved in one offense or all of the offenses that are consolidated for trial equals or exceeds the statutory threshold amount, a person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 2, 5 or 7 of this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  5. If the person is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 2, 3, 4 or 7 of this section and the drug involved is methamphetamine, the person shall be sentenced as follows:
  6. Minimum
    5 calendar years
    Presumptive
    10 calendar years
    Maximum
    15 calendar years

    A person who has previously been convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 2, 3, 4 or 7 of this section involving methamphetamine or section 13-3407.01 shall be sentenced as follows:

    Minimum
    10 calendar years
    Presumptive
    15 calendar years
    Maximum
    20 calendar years
  7. A person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section or subsection A, paragraph 2, 3 or 7 of this section involving methamphetamine is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  8. If a person is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section, if the drug is administered without the other person’s consent, if the other person is under eighteen years of age and if the drug is flunitrazepam, gamma hydroxy butrate or ketamine hydrochloride, the convicted person is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  9. In addition to any other penalty prescribed by this title, the court shall order a person who is convicted of a violation of this section to pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars or three times the value as determined by the court of the dangerous drugs involved in or giving rise to the charge, whichever is greater, and not more than the maximum authorized by chapter 8 of this title. A judge shall not suspend any part or all of the imposition of any fine required by this subsection.
  10. A person who is convicted of a violation of this section for which probation or release before the expiration of the sentence imposed by the court is authorized is prohibited from using any marijuana, dangerous drug, narcotic drug or prescription-only drug except as lawfully administered by a health care practitioner and as a condition of any probation or release shall be required to submit to drug testing administered under the supervision of the probation department of the county or the state department of corrections, as appropriate, during the duration of the term of probation or before the expiration of the sentence imposed.
  11. If a person who is convicted of a violation of this section is granted probation, the court shall order that as a condition of probation the person perform not less than three hundred sixty hours of community restitution with an agency or organization that provides counseling, rehabilitation or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, an agency or organization that provides medical treatment to persons who abuse controlled substances, an agency or organization that serves persons who are victims of crime or any other appropriate agency or organization.
  12. The presumptive term imposed pursuant to subsection E of this section may be mitigated or aggravated pursuant to section 13-701, subsections D and E.

Possible Punishment for Possession of a Dangerous Drug

A violation of this section is a class four (4) felony. If the drug is not a methamphetamine or amphetamine, and the defendant has never been convicted of a felony, the judge has the option of classifying the crime as a class one (1) misdemeanor.

Arizona law prohibits a wide range of dangerous drug offenses—including the possession, acquisition, use, administration, sale, manufacture, or transportation of dangerous drugs. Listed below are the classifications of each type of offense:

  • Possess or use of a dangerous drug: Class 4 felony
  • Possess a dangerous drug for sale: Class 2 felony
  • Possessing equipment to manufacture dangerous drugs: Class 3 felony
  • Administering a dangerous drug to another person: Class 2 felony
  • Manufacturing a dangerous drug: Class 2 felony
  • Obtaining a dangerous drug through fraud: Class 3 felony
  • Transporting for sale a dangerous drug: Class 2 felony

If you are convicted of possessing methamphetamine for sale, possessing equipment to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, or transporting methamphetamine, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years in prison up to a maximum of 15 years. If you were previously convicted of a similar drug crime, you could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

POSSESSION OR USE OF A NARCOTIC DRUG

Under A.R.S. 13-3408, “Possession or Use of a Narcotic Drug” prohibits a person from knowingly possessing, using, acquiring, manufacturing, selling, or transporting a narcotic drug. Under Arizona law, Narcotics include cocaine, heroin, opium, morphine, oxycodone, most opiates, and other strictly controlled substances.

Possible Punishment for Possession of a Narcotic Drug:

A violation of this section is a class four (4) felony. If the drug is not a methamphetamine or amphetamine, and the defendant has never been convicted of a felony, the judge has the option of classifying the crime as a class one (1) misdemeanor.

