Marijuana Possession Laws and Defense: Why challenging Marijuana "Threshold Amounts" is crucial to defending drug possession charges

March 29, 2012
By James E. Novak, P.L.L.C. on March 29, 2012 6:19 PM |

Marijuana Possession Laws in Arizona

If a person is convicted of Marijuana possession charges, in Arizona that exceed the statutory "Threshold Amount" of 2 pounds, they will face mandatory prison sentencing. Arizona has specified "Threshold Amounts" for illegal drugs and controlled substances. If drug charges involve an amount that exceeds, the Threshold Amount for that specified drug, state mandatory prison sentencing will apply, even for a first offense.

Marijuana "Threshold Amount" - A.R.S.13-3401.36 Under Arizona Law "Threshold Amount" means:

A weight, market value, street value, or other measurement form of an illegal drug, substance or chemical that equals or exceeds an amount specified under the law. The Threshold Amount for Marijuana Possession is 2 pounds. If a person is found to have in their possession an amount that equals or exceeds the 2 pound Threshold Limit, they will face mandatory prison sentencing. The higher the quantity exceeds the Threshold Limit, the longer the prison term will be in sentencing.

Arizona Marijuana Possession Penalties

Most drug offenses are charged in multiples, or more than one offense resulting from one incident. For example, if you are charged with Marijuana Possession, you may also be charged with a second offense, possession of Marijuana drug paraphernalia. Below is the mandatory sentencing chart for Marijuana Possession, for drug crimes that equal or exceed the statutory Threshold Amount Limit.

A. For drug crimes involving quantities that Equal or Exceed Statutory Threshold Amounts A.R.S. 3419 (A)(3),(4) include the following mandatory prison sentence ranges:

• Second offense:

Class 2 - 3.0 to 12.5
Class 3 - 1.8 to 8.7
Class 4 - 1.1 to 3.7

• Third or more:

Class 2 - 4.0 to 15
Class 3 - 2.5 to 11.2
Class 4 - 1.5 to 6.2
Class 5 - 0.75 to 5.0

B. Fines for felony drug convictions can be as high as $150,000 per criminal charge per person; and for enterprises, can be ordered as high as $1,000,000 per charge, depending on the quantity involved and other circumstances of the incident.

C. Penalties will also include completion of a court ordered drug counseling or treatment program at their expense; probation; and other fees, costs, and assessments.

Defense for Marijuana drug possession charges Phoenix AZ

If you face active Marijuana drug charges in Arizona, you should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer who defends drug charges frequently. f you face Felony Marijuana possession charges that exceed the Arizona Threshold Amount you will be exposed to harsh prison sentencing. If retained a qualified criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights, and defend your charges. If the charges cannot be dismissed, then the Threshold Amount is a critical area of defense. Your attorney may seek to challenge the Threshold Amount you were accused to have in your possession. If successful, it may help you avoid harsh mandatory prison sentencing; reduce charges and penalties.

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