Many criminal cases involve allegations related to the possession of illegal drugs. State law says that a first conviction for these offenses may require a court to sentence a person to drug treatment and time on probation instead of a prison sentence.
However, not every drug case has this built-in second chance. When the amount of drugs that a person supposedly has in their possession meets a legal minimum, prosecutors and courts will treat these matters as examples of trafficking. In these cases, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney to defend against severe penalties. At Grand Canyon Law Group, a Phoenix drug trafficking lawyer could provide more information about what this means and how to fight back against these serious allegations.
Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3407 describes the offense of drug possession with the intent of distributing those substances. Under the statute, a conviction is a class 2 felony that can bring a three-year prison sentence for a first conviction with mitigating circumstances, or even a 12.5-year prison term if aggravating factors are present.
Even with this in mind, trafficking may trigger different provisions under the law. This is because trafficking charges allege that a person has distributed or intends to distribute the substance in mass quantities. Because of this, the state’s law concerning threshold amounts may apply.
AZ Rev. Stat. § 13-3401(36) defines the concept of a threshold amount. This is the amount of drug that a person may have in their possession that triggers enhanced sentencing mandates upon conviction.
The specific amount will vary based upon the type of alleged drugs in the case. For example, a single gram of heroin satisfies this requirement, while the threshold barrier for cocaine is nine grams. Under the state’s core drug law, a conviction for trafficking that meets this threshold amount means that a court cannot suspend a prison sentence or order probation instead of jail time. Our local drug trafficking attorneys work diligently to avoid these outcomes.
A drug trafficking charge alleges that a person has moved or intends to move large amounts of drugs. As a result, a defense against these charges can attempt to disprove any of these elements.
One option is to contest the identity of the supposed drugs. A lawyer at our Phoenix office could question the scientific methods used to identify a substance or argue that the amount of drugs in question does not satisfy the threshold amount.
It may also be possible to present evidence that a person did not actually distribute drugs or lacked the intent to do so. The skilled attorneys at our firm can work to dispute the prosecution’s assumptions concerning packaging materials, measuring tools, or large amounts of cash. This could help to create reasonable doubt among jurors.
Allegations that you trafficked drugs in the community are the most serious charges related to illegal drugs under state law. A conviction means that a court must impose a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years for even a first offense. Subsequent convictions and aggravating factors can result in decades spent in prison.
A Phoenix drug trafficking lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group is ready to represent your interests and protect your freedoms. Our team can evaluate the police work that led to an arrest, defend against presumptions of distribution, and contest whether the drugs in question meet the statutory threshold. Reach out to us today to discuss your case.