April 2012 Archives

April 24, 2012

Methamphetamine "Meth" Charges in Phoenix AZ

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 13-3401.6 the drug Methamphetamine or "Meth" is classified as a "Dangerous Drug". A person may be guilty of a Dangerous Drug crime if they knowingly possessed any amount of Methamphetamine or "Meth" as defined under A.R.S. § 13-3407.

Arizona Dangerous Drug Offense Law and Classifications

A.R.S. § 13-3407. Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs; classification:

A. A person shall not knowingly:

1. Possess or use a dangerous drug (Class 4 Felony):
2. Possess a dangerous drug for sale (Class 2 felony);
3. Possess equipment or chemicals, or both, for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug (Class 2 Felony for Meth);
4. Manufacture a dangerous drug (Class 2 Felony);
5. Administer a dangerous drug to another person (Class 2 Felony);
6. Obtain or procure the administration of a dangerous drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge (Class 3 Felony);
7. Transport for sale, import or offer to transport for sale or import or sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a dangerous drug into Arizona. (Class 2 Felony)

A person may be convicted of Dangerous Drug possession if they knowingly possession any amount of Methamphetamine or "Meth", for any purpose described above.

"Threshold Amount" - A.R.S. § 13-3401

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. § 13-3401. 36 (e) "Threshold Amount" means: means a weight, market value or other form of measurement of an unlawful substance. The specified Threshold Amount for methamphetamine is Nine grams. This includes methamphetamine in liquid suspension; or any combination of those unlawful substances listed under this law. If a person is found to have in their possession an amount that equals or exceeds the Statutory Threshold Limit, for a particular drug, they will be exposed to mandatory prison sentencing. The length of the prison terms a person will face increases based on the amount of the drug that exceeds the threshold limits for that drug.

Sentencing Guidelines for Meth, Dangerous Drug Crime Convictions

If a person is convicted of a methamphetamine or Meth crime, they may be exposed to harsh prison sentencing that can range from 2 to 15 years prison depending on the factors involved. Factors considered for sentencing include:

 Aggravating Factors;
 Mitigating Factors;
 Whether or not the defendant is over 18 years of age;
 Quantity of the substance;
 If the quantity exceeds the Statutory "Threshold Amount";
 Whether or not the crime involved a "Dangerous offense";
 Prior DUI or Criminal offense convictions;
 First time or repeat drug offense;
 If the circumstances caused physical injury to a minor under fifteen years of age ARS § 13-3407(A)(1).

Other penalties include large monetary fines, fees, assessments; mandatory counseling; community service, and other penalties.

Criminal Defense Attorney for Meth Charges, Phoenix AZ

Crimes involving any Dangerous Drug, particularly Meth crimes are very serious charges. All drug charges involving Meth crimes, if convicted, will expose a person to prison sentencing, exorbitant fines; and other harsh penalties. If you were arrested for any illegal drug charge you should consult an attorney who frequently defends drug charges in Phoenix AZ or Maricopa County. A good criminal attorney will make sure your rights are protected; defend your charges; and work to get the best possible outcome in your case. If the charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney will look for mitigating factors that will help get your sentencing reduced, so that it has the least adverse impact on your life as possible.

Continue reading "Methamphetamine (Meth) Charges: Dangerous Drug Classifications, Laws and Sentencing Guidelines" »

April 16, 2012

"Arizona has different sentencing ranges for drug convictions: those in which charges involve possession below the "Threshold Amount" and those that involve charges that equal or exceed the "Threshold Amount".

Drug Possession Laws in Arizona

Convictions require "knowledge" of Possession. In order for the prosecution to convict a defendant for possession charges, they have the burden of proving that a defendant had "knowledge" that the illegal drugs were in their Possession. This is the case for any illegal drug including possession of Marijuana, Dangerous Drugs, Narcotics or any other illegal drugs as defined under A.R.S. 34 13-3401.