Arizona law prohibits a wide range of narcotic drug offenses—including the possession, acquisition, use, administration, sale, manufacture, or transportation of narcotic drugs. Listed below are the classifications of each type of offense:

  • Possess or use a narcotic drug: Class 4 felony
  • Possess a narcotic drug for sale: Class 2 felony
  • Possessing equipment to manufacture narcotic drugs: Class 3 felony
  • Administering a narcotic drug to another person: Class 2 felony
  • Manufacturing a narcotic drug: Class 2 felony
  • Obtaining a narcotic drug through fraud: Class 3 felony
  • Transporting for sale a narcotic drug: Class 2 felony

Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of narcotic drugs: ARS 13-3408

  1. A person shall not knowingly:
    1. Possess or use a narcotic drug.
    2. Possess a narcotic drug for sale.
    3. Possess equipment or chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a narcotic drug.
    4. Manufacture a narcotic drug.
    5. Administer a narcotic drug to another person.
    6. Obtain or procure the administration of a narcotic drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge.
    7. Transport for sale, import into this state, offer to transport for sale or import into this state, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a narcotic drug.
  2. A person who violates:
    1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is guilty of a class 4 felony.
    2. Subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    3. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    4. Subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    5. Subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    6. Subsection A, paragraph 6 of this section is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    7. Subsection A, paragraph 7 of this section is guilty of a class 2 felony.
  3. A person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 1, 3 or 6 of this section and who has not previously been convicted of any felony or who has not been sentenced pursuant to section 13-703, section 13-704, subsection A, B, C, D or E, section 13-706, subsection A, section 13-708, subsection D or any other provision of law making the convicted person ineligible for probation is eligible for probation.
  4. If the aggregate amount of narcotic drugs involved in one offense or all of the offenses that are consolidated for trial equals or exceeds the statutory threshold amount, a person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 2, 5 or 7 of this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  5. A person who is convicted of a violation of subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  6. In addition to any other penalty prescribed by this title, the court shall order a person who is convicted of a violation of this section to pay a fine of not less than two thousand dollars or three times the value as determined by the court of the narcotic drugs involved in or giving rise to the charge, whichever is greater, and not more than the maximum authorized by chapter 8 of this title. A judge shall not suspend any part or all of the imposition of any fine required by this subsection.
  7. A person who is convicted of a violation of this section for which probation or release before the expiration of the sentence imposed by the court is authorized is prohibited from using any marijuana, dangerous drug, narcotic drug or prescription-only drug except as lawfully administered by a health care practitioner and as a condition of any probation or release shall be required to submit to drug testing administered under the supervision of the probation department of the county or the state department of corrections, as appropriate, during the duration of the term of probation or before the expiration of the sentence imposed.
  8. If a person who is convicted of a violation of this section is granted probation, the court shall order that as a condition of probation the person perform not less than three hundred sixty hours of community restitution with an agency or organization that provides counseling, rehabilitation or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, an agency or organization that provides medical treatment to persons who abuse controlled substances, an agency or organization that serves persons who are victims of crime or any other appropriate agency or organization.

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA

Under A.R.S. 13-3405(A)(1). “a person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana”. Marijuana offenses are the most common of all drug offenses in Arizona. Despite the high frequency of marijuana arrests, this is a criminal offense that can have serious consequences. Unless you have obtained a medical marijuana card, any possession or use of marijuana in Arizona is considered illegal. This includes possession of buds, wax, THC concentrates and marijuana edibles.

Possible Punishment for Possession of Marijuana

In Arizona, Possession of Marijuana less than two (2) pounds is a class 6 felony. If you have no prior criminal history of drug offenses, under the Arizona Legislation Proposition 200 judges are prohibited from sending first or second time non-violent drug offenders to prison until their third conviction. You are not eligible for Prop 200 if you have a prior drug conviction for sale or transportation of drugs, promoting prison contraband, or driving while under the influence of drugs. Additionally, any charges related to methamphetamine are not eligible.

You may also be eligible for a diversion program called TASC, which takes three (3) to six (6) months to complete for Marijuana cases. Admission to this program is very selective, and having an experienced attorney to help you facilitate this can be very important. Our trial attorneys have helped hundreds of clients complete this program. If completed, the charges against you will be dismissed. If you have already undergone the TASC program you are ineligible to participate again. However, you would still be eligible for Prop 200.

For non-Prop 200 cases, listed below are the possible punishments:

Marijuana possession

Under 2 pounds
6 to 18 months in jail or prison
2 to 4 pounds
9 to 24 months in jail or prison
More than 4 pounds
18 months to 3 years in prison

Marijuana cultivation

Under 2 pounds
9 to 24 months in jail or prison
2 to 4 pounds
18 months to 3 years in prison
More than 4 pounds
2.5 to 7 years in prison

Marijuana possession with intent to distribute

Under 2 pounds
18 months to 3 years in prison
2 to 4 pounds
2.5 to 7 years in prison
More than 4 pounds
4 to 10 years in prison

