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Consequences of Possessing A Controlled Substance In Arizona

Like in all other states, the state of Arizona has laws in place that regulate and control the possession and use of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS). Under Arizona law, CDS is divided into six groups, and possession of CDS for sale or distribution carries severe penalties, based on the type of substance the defendant possessed. These six groups are divided as under:

  • Peyote
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Substances that emit toxic vapors
  • Narcotic drugs

The drugs and their amounts that fit into each group are listed under Arizona Code Sections 13.3401-13.3422. Based on the type of crime, it may be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor. Usually, felonies result in more jail time and higher fines than felonies. Each of the CDS possession offenses are given below along with their fines and penalties.

Possession of Peyote

Possession of peyote is a Class 6 felony which is punishable by four months to two years in prison. Felony fines can be assessed at up to $150,000 as determined by court. However, if the defendant can prove that the peyote was used for religious purposes, they can defeat the felony charge.

Possession of Marijuana

The amount of marijuana possesses by the defendant will determine the punishment for possession.

Less than 2 lbs – Possession of less than two pounds of marijuana is considered a Class 6 felony which is punishable by 4 months to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Between 2 – 4 lbs – Possession of more than two pounds but less than four pounds of marijuana is considered a Class 5 felony which is punishable by 6 months to 2½ years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.

More than 4 lbs – Possession of more than four pounds of marijuana is considered a Class 4 felony and is punishable by 1 year to 3¾ years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.

Possession of Prescription Drugs

Possession or use of a prescription-only drug without a valid prescription is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor which is punishable by a six-month jail term and a $1,000 fine.

Possession of Dangerous Drugs

Possession or use of a substance classified as a “dangerous drug” for personal use is considered a Class 4 felony. These substances include hallucinogenics, stimulants, depressants, and anabolic steroids. The crime is punishable by 1 year to 3¾ years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.

Possession of Substances that Emit Toxic Vapors

Knowingly inhaling or drinking any substance that contains or emits toxic vapors is illegal in Arizona. These substances include glues, aerosol sprays, and isopropyl alcohol. Possession of these substances is considered a Class 5 felony which is punishable by 6 months to 2½ years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000. The charge may be reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor by the court, in which case the crime is punishable by 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Possession of Narcotic Drugs

Unlawful possession of narcotics for personal use in Arizona is a Class 4 felony which is punishable by 1 year to 3¾ years in jail and a fine of either $2,000 or 3 times the value of the narcotic, whichever is greater.

Apart from these fines and penalties, the person may face additional fines and penalties in case of unlawful possession in a drug-free school zone or if the person is a repeat offender.

Possession Near Schools

The unlawful possession of any CDS in a drug-free school zone carries harsher penalties than possession elsewhere. If convicted, the offender will face an additional one year of incarceration apart with the penalties associated with the same class of felony the defendant has been convicted of. Apart from the additional jail time, the court will impose a fine of either $2,000 or 3 times the value of the CDS, whichever is greater, for the possession of unlawful CDS in a drug-free school zone.

Repeat Or Habitual Offenders

Defendants with multiple prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance in Arizona face harsher penalties. Repeat offenders are divided into 3 categories under Arizona law, depending on the type of prior felony conviction. These categories are defined under Arizona Code Section 13-703.

Category 1 repeat offender

A Class 4 felony is punishable by 1.1 to 3.75 years in jail.

A Class 5 felony is punishable by six months to 2.5 years in jail.

A Class 6 felony is punishable by .3 to 1.8 years in jail.

Category 2 repeat offender

A Class 4 felony is punishable by 2.25 to 7.5 years in jail.

A Class 5 felony is punishable by one to 3.75 years in jail.

A Class 6 felony is punishable by .75 to 2.75 years in jail.

Category 3 repeat offender

A Class 4 felony is punishable by six to 15 years in jail.

A Class 5 felony is punishable by three to 7.5 years in jail.

A Class 6 felony is punishable by 2.25 to 5.75 years in jail.

If you are facing a CDS conviction in Arizona, it is important to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your options and the possible outcomes of each.

Author Bio:

Ivener & Fullmer, a nationally recognized EB-5 law firm, has successfully assisted over 100 individuals from all over the world to obtain Green Cards through the EB-5 investor program.

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