Arizona Drug Sentencing Ranges -multiple drug offense sentencing ranges:
Most drug charges involve multiple offenses. For example, a person may be charged with Drug possession use; and drug paraphernalia possession. If the quantity of the drug falls below the statutory "Threshold Amount" under law for that drug, the sentencing ranges will be less severe than those exceeding the Threshold Amount". For that reason, Arizona has two different sentencing ranges for possession below verses over the "Threshold Amounts":

A. Below Statutory Threshold Amount - A.R.S.13-3419 (A)(1),(2)

• Second drug offenses -

Class 2 = 3.0 to 3.5 years
Class 3 = 1.8 to 8.7 years
Class 4 = 1.1 to 3.7 years
Class 5 = 0.5 to 2.5 years

• Three + drug offenses -

Class 2 = 4.0 to 12.5 years
Class 3 = 1.8 to 8.7 years
Class 4 = 1.1 to 3.7 years
Class 5 = .5 to 2.5 years

B. Equal or Exceeding Statutory Threshold Amounts A.R.S. 3419 (A)(3),(4)

• Second drug offenses -

Class 2 = 3.0 to 12.5 years
Class 3 = 1.8 to 8.7 years
Class 4 = 1.1 to 3.7 years
Class 5 = 0.5 to 2.5 years

• Third + drug offenses -

Class 2 = 4.0 to 15 years
Class 3 = 2.5 to 1.2 years
Class 4 = 1.5 to 6.2 years
Class 5 = 0.75 to 5.0 years

For sentencing ranges that apply to non-multiple, first offenses, and repetitive drug offenses, the Sentencing Ranges for Arizona General Sentencing Chart Citations will apply.

First-time offenders may be eligible for a Treatment Assessment Screening Center program (TASC) program. This is a diversion program with deferred sentencing. This is not an entitlement or guaranteed program. It may be offered to eligible defendants by request of defense as an alternative to incarceration for guilty of first time, less serious drug offenses. The defendant must meet certain criteria to qualify, and it must be approved by the judge, prosecution, TASC officials. An experienced drug defense attorney will attempt to qualify for the program, if the charges cannot be dismissed.

Personal Possession & Use of Drugs - A.R.S. 13-901.1

• Required Probation - Unless the person is also convicted of a violent offense defined in A.R.S. 36-2501, probation is required for persons convicted of possession or use of controlled substance or drug paraphernalia. Incarceration may not be imposed as an initial condition of probation for a first offense.
• For probation violation convictions resulting from committing any offense listed in A.R.S. 13-34 or 13-34.1 or violation of court ordered drug treatment plan, the person may be incarcerated upon reinstatement of probation.
• The person will be required to participate in a court ordered drug education or treatment plan, at their own expense. As a required condition of probation,
• For convictions of a second drug offense, a person may be incarcerated as a condition of their probation.

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Drug Possession Tempe AZ

If you face drug possession charges in Arizona, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding your matter. They will protect your rights and defend you through the criminal justice process. Drug DUI charges have serious consequences if convicted. But they are not always justified. There are often defenses that exist that can be used to challenge the evidence that may lead to dismissal, or other favorable outcome in your case. Your chances of getting a good resolution in your case increase significantly with retention of a private practice criminal defense lawyer.


Continue reading "Drug Possession Laws: Sentencing and Penalties for Drug Possession Convictions" »

April 10, 2012

Arizona DUI Enforcement Statistics for 2011 were released recently from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. Results concluded that Arizona DUI arrests increase 29% in 2011 over prior year. Drug DUI arrests were made in staggering numbers throughout Maricopa County and the State of Arizona. For example, in the city of Mesa, Arizona Drug DUI arrests constituted 52% of all of Mesa's DUI arrests.

Officials report major factors for the increased DUI arrests from 9,353 in 2010 to 27,125 in 2011 were the result of heightened presence of DUI Task Force and DUI Sobriety Checkpoints in Arizona. Drug DUI arrests were made in record numbers. Police believe that one of the reasons for the increased DUI drugs arrests was that many people are not aware that driving "impaired to the slightest degree" due to the influence of Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Controlled substances; Prescription drugs, and even over- the-counter drugs.
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Arizona Drug DUI Laws A.R.S. § 28-1381 (A)(3)

"A.R.S. § 28-1381. Driving or actual physical control while under the influence
A. It is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state under any of the following circumstances...

1. While under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree...
3. While there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person's body"

Drug Dui offenses in absence of Aggravated Factors are charged as Class 1 Misdemeanors.

Additional examination, implications, and Drug DUI penalties information are discussed in a Press Release by the Law Office of James Novak.


Criminal Defense for Drug DUI charges in Maricopa County

You should always consult a Drug DUI, DUI, or criminal defense attorney if you face DUI charges as soon as possible. The penalties and consequences are harsh. You will need an experienced criminal attorney to defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of that can be used to challenging your charges of DUI with Marijuana or other drugs. Your chances of getting a good resolution to your case will significantly increase with the retention of a good private practice DUI and criminal defense attorney.

Continue reading "Arizona DUI arrests increase 29% in 2011 over prior year. Drug DUI arrests increase in staggering numbers." »