Arizona Drug Crimes Attorneys
Crimes involving both illegal and prescription drugs range from minor misdemeanors to felony charges. The severity of a drug charge usually depends on three factors: how much of the drug is in someone’s possession, who is using or buying the drug and if any other crimes are involved in the drug trade.
How much of a drug you have in your possession can have a direct impact on how you are charged with a drug crime. The circumstances surrounding a drug crime also have a great deal to do with how the crime is charged.
Arizona voters passed Proposition 200 in 1996, a referendum that greatly changed the way drug charges are handled in our state. Arizona voters saw the wisdom in making most drug charges punishable by probation rather than clogging up the legal system with non-violent offenses. However, that does not mean that a person involved in drug crimes can escape consequences with impunity. There are many exceptions to the Proposition 200 rules, such as:
- The type of drug involved in a drug crime may make the accused person ineligible for probation under the terms of Proposition 200. For example, all levels of methamphetamine possession, sale or manufacture are ineligible for sentencing under Proposition 200 guidelines.
- The involvement of a large amount of drug. If a person has a quantity of a drug sufficient to indicate that he or she is engaged in the illegal manufacture, distribution or sale of the drug, the charges will be much more serious than a typical drug possession charge.
- The involvement of children in the use or sale of drugs. Giving drugs to children under the age of 18 can result in child endangerment and other charges in addition to drug charges and usually carries much greater penalties than typical possession charges.
Under the terms of Proposition 200, drug offenders may be required to attend counseling or education classes or may be arrested and incarcerated if they violate the terms of their probation.
A criminal defense attorney may represent a person charged with a drug crime and attempt to mitigate the punishment or form a valid defense. In some cases, those who are charged with a drug crime may not have been in actual possession of the drugs; instead, they may have been left in a home or vehicle. Whether this is the case or whether your drug case is more complicated, it is critical that you have professional legal representation to protect your rights.