The Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS), the Drug Enforcement Agency Phoenix, and local police departments work together to conduct investigations of the sale and distribution of illegal or controlled substances like marijuana. Local Arizona police departments work closely with prosecutors to get as many guilty convictions as possible. What makes matters even worse is that with an intent to sell charge, the state has the right to maximize the sentence of those convicted of these charges. This includes more jail time and higher fines.
If you have been charged with intent to sell, your ideal defense is to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a lawyer as soon as you get a chance. A qualified and reliable criminal lawyer is the number one resource you can have to help optimize the outcome of your case. The Phoenix marijuana lawyers at Ryan Garvey Attorneys have the experience and knowledge you need to build a strong intent to sell marijuana defense that can make all the difference in how your life is affected by these charges. Our award-winning firm takes an aggressive approach to all our marijuana crime cases, and we have represented clients many times in successful marijuana possession cases.
The possession of marijuana in Phoenix is defined by three criteria that must be met beyond a reasonable doubt. These criteria include the following conditions:
While state law defines threshold amounts that constitute the felony class for intent to sell charges and sentencing for convictions, it is not entirely about possessing a bulk amount of marijuana that constitutes intent to sell. The definition of intent to sell in this state is the evident intention or purpose to exchange marijuana plant for something of value (e.g., money) or advantage. Thus, when found alongside certain items like those listed below, the intent to sell becomes unmistakable, and the amount of the substance then determines the class felony charge associated with the offense. Some common items that indicate an intent to sell when discovered in proximity to bulk amounts of marijuana are:
Being charged with possession of drugs for sale or transportation or drugs for sale can be very scary; after all, if you are convicted of this charge, you stand to face serious consequences that could have a huge impact on the rest of your life. Specifically, possession of drugs for transport or sale is a charge used when you are caught with a large amount of drugs on you that would lead a police officer to believe the amount found was beyond personal use. Finding large amounts of cash could also lead an officer to pursue this charge against you. If you are charged with possession of marijuana for sale or transportation of marijuana for sale, the thresholds are defined by A.R.S. § 13-3405.
Distinguishing between drugs for personal use and drug possession with the intent to sell can be tricky, which is why there are specific thresholds in place according to Arizona law. If you are found with drugs that exceed the threshold, there is a good chance you will be charged with possession or transportation of drugs for sale.
What exactly are the threshold amounts? These can vary from one drug to the next, and there are graduated amounts that carry a more severe charge depending on the drug in question. For example, the first threshold for marijuana is twopounds, and this carries a Class 4 felony. If you are found with any more than this amount on you, a police officer will likely assume that you intended to sell/distribute those drugs to others rather than using them for yourself.If the amount of marijuana is between two pounds and four pounds, it is a Class 3 felony.Possession of four pounds or more of marijuana with an intent to sell is a Class 2 felony.
Other drugs have different thresholds. For example, 9 grams of meth, 8 powdered grams of cocaine, or 750 milligrams of crack is all that is needed to reach the threshold, and one gram of heroin is enough to be caught with this charge.
Unfortunately, if you are charged with possession or transportation of drugs for sale in an amount that exceeds the state’s thresholds, you will be forced to serve a mandatory minimum prison sentence if you are convicted. This remains true even if this is your first conviction, which is why having the proper defense in court is so important. The minimum prison sentences can vary, but for your first offense, it will likely be between one year and 12.5 years if the amount of drugs found on you was below the threshold. That sentence quickly increases to a minimum of three years if the amount of drugs found was above that threshold.
If you have had drug convictions in the past, regardless of whether they were above or below the threshold, you will serve up to 25 years in prison if you are convicted. With this in mind, it’s important to realize that possession or transportation of drugs for sale is one of the most serious drug convictions you can face.
Potential Defense Strategies for Marijuana With Intent to Sell Charges in Phoenix
Fortunately, in many cases involving intent to sell marijuana charges, there are some valid defense strategies you can use to minimize your charges or get your charges dropped altogether. The key to optimizing your case outcome though, is hiring a qualified and experienced marijuana crimes lawyer. In a drug possession case, the burden of proof for the prosecution is to build and prove a case against the defendant that stands beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the heaviest burden in the case, and a good attorney knows their job is to counteract the proof presented by the prosecution with as much doubt as possible on behalf of their client. This makes it more likely that a judge will rule in the defendant’s favor.
A smart defense attorney will employ one or more of the following actions to garner evidence to build a strong defense on your behalf:
The verdict of your case is heavily dependent on whether you have prior convictions of similar charges and the unique circumstances of your case, but outside of these factors, there are several options for a strong defense that may apply to your case. The most common criminal defense angles are detailed below:
Fortunately, if you have been charged with possession or transportation of drugs for sale, you do have potential defense options. Whether you want to argue that you didn’t know about the drugs that were found in your possession or that you were not read your Miranda rights, you do have options. The key to taking one of these lines of defense, however, is having a drug defense attorney there to guide you through the legal process and make sure you have the evidence needed to back up and substantiate your claims in court. You should not attempt to represent yourself for such a serious charge, especially when there is so much on the line.
If you would like to find out more about how a drug defense attorney could help you, schedule a consultation and case evaluation by contacting Ryan Garvey Attorneys today at 602-296-3434. We will work with you on your possession or transportation of drugs for sale defense.
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