KILLHAM LAW

Do Most Drug-Related Cases End Up Going To Trial?


The majority of drug-related cases do not usually proceed to trial. Most drug cases can be resolved with a plea agreement, especially if it is a first offense. A simple possession case can often be resolved with a fine and some classes, but sale charges are less likely to be settled as easily. Manufacturing and trafficking cases that involve incarceration are likely to go to trial if the evidence cannot be suppressed by pretrial motions. Common Pretrial motions involve the validity of the stop, the legality of the search, and whether there is a right to counsel or a coercion issue. These motions are argued at procedures known as evidentiary hearings, where the court listens to testimony regarding the motion issues. Pretrial motions can get some or all the state’s evidence suppressed or can even result in a dismissal of the charges.

What Are The Penalties For A Drug Conviction In Arizona?

The penalties for drug offenses varies with the severity of the charge, the type of drug involved and the threshold amount in your possession. Terms of incarceration also depend on if it is a first offense, or if there are any prior convictions. Even possession of marijuana charges can result in a prison sentence if there are prior convictions for the same thing. Penalties range from Prop 200 cases which involve probation to lengthy prison sentences. The term of prison will depend on the class of felony. Some drug offenses have mandatory prison sentences, an example of this is sale of methamphetamine. Trafficking, sale and manufacturing charges carry higher penalties than mere possession charges, and the sentencing parameters can range from probation up to 15 years in the Department of Corrections.

Are There Any Alternative Programs Available For First Time Drug Offenders?

There are alternative programs for first-time offenders, although it depends on the jurisdiction where the charges are filed. The most common alternative program is known as TASC, which stands for Treatment Assessment Screening Center. This is a private company that is affiliated with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and offers a deferred prosecution program. To participate in the TASC program, an initial guilty plea to the drug charge is required. There is also a mandatory statement of guilt that must be handwritten and signed. The State requires the guilty plea and the written confession as “insurance” in case the TASC program is not completed successfully.

To be successful in the TASC program, the participant must pay expensive fees, and submit to urinalysis tests on a random basis. The urine tests must all have drug-free results. The program can last anywhere from six months for a marijuana possession charge, to a year or more for Possession of Narcotics or Dangerous drugs to over a year, depending on how quickly the participant can fulfill all the requirements. Upon successful completion of the program, the criminal charges will be dismissed, and will not appear on your record.

What Sets Your Firm Apart In Handling Drug Cases?

Drug charges often have issues with illegal searches that can result in reduced charges, suppression of evidence, or even dismissal. As a former prosecutor, Ms. Killham has a unique perspective when reviewing a case for potential issues. Familiarity with police procedure in drug cases is imperative for defending your case, and Ms. Killham has inside knowledge based on years of working with law enforcement in the prosecution of drug offenses. Ms. Killham knows the experts that are necessary to testify about the crime lab methodology that may influence your case. As an experienced trial attorney, Ms. Killham knows the most effective ways to argue motions for your maximum benefit and can leverage those issues into effective negotiations with the state.

For more information on Drug Related Cases Going To Trial, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 428-8203 today.

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