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Types of Drug Charges in New River

The illegal drug trade has been a law enforcement priority for decades. Arizona law inflicts harsh penalties on possession, sale, distribution, and production of illegal substances.

The various types of drug charges in New River range from simple possession for personal use to trafficking or manufacturing. Penalties could range from a relatively modest fine and probation to many years in prison. When you face one of these charges, contact a drug lawyer from Grand Canyon Law Group with experience handling these cases immediately.

Multiple Factors Determine the Severity of the Charge

Arizona has a complex method for categorizing and punishing drug crimes. The identity of the substance, the quantity, and even the location all have an impact on the charge. These factors, as well as the defendant’s criminal history, influence the sentencing options. A New River attorney can explain the basis for specific types of drug charges in a case.

Possessing a drug means having it on the body, in a container like a backpack or purse, or in a vehicle or space that the accused has access to and control over. The law describes the amount of each type of drug considered appropriate for personal use. People caught with a quantity of drugs appropriate for their personal use face Class 4 felony charges in most cases. However, possessing more than one ounce but less than two and half ounces of marijuana for personal use is a non-criminal infraction.

Anyone possessing illegal drugs or any amount of marijuana within 100 yards of a school faces a more serious charge and harsher penalties. The entire campus, including sports fields and playgrounds, counts as a school when determining the drug-free zone. The drug-free zone also extends to any public place within 1000 feet of the school property, including bus stops and school buses.

Some Drug Offenses Are Eligible for Probation

Most drug-related crimes in this state are felonies, which normally carry prison sentences. However, Arizona Statute § 13-901.01 allows some offenders to avoid incarceration. Anyone convicted of possessing a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia for personal use will receive probation rather than incarceration unless they have:

  • Refused drug treatment or probation
  • A conviction or indictment for a violent crime
  • Two or more prior convictions for drug possession

Offenses involving any quantity of methamphetamine are ineligible for probation.

Probation includes drug education classes and treatment if necessary. Anyone who violates their probation faces detention until a judge resets the probation terms or sentences the offender to jail or prison. A drug lawyer in New River may try to enroll an accused person with substance use disorder in a diversion program. Completing a diversion program focusing on drug treatment and life skills could lead to a reduced or dismissed charge.

Larger Quantities Can Lead to Drug Sale Charges

The law describes threshold amounts of various drugs that it treats as quantities appropriate for personal use. Possessing larger quantities allows for the legal assumption that the drugs are intended for sale. This offense is called possession with intent to distribute. If the accused allegedly transported the drugs, the offense is drug trafficking.

A prosecutor can bring charges for intent to distribute or trafficking even when there is no other evidence an accused intended to sell the drugs. The prosecution only requires evidence the quantity of drugs exceeded the threshold for personal use. A New River attorney could rebut this type of drug charge with evidence the drugs were for the defendant’s personal use.

Possession with intent to distribute, trafficking, manufacturing dangerous drugs, and possessing the materials to make methamphetamine are Class 2 felonies. The presumptive sentence is five years in prison, but the sentence could range from three years to 12 years and six months. Possessing the materials necessary to make other illegal drugs is a Class 3 felony with a presumptive sentence of three and half years and a range of 1.8 years to 8.7 years.

Defend Against Various Types of Drug Charges With a New River Attorney

Drug laws are complex, and penalties are harsh. When you face any type of drug charge in New River, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer.

An attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can use their knowledge and skills as former prosecutors to obtain the best outcome possible under the circumstances. Call us for a free consultation.

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