Phoenix Drug Crime Lawyer

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Phoenix Drug Crimes Attorney

Have you recently been charged with a drug-related crime in the state of Arizona? If so, then you may be wondering what your rights are and how to go about finding a Phoenix drug crime lawyer to provide the legal representation and guidance you need during this challenging time. By having a better understanding of what to expect in the coming weeks and months, as well as how to find the right lawyer to represent you, you’ll be in a better place in terms of your defense strategy to defend your rights and personal interests.

Ryan Garvey Attorneys has the experience within our legal team to put together a criminal defense and optimize the outcome of your case. We have knowledge of both sides of the courtroom when it comes to drug charges. With a former undefeated prosecutor on the team, we add an invaluable resource to your criminal defense approach. When we build a drug crime defense for our clients, our criminal law team collectively brings more than 50 years of successful legal practice and can significantly impact your case.

Why Do I Need a Phoenix Drug Lawyer?

If you were caught with narcotic drugs, there are only two things the prosecutor needs to prove to get a conviction in Arizona: that the defendant knowingly possessed the narcotic and that the substance in question was a narcotic. Without a criminal defense attorney, the prosecution’s job is that much easier. However, with a reliable criminal lawyer in your corner, there are a number of successful Phoenix criminal defense approaches that can be applied to your case and potentially diminish the negative results. Some common successful defense strategies include:

  • Lack of evidence. This defense strategy works well when the state lacks proof of possession of the substance. They cannot convict someone if they don’t have definitive proof that the substance was there.
  • Valid prescription holder. This applies to both prescription medications and medical marijuana. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana weighing less than 2.5 ounces and can produce proof that the marijuana was distributed by a certified licensed medical marijuana dispensary and that you are a “qualifying patient,” you can be a candidate for this affirmative defense.
  • Lack of knowledge. This applies to defendants who didn’t know the drugs were there, whether in their car, their purse, on their person, or in their vicinity.
  • Religious purpose. There is an affirmative defense for peyote possession in which the argument may be raised that the substance was used in part of a religious ritual, religious exercise, or for the use of any other religious purpose. This defense is solid as long as no one was injured, and there was no threat posed to the community due to the defendant’s use of the substance.
  • Illegal search by law enforcement. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America protects citizens from unlawful searches and improperly conducted procedures of seizure. If the drugs were in plain sight during a routine traffic stop in which there was probable cause for pulling the vehicle over, then a law enforcement agent has a duty and right to seize the evidence and even arrest the driver for possession of the substance. Even in that case, though, there may be room for error in conviction.

It is imperative you have a strong defense attorney to optimize any of these defense tactics to get a potentially positive result out of your case.

What to Do if You Are Arrested for Drugs in Phoenix, AZ?

The most important thing anyone can do if they are arrested on drug charges is to exercise their right to remain silent. Then, speak with a lawyer who knows these intricate laws very well as soon as possible to build a defense strategy for your case. The sooner you form a plan, the better chance you have at beating or reducing the charges because you will remember the details of your arrest better. Your lawyer can then quickly start collecting evidence for your case, and that can ultimately change the outcome of your case to a more favorable one. Waiting to call a lawyer leaves less time for a legal investigation by your legal team in their effort to compile a worthwhile defense.

A drug charge is serious, and it is important to take drug charges seriously. A conviction with a maximum sentence can significantly alter your life — much more so than a lighter sentence or lessened charges. You have a better chance of a more favorable outcome for your case when you entrust the details to a reputable lawyer. Many convicted individuals who are charged with drug-related crimes in Arizona will tell you they regret their choice not to employ private legal representation to advise them on the offenses they are being charged for.

Using a public defender or going up against the district attorney without legal advice, a solid drug crime defense, and knowledge of the law backing you is a mistake. You must ask yourself whether the cost of legal representation is worth more than your freedom — because your right to freedom is exactly what is at stake if you are facing Arizona’s laws regarding dangerous drugs and trying to handle your case yourself.

Common Arizona Drug-Related Crimes

In the state of Arizona, there are a number of drug-related crimes with which a person can be charged. One of the most common is the possession or use of marijuana, and the severity of these charges can vary based on the amount you had on you at the time of the arrest, as well as whether or not there was enough evidence to charge you with intent to sell. Some other common drug-related charges may include:

Potential Charges and Maximum Penalty for Arizona Drug Crimes

State laws are harsh on drug-related crimes. If you’re caught under the influence of drugs, in the vicinity of drugs, or with drugs on your person, you’re most likely going to get charged with a felony. Arizona state law defines six classifications of illegal drugs:

  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs
  • Peyote
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Drugs that emit toxic vapors

The drugs named in the categories, dangerous drugs, narcotics, and drugs that emit toxic vapors, are in the hundreds, and they include a variety of chemical inclusions. Therefore, any of many household products and over-the-counter medications could constitute an illegal drug charge if Arizona authorities find it on you and believe you are using it in the wrong way. Individuals should exercise extreme caution regarding when and where they use these products and medications.

