What Are The Common Drug Offenses That You Handle?
Killham Law Office handles all drug charges, but the most common are Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Possession of Dangerous Drugs, Possession of Narcotics., Possession of drugs without a valid Prescription, Possession with Intent to Sell, Trafficking in Drugs, Manufacture of Narcotic Drugs, Cultivation, Transportation and Importation of Narcotics, and Internet Sale of Drugs. Often people are charged with a combination of one or more of the above charges, for instance, it is standard to be charged with both possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.
If the marijuana is located within a pipe, bong, or baggie, those items are defined as “paraphernalia “, and are a separate charge.
How Is A Drug Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
Whether a drug offense will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the type of drug, the amount involved, the jurisdiction the case is in, and past criminal record. Many times, a person is initially charged with a felony possession, but the charge can ultimately be reduced to a misdemeanor depending on the individual circumstances. Possession of Marijuana is a class 6 felony but may be resolved by a misdemeanor, or a “Class 6 open” offense. A class 6 open offense is a charge that starts out as a felony but can be reduced to a misdemeanor after a successful period of probation. Dangerous drugs and narcotic drugs are charged as class four felonies.
It is possible that those charges can be reduced to open-ended offenses as well. There are occasions where a simple possession of marijuana that would normally be a misdemeanor will be charged as a felony, if items like a scale or a ledger are located with the marijuana. These items are indicia of sale and may result in higher charges. A significant factor in determining whether a drug charge will be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor is whether the number of drugs exceeds the “threshold” amount. A “threshold” amount is a weight or value of an unlawful substance, and there is a statutory amount for each type of drug. A.R.S. 13-3401 establishes the threshold number of drugs as follows:
- One gram of heroin.
- Nine grams of cocaine.
- Seven hundred fifty milligrams of cocaine base or hydrolyzed cocaine.
- Four grams or 50 milliliters of PCP.
- Nine grams of methamphetamine, including methamphetamine in liquid suspension.
- Nine grams of amphetamine, including amphetamine in liquid suspension.
- One-half milliliter of lysergic acid diethylamide, or in the case of blotter dosage units fifty dosage units.
- Two pounds of marijuana.
What Is An Unlawful Controlled Substance?
The Controlled Substance Act is a 1970’s act that categorizes drugs into five “schedules”. These schedules are ranked by legitimacy of use, and potential for abuse and addiction. Schedule I drugs are drugs that are not considered to have any medicinal value, such as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Schedule II drugs have a potential medical purpose but are also at an elevated risk for abuse. Examples of these are oxycodone, morphine, and methadone. Schedule III includes drugs that are commonly used for medicinal purposes and have less risk of abuse, such as barbiturates and codeine. Schedule IV drugs are prescription medications that are frequently used for depression or anxiety, such as Xanax, and valium.
Finally, Schedule V drugs are over the counter medications such as cough syrups, and Benadryl. It is illegal to possess any of the drugs in these schedules unless you have a valid prescription.
What Is Considered Possession, Sale, Distribution And Intent To Distribute Unlawful Drugs?
Actual Possession means that you have been found with the drugs on your person, such as when the officer finds drugs in your pocket during a search. Constructive Possession means that the drugs are found within your control, in your vehicle, your purse, or backpack. Penalties for Possession depend on the “threshold” amounts. If you are in possession of a minimal amount of drugs, you may fall under Proposition 200. Proposition 200 offenses are eligible for sentences that involve drug treatment but do not include incarceration. Possession of drugs in excess of the threshold amounts are higher class felonies and involve prison sentences. Possession of drugs that are above the threshold amounts can also be charged as Possession of drugs for sale. Distribution of illegal drugs does not have to actually involve a sale, money does not have to be exchanged for a distribution charge.
If you share drugs with someone else, that is considered to be distribution. A common example of this is sharing prescription drugs, such as Adderall. The penalties are increased if the distribution of drugs takes place in a school zone. You can be charged with intent to distribute if you arrange for a meeting for any sort of drug-related transaction. This can be as simple as a text message or a phone call.
For more information on Drug Offenses In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 428-8203 today.
Call For A Free Consultation