Marijuana Possession for Sale

Under 2 pounds
2.5 to 7 years in prison
2 pounds or more
4 to 10 years in prison

Possession, use, production, sale or transportation of marijuana: ARS 13-3405

  1. A person shall not knowingly:
    1. Possess or use marijuana.
    2. Possess marijuana for sale.
    3. Produce marijuana.
    4. Transport for sale, import into this state or offer to transport for sale or import into this state, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer marijuana.
  2. A person who violates:
    1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section involving an amount of marijuana not possessed for sale having a weight of less than two pounds is guilty of a class 6 felony.
    2. Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section involving an amount of marijuana not possessed for sale having a weight of at least two pounds but less than four pounds is guilty of a class 5 felony.
    3. Subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section involving an amount of marijuana not possessed for sale having a weight of four pounds or more is guilty of a class 4 felony.
    4. Subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of less than two pounds is guilty of a class 4 felony.
    5. Subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of at least two pounds but not more than four pounds is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    6. Subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of more than four pounds is guilty of a class 2 felony.
    7. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of less than two pounds is guilty of a class 5 felony.
    8. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of at least two pounds but not more than four pounds is guilty of a class 4 felony.
    9. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of more than four pounds is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    10. Subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of less than two pounds is guilty of a class 3 felony.
    11. Subsection A, paragraph 4 of this section involving an amount of marijuana having a weight of two pounds or more is guilty of a class 2 felony.
  3. If the aggregate amount of marijuana involved in one offense or all of the offenses that are consolidated for trial equals or exceeds the statutory threshold amount, a person who is sentenced pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 5, 6, 8, 9 or 11 of this section is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the person has served the sentence imposed by the court, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41-1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
  4. In addition to any other penalty prescribed by this title, the court shall order a person who is convicted of a violation of any provision of this section to pay a fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars or three times the value as determined by the court of the marijuana involved in or giving rise to the charge, whichever is greater, and not more than the maximum authorized by chapter 8 of this title. A judge shall not suspend any part or all of the imposition of any fine required by this subsection.
  5. A person who is convicted of a felony violation of any provision of this section for which probation or release before the expiration of the sentence imposed by the court is authorized is prohibited from using any marijuana, dangerous drug or narcotic drug except as lawfully administered by a practitioner and as a condition of any probation or release shall be required to submit to drug testing administered under the supervision of the probation department of the county or the state department of corrections as appropriate during the duration of the term of probation or before the expiration of the sentence imposed.
  6. If the aggregate amount of marijuana involved in one offense or all of the offenses that are consolidated for trial is less than the statutory threshold amount, a person who is sentenced pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 4, 7 or 10 and who is granted probation by the court shall be ordered by the court that as a condition of probation the person perform not less than two hundred forty hours of community restitution with an agency or organization providing counseling, rehabilitation or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, an agency or organization that provides medical treatment to persons who abuse controlled substances, an agency or organization that serves persons who are victims of crime or any other appropriate agency or organization.
  7. If a person who is sentenced pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 1, 2 or 3 of this section is granted probation for a felony violation of this section, the court shall order that as a condition of probation the person perform not less than twenty-four hours of community restitution with an agency or organization providing counseling, rehabilitation or treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, an agency or organization that provides medical treatment to persons who abuse controlled substances, an agency or organization that serves persons who are victims of crime or any other appropriate agency or organization.
  8. If a person is granted probation for a misdemeanor violation of this section, the court shall order as a condition of probation that the person attend eight hours of instruction on the nature and harmful effects of narcotic drugs, marijuana and other dangerous drugs on the human system, and on the laws related to the control of these substances, or perform twenty-four hours of community restitution.

Possible Defenses for Possession of Dangerous Drugs, Narcotic Drugs & Marijuana

In defending many “possession” cases over the past 35 years our attorneys have been able to show that our client did not “knowingly” possess any drugs or paraphernalia. In these cases we were able to demonstrate that what was found in a person’s vehicle or inside their home was left behind by somebody else. That the client was completely unaware that there were drugs in the area. We also focus on suppressing any drug evidence. The prosecution’s case becomes very weak without this evidence. And just like other criminal cases we defend, we explore a wide range of defenses and challenges that may apply in defending drug cases, including constitutional violations, Miranda rights violations, the denial of a right to counsel, forensic flaws and the exposing of inaccurate or misleading police reports.

With over 100 years of combined criminal defense experience, the skilled and experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Arentz have successfully defended thousands of drug offenses in Arizona. You will never be “just another case” when you work with us. We provided each client with personal service and care. We will help guide you through the court system and all aspects of your case. That dedication is combined with experience, legal knowledge and insight as a former prosecutor and as a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Get the professional help you deserve from a law firm that is ready to take on the government and defend your case with complete confidence. For more information or to schedule a free case review contact us anytime at (602)266-9600, our Phoenix drug lawyer is ready to help.