Consequences for possessing any of the above substances carry grave consequences, and they can be even worse if the amount surpasses the law’s threshold limit for constituting selling, more severe drug charges can be applied. Sales charges bring mandatory prison time even if it’s a first-time conviction. The legal thresholds outlined below are the amounts of each drug that assume there is a presumption of sales:

  • Marijuana: 2 pounds
  • Heroin: 1 gram
  • Cocaine: 9 grams
  • Amphetamine or liquid suspension amphetamine: 9 grams
  • Methamphetamine including liquid suspension methamphetamine: 9 grams
  • PCP: 4 grams or 50 milliliters

It is important to understand the potential penalties for the drug charges you are facing, in the event you are convicted. They are severe and life-altering, but they may be diminished with the help of a qualified drug crimes attorney. Some of the possible penalties for various Arizona drug charges are below:

  • Dangerous drug possession (i.e., hallucinogenic drugs)
    • Class 4 felony with no prior convictions, as long as the drug is not methamphetamine or another amphetamine
    • Possible reduction to Class 1 misdemeanor with a good defense
    • A minimum fine of $2,000 or three times the value of the drugs in possession, whichever amount is greater
    • Up to one year in jail with no prior convictions
    • Up to 3.75 years prison time with prior convictions
  • Narcotics (i.e., cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl) possession
    • Class 4 felony with no prior convictions
    • Possible reduction to Class 1 misdemeanor
    • A minimum fine of $2,000 or three times the value of the drugs in possession, whichever amount is greater
    • Up to one year in jail with no priors
    • Up to 15 years of prison time with two prior convictions
  • Peyote
    • Class 6 felony
    • From four months to two years in prison
    • Fines up to $150,000
    • Might be dismissed if used for religious purposes and no threat to anyone else was posed
  • Substances that emit toxic vapors (i.e., glues, isopropyl alcohol, aerosol sprays)
    • Class 5 felony
    • From six to 36 months in prison
    • Fines up to $150,000
    • Potential to be reduced to Class 1 misdemeanor at the judge’s discretion in which penalties would only be up to six months in jail and fines of no more than $2,500

Recreational Marijuana

Even though it is legal to use medical marijuana, and since 2020, it has been legal for recreational use, there are still laws that govern how much and who can possess it. The law states that you must be at least 21 years old to use marijuana recreationally, and you cannot possess more than one ounce. If possession of marijuana exceeds the one-ounce maximum amount, there are varying penalties depending on the amount you are caught with. The illegal amounts of marijuana and their respective potential penalties for first-time offenders are detailed below. With prior convictions, there are significantly greater potential penalties imposed:

  • Less than 2.5 ounces. Charge of a petty offense punishable by a $100 civil penalty fine
  • Less than 2.5 pounds. Class 6 felony with potential for up to 24 months in prison and a minimum fine of $2,000 or three times the value of the marijuana in possession, whichever amount is greater
  • Between two and four pounds. Class 5 felony with six months to 18 months jail time and a fine of up to $150,000
  • More than 4 pounds. Class 4 felony punishable by one to 45 months in prison with a fine of up to $150,000

Proposition 200

Proposition 200 prevents nonviolent drug offenders from being sentenced to prison for a first and second conviction. Instead, probation and completion of a mandatory drug treatment program is the standard sentence for nonviolent drug first and second convictions to educate offenders on the implications of drug abuse. If probation is violated, though, jail time is a possibility.

Next Steps To Take For Criminal Defense

If you’ve been charged with any of the above drug-related offenses, the steps you take now can have a great impact on your future. The first thing you should do is to speak with an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the specific crime you have been charged with. By consulting with a lawyer, you can get a better idea of where your case is likely headed, as well as some useful guidance to prepare you for the legal process you’re about to face. Furthermore, a drug crimes attorney will be able to take the necessary steps to protect your rights and interests by trying to reduce your criminal charges or, in some cases, have them acquitted altogether.

A drug crime conviction can have a serious impact on your life, resulting in possible jail or prison time, as well as other fines and penalties. If you are convicted of a felony drug charge, the impact it can have on your life will be far-reaching. You will likely have a harder time securing employment, you will no longer be allowed to own firearms, and you will lose your right to vote.

In addition to seeking representation from an experienced lawyer, it’s also important to avoid any further arrests or other negative interactions with law enforcement until your court date.

Facing a drug charge can be scary, but having the right representation can make all the difference. Schedule your consultation with our team at Ryan Garvey Attorneys by giving us a call at 602-296-3434 today.

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