The state takes drug crimes very seriously, whether it be usage, possession, or sale of illegal narcotics. As such, the state has enacted detailed laws to curtail drug use and enhance law enforcement’s leverage over controlled substance users, sellers, manufacturers, and traffickers. For certain drugs, even the possession of relatively small amounts carries mandatory prison sentences.
If you are facing drug charges, you need a forceful criminal defense attorney on your side. A Chandler drug lawyer from the Grand Canyon Law Group could take an aggressive stance with prosecutors, which may be necessary to minimize the long-term impact that these charges could have on your life.
Prosecutors do not want to bring charges if a conviction is not likely. For many drug investigations, a local attorney can detect flaws in the case long before it goes to trial. If prosecutors have doubts about whether they can get a conviction, they might agree to lesser charges or penalties, or drop the charges completely.
In many criminal cases, a defendant can use the issue of violation of their Constitutional rights as a defense. This could be an effective line of defense in drug cases, as there is often uncertainty around whether police had probable cause for the search that resulted in the charges being filed.
Drug possession charges require a prosecutor to prove that the substance was illegal and that the defendant knew they had an illegal substance under their control. Prosecutors must establish both these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. Depending on the circumstances, a trustworthy legal professional could raise the question of whether the defendant realized that illegal drugs were present.
There are some drug laws unique to the area, which a lawyer in Chandler would understand and could navigate in the defendant’s favor. For example, some residents use peyote, an otherwise illegal drug, for religious purposes. In this scenario, religious use would be a defense to possession of peyote as long as it does not pose a threat to public morals or safety.
One particularly harsh aspect of the state’s drug laws is that prosecutors can charge someone with intent to sell based on the quantity of drugs they possessed, even with no other evidence of their intentions. The quantity of controlled substances required to trigger the intent to sell presumption is relatively small. Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13 §3401 defines the minimum quantity of illegal drugs a person must possess to be charged with intent to sell, depending on the substance. These are:
Conviction on a charge of intent to sell carries mandatory prison time, even for people with no prior criminal record. A defense attorney in the community could give a defendant the best chance at persuading prosecutors or a jury that such a dire outcome is inappropriate in their given case.
Many drug crimes carry mandatory minimum terms of incarceration. Even a misdemeanor conviction that does not result in jail time could have long-term consequences for a defendant’s future employment, housing options, child custody, and other important aspects of life.
If you are facing drug charges, call the Grand Canyon Law Group immediately. A savvy Chandler drug lawyer could stand up to prosecutors on your behalf and protect your future.