Drug Possession Laws: Sentencing and Penalties for Drug Possession Convictions

  
April 16, 2012
By James E. Novak, P.L.L.C. on April 16, 2012 4:29 PM |

"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.


If you "Like" this article please let us know with a +1, subscribe and "Share"!

Law Office of James Novak
4500 S. Lakeshore Drive
Tempe AZ 85282
(480) 413-1499

www.Arizonacriminaldefenselawyer.com
www.novakazlaw.com

Arizona DUI, DWI, Drunk Driving & Criminal Defense Firm
Serving Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Gilbert & Scottsdale AZ
Free Consultation! Call (480) 413-1499