Arizona has stringent drug laws. It is a crime to possess and use illegal drugs in Scottsdale knowingly. The ramifications for being charged with using or possessing illegal drugs can result in jail or lengthy imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
Scottsdale drug laws and sentencing provisions can be complex and will depend on a number of variables in a case. An experienced Scottsdale drug lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can help navigate the criminal process, negotiate with the prosecutor, and put forth applicable defenses to get the best possible outcome for you. We are former prosecutors who know how to obtain the best outcome for our clients.
While some drug possession cases involve people with one-time or rare drug use, many charged with this crime have an underlying drug addiction. It is obviously important to have a top-notch attorney fighting the legal side and consequences, but we also understand that there is a bigger issue. Our attorneys and staff are experienced at working with people with drug and alcohol addiction, providing help and resources, and in doing all we can to craft an outcome in the criminal case that focuses more on treatment and healing than on punishment. This is not always possible in our criminal justice system, but there are options and things we can do in most cases.
We take the time to understand our clients and listen with compassion. We have found that if we can express to the prosecution who our client is, the journey they have been on, and their prospects for successful recovery, we are able to get major improvements in the outcomes of our clients’ cases. But maybe more importantly, our clients are also on a more positive path at the end of their criminal case.
To prove possession of drugs, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly possessed a drug, and that the drug was, in fact, an illegal drug. Evidence must link defendant to the drugs to reasonably infer the defendant knew about the drug’s existence, and that defendant had control over the drugs. In addition, the drug must be tested by a forensic scientist who then must testify that the substance is, in fact, the drug they say it is.
Defenses to a drug charge are case-specific. One can claim they did not know the drugs were in the location where they were found or that the substance found was not the illegal drug they claim. These can be difficult defenses, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
Some of the most effective defenses are that the police committed illegal search and seizure by either illegally stopping or contacting the defendant, or searching them without sufficient suspicion. These are powerful because that can lead to the incriminating evidence and the case being dismissed. An experienced Scottsdale drug attorney could work to ensure all defenses are thoroughly researched to help lessen charges.
The Criminal Code Sentencing Provisions (“Sentencing Provisions”) and Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13, Chapter 34 lays out the range of sentencing for drug offenses. One’s sentence depends on the type and classification of the drug charge, the amount of drugs, whether it is a repeated offense, and if it is single or multiple offenses. Most drug charges are classified as felonies.
The Sentencing Provisions has separate categories for multiple drug offenses, personal possession and use of drugs, and non-multiple drug offenses. The Sentencing Provisions also detail threshold amounts for specific drugs.
You may have heard of “Prop 200,” which was an important law passed in Arizona to try to reduce the number of people in prison for drug offenses. The good news is that (in many cases) it requires that the court give a person probation when convicted of their first drug offense. But there are exceptions. The person must not have any prior drug convictions, no prior violent convictions, and it does not apply to methamphetamine possession.
Charges and sentencing for a drug offense are complex. A trained Scottsdale drug attorney skilled in navigating drug charges could help one better understand their case and help defend their rights.
Drug charges are serious criminal offenses in Scottsdale, with sometimes lengthy prison sentences. A skilled Scottdale drug lawyer experienced in criminal defense could help you attain the best possible outcome either by mitigating charges or dismissing your case.