Possession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale or Use In Arizona
In Arizona, the state aggressively prosecutes people who are charged with possession of narcotic drugs for sale. The opioid epidemic has resulted in the police actively pursuing those believed to be engaged in selling narcotic drugs. Selling narcotics charges can result in long prison sentences, substantial fines, and other penalties.
If you are facing this type of criminal charge, you should talk to attorney Michael Alarid III as soon as possible. It is possible to successfully defend against serious drug crimes and working with a highly skilled lawyer might help you to achieve a much more favorable resolution to your case.
What Can Be Charged as Possession or Use of Narcotic Drugs?
Under ARS 13-3408, it is illegal for you to possess or use narcotic drugs without a valid prescription. While some narcotics may be prescribed by a doctor, possession of narcotic drugs without a prescription can land you in trouble. You could be charged under this statute with possessing narcotic drugs if you ask a friend for a few oxycodone tablets because you injured yourself but do not have a prescription, for example.
In that scenario, your friend could be charged as well. Your possession must be knowing. In other words, you must have knowledge that the narcotics are in your possession. If someone left some narcotics behind in your car or home without your knowledge, your defense lawyer might be able to get the charges against you dismissed.
Possession or use of narcotic drugs is a class 4 felony. However, if you are a first-time offender, you can receive a sentence to probation.
People who are charged for selling opioids or selling pain killers will not be eligible for probation if they are convicted.
Possession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale
Selling narcotics charges are much more serious. People who are charged for selling opioids or selling pain killers will not be eligible for probation if they are convicted.
Possession of narcotic drugs for sale is a class 2 felony that carries a potentially lengthy prison sentence and fine. You might be charged with this offense if the total amount of narcotic drugs found in your possession exceeds the state's threshold amount.
Types of Narcotic Drugs
Arizona lists the narcotic drugs that could result in charges in ARS § 13-3401(20)0. While there are many drugs contained in the list, some of the most familiar ones include the following:
What are the Threshold Amounts of Narcotic Drugs?
Arizona has established threshold amounts for narcotics and dangerous drugs. If you are found to be in possession of more than the threshold amount of a narcotic drug, you can face narcotic drug charges with the intent to sell. The thresholds for narcotic drugs are found in ARS § 13-3401(36) and include the following:
- Heroin - 1 gram
- Cocaine - 9 grams
- Cocaine base or hydrolyzed cocaine - 750 milliliters
If you are in possession of narcotic drugs that are not listed, you can be charged if they are valued at $1,000 or more. If you have a combination of drugs, you can be charged with intent to sell if their aggregate weight is more than the threshold. The police might also file charges against you for selling opioids if other evidence indicates you are involved in sales.
For example, if you have scales, baggies, and large amounts of cash, you might be charged with possession of narcotic drugs with the intent to sell even if you are caught with less than the threshold amount.
Possession of Narcotic Drugs vs. Possessing Dangerous Drugs or Marijuana for Sale
Possession of dangerous drugs for sale is prohibited under ARS § 13-3407. This statute prohibits possessing drugs classified as dangerous under ARS 13-3401(6). Some of the common types include LSD, PCP, methamphetamine, psilocybin, and ketamine. A conviction for possessing dangerous drugs with the intent to sell is also a class 2 felony.
Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell is prohibited under ARS § 13-3405. Under this statute, the penalties for selling marijuana are not as severe as they are for selling narcotic drugs or dangerous drugs. The penalties are based on the weight of the drugs in your possession.
If you possess less than two pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell, it is a class 4 felony. If you possess from two to four pounds, it is a class 3 felony. If you possess more than four pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell, it is a class 2 felony.
a defense lawyer might be able to get possession with intent to sell marijuana charges dismissed by showing that you did not intend to sell the drugs
With the passage of Proposition 207 and the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona, a defense lawyer might be able to get possession with intent to sell marijuana charges dismissed by showing that you did not intend to sell the drugs.
What the Prosecution Must Prove
The prosecutor must prove each element of the offenses charged against you beyond a reasonable doubt. For possession or use of a narcotic drug, the prosecutor will be required to prove the following elements:
- You were present in Arizona on the date and time listed in your charging documents.
- You knowingly used or possessed a narcotic drug for which you did not have a valid prescription.
- The substance that you possessed or used was a narcotic drug.
To secure a conviction for possession of a narcotic drug for sale, the prosecutor will be required to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were in Arizona at the place and time specified in the complaint.
- You knowingly possessed narcotic drugs.
- The drugs were narcotic drugs.
- You intended to sell them.
If the prosecutor is unable to prove one of the elements of your charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be found guilty.
What are the Penalties for Use, Possession of, or Possession of Narcotics for Sale?
Possession or use of a narcotic drug is a Class 4 felony carrying a potential prison sentence of one to 3.75 years.
Possession or use of a narcotic drug for sale is a class 2 felony that can result in a prison sentence of three to 12.5 years in prison.
The court can also issue a fine of up to $150,000 for any felony conviction.
Defending Against Narcotic Drug Charges
When you retain a criminal defense lawyer to defend you against charges under ARS 13-3408, your attorney will carefully review the evidence to identify the best defenses to raise against your charges. Some of the common defenses that might be raised include the following:
- You had a valid prescription for possession or use charges.
- You did not knowingly possess narcotic drugs.
- The substance in your possession was not a narcotic drug.
- For sales charges, you did not have the intent to sell the narcotic drugs.
- The police found the narcotic drugs in an unconstitutional search and seizure.
- A confidential informant used by the police lied.
- An officer planted the narcotic drugs.
If you are facing a mere possession charge, showing that you had a valid prescription for substances like hydrocodone or oxycodone can likely secure a dismissal of your charge. If you are facing a charge of possessing narcotic drugs with the intent to sell them, a valid prescription might not work. You can be charged if you have a valid prescription but engage in selling pain killers, for example. In that case, your lawyer might look at other defenses to raise.
If you are facing a mere possession charge, showing that you had a valid prescription for substances like hydrocodone or oxycodone can likely secure a dismissal of your charge
To be charged with one of these offenses, your possession of narcotic drugs must have been knowing. If you did not know that the drugs were in your possession, your attorney might secure a dismissal of the case against you. For example, if you borrowed a jacket from a friend for a night out and did not check the pockets to find some narcotics inside, your attorney might be able to get the charges against you thrown out.
Police must follow stringent guidelines when they conduct searches and seizures. If the police discovered narcotic drugs in your possession during a warrantless search that did not meet one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement, your attorney could file a motion to suppress the evidence. If the court agrees that the search and seizure were unconstitutional, the prosecutor may be forced to dismiss your charges.
If you did not intend to sell the drugs, your attorney could present evidence showing your lack of intent. He or she might also cross-examine witnesses called by the prosecution to challenge the evidence of intent that they present. Your attorney might also identify other defenses that apply under the facts and circumstances of your case.
Best Defense to Possession of Narcotics Charges
When you are facing narcotic drug charges, one of the first steps you should take is to retain an experienced drug defense attorney to represent you. A drug conviction can haunt you long after you have completed your sentence. You might have trouble finding employment or securing housing.
Drug convictions can also make people ineligible for federal assistance to complete college. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation to learn how we might be able to help by calling (602) 818-3110.