KILLHAM LAW

How Are Drug Charges Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?


Possession of drug charges falls under Arizona revised statute 13-3401, and there are six categories of drugs: marijuana, prescription drugs, narcotics, peyote, substances that release toxic vapors and dangerous drugs like meth. In addition to those six categories, persons who are in possession of the compounds that can be used to make the aforementioned drugs could be prosecuted under Arizona statute 13-3408. The penalties involved for possessing these substances will require the violator to pay a fine of at least $2,000 or three times the value of the narcotic drugs involved (whichever is greater).

Depending on what type of drug is involved, possession charges can either a misdemeanor or a felony. Possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamines, salts etc.) falls under Arizona revised statute 13-3407.

It is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

How Does Arizona Define Sale, Possession And Trafficking Of Drugs?

There are many factors that determine if a person is charged with Possessions of Drugs for Sale or Trafficking of Drugs. One factor considered in the statute defining sale of drugs is the amount in possession of the person. Additionally, the statute defines transportation or trafficking drugs as importing drugs into this state or offering to transport drugs for sale.

Possession of a dangerous drug is a Class 4 felony. If a person hasn’t been previously convicted of a felony under the section of 13-3407, then an attorney may be able to file a motion under 13-3408 with the state to reduce the charge to a class I misdemeanor with probation. If you’re charged with anything under a Class 4 felony, you may receive the maximum punishment of 3.75 years in prison, 4 years of probation, and a fine of $150,000 (with surcharges). If your charge is reduced to a class I misdemeanor, then you can face a reduced sentence of about 6 months in jail, a maximum of 5 years of probation, or a $2,500 fine (plus surcharges).

A possession of marijuana charge falls under Arizona revised statute 13-3405. A person shall not knowingly possess, use, transport, distribute or manufacture marijuana. The criminal consequences of possessing marijuana depend on quite a number of factors, including whether or not you have prior convictions. Under the statute, if you’re in possession of 2 pounds or less of marijuana, then you can be charged with a Class 4 felony. On the other hand, if you are in possession of 4 or more pounds of marijuana, then you would be charged with a Class 3 felony.

The state sometimes allows for a deferred prosecution in possession of drug cases, but it will depend on whether or not there are prior convictions. Deferred prosecution applies if you’re a first time offender and willing to enter into an agreement with the state. This agreement requires that you fulfill a certain number of conditions and requirements. If you successfully complete all of those terms and conditions, then the charges against you may be dropped or dismissed.

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When Can Police Search An Automobile Or A Residence Without A Warrant?

There are many factors that come into play when, and if, the police can search an automobile without a warrant. One example is, if a person is pulled over for a traffic offense, and was found to be driving on a suspended license, then under Arizona Revised Statute 28-3511, the police officer will impound the vehicle, if that officer determines the person operating the vehicle had a suspended driver’s license. In that case, the police officer will conduct an inventory of the vehicle’s contents before impounding it. There is no warrant necessary to conduct an inventory search.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the backdrop to all entries into homes and dwellings, as well as any other governmental search (including vehicles). Simply put, the Fourth Amendment provides all people the right to be secure in their bodies and homes against unreasonable searches and seizures, and this right cannot be violated absent a warrant based upon probable cause. As with all Constitutional provisions and laws, Courts have carved out a few other exceptions to the freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures and to the warrant requirement.

The first thing people must understand is that government agents routinely conduct what is called a “knock and talk” investigation. What this consists of is simply knocking on the door of a home and speaking to the resident or whoever answers the door. In so doing, oftentimes officers attempt to gain entry into the home by getting consent. Officers also will take the opportunity to look inside the residence to determine if they see anything that could give them probable cause to enter. BY NO MEANS do you have to give them consent to enter. In fact, there is absolutely nothing that prohibits you from plainly saying you are refusing consent and politely closing the door in their face.

To determine when the Fourth Amendment applies, Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), outlined a two-part test: 1) has the person exhibited a subjective expectation of privacy; and 2) is society prepared to recognize this expectation as subjectively reasonable. Stated plainly, if a person is in a home, dwelling, or vehicle and they have the legal right to be there, they will almost always have their Fourth Amendment rights intact. What this means is that if a person is seized or searched, or if the dwelling they are legally in is searched, then they can challenge the legality of that search in Court if they are charged.

As the Fourth Amendment clearly states, law enforcement can enter a home to search or to arrest an individual if they have a warrant based upon probable cause and signed by a neutral and detached magistrate (which is now called a judge). However, even without a warrant, law enforcement may enter a home based upon a few other exceptions. As mentioned previously, consent is the most common exception to the warrant requirement. People are routinely nervous when speaking with police and frequently consent to a search even if they have something to hide. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONSENT.

Police officers can legally search an area and seize evidence if it is clearly visible. This is called the Plain View Doctrine. If the police see an illegal act occurring outside of your home, they may perform a search and seize evidence from your home without a search warrant.

There are exceptions to the Search Warrant requirement. If you ever have a question as to whether your rights have been violated, do not hesitate to contact my office as our criminal defense attorneys have an in-depth knowledge of Constitutional law and emerging issues.

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

If you have been arrested for possession of an illegal substance, and it is your first offense, TASC may be available as an alternative to a Felony conviction If you complete all of the terms of the TASC program successfully, then the County Attorney will file a motion to dismiss the charge, meaning it would not be a conviction, and it would not be on your record.

If you have been arrested for a drug offense and it is your first time, call the Killham Law Office and we would be glad to assist you in exploring your options and pursuing the best possible outcome for your case.

For more information on Drug Charges In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling the Killham Law Office at (623) 428-8203 today.

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(623) 428-8203

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