Arizona Drug Possession Laws
Like all other states in the US, Arizona heavily regulates the possession of CDS or controlled dangerous substances. But drug use laws can be confusing as each state has different classifications for different types or amounts of controlled drugs.
In Arizona, the possession of CDS for personal use can incur heavy penalties if you are convicted of certain charges. Arizona criminal defense lawyers can help your defense case and help you stand the best chance of avoiding a conviction for using or selling drugs or controlled substances.
Arizona CDS Classifications
All drugs in Arizona are classified into six groups, including:
- Any substances that emit toxic vapors
- Narcotic drugs
- Dangerous drugs (which include LSD, etc.)
- Prescription-only drugs, such as codeine, which is not illegal to possess if you have a valid prescription
If you are arrested for the possession of at least one CDS, it’s important to fully understand the charges you might face. Arizona’s Criminal Code Sections 13.3401- 13.3422 describe which drugs fit into each of the above groups in detail if you want more information.
CDS Crimes and Penalties in Arizona
Arizona classifies various CDS crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the crimes’ circumstances, the accused’s criminal history, and more. All drug use felonies are divided into six classes; the most serious of these are Class 1, with the least serious being Class 6.
Misdemeanor drug crimes are divided into three classes, and Class 1 misdemeanors are the most severe. Here are some examples:
- The possession of peyote is a Class 6 felony. If you are convicted of this crime, penalties include between four months and two years in prison and a fine of potentially up to $150,000
- The position of substances that emit toxic vapors, such as isopropyl alcohol, glues, and aerosol sprays, can carry penalties including between six months and 2 ½ years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000 if you are convicted
- The possession of marijuana is almost always a felony, and, if convicted, penalties can range from between four months and two years in prison and fines of up to $150,000
The exact charges and penalties you may face are heavily dependent on circumstantial factors and past criminal history. Knowledgeable Arizona defense attorneys can mitigate the charges and help you avoid some of the more serious penalties if convicted.
How Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
It can be very difficult to represent yourself in any criminal trial, especially a drug use trial. Navigating and defeating the Arizona criminal justice system is tough if you don’t know where to start or don’t have adequate legal expertise.
That’s why it’s imperative you contact expert criminal defense attorneys ASAP. They can help you shoulder the burden of your drug charges and form a winning strategy to help you erect a successful defense for your upcoming court trial.
For example, your criminal defense attorney may overturn a peyote drug possession charge by pointing out that the peyote was used for religious reasons and did not pose a threat to other people or your local community.
They may also leverage additional criminal defense strategies, including:
- Calling the validity of submitted evidence into question. Police work is often shoddy and any police work that was not done properly can be tossed out of court so it doesn’t contribute to a conviction
- Pointing out a lack of firm evidence for your possession of illegal drugs
- Contesting the classification of drugs or medicine, especially substances that are legal to hold with a proper prescription
- And more
Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to contact Arizona criminal defense attorneys right away if you have been charged with a drug crime.