Arizona Drug Possession Sentencing and What It Means for You

In your Arizona drug possession case, the type of drug and the amount you were caught with make a very big difference in the sentence you can expect. Although many first-time offenders will not serve time in jail, a previous drug conviction can increase the severity of your sentence by quite a bit. Your Arizona drug offense case is unique, so you will need to speak directly with a qualified Phoenix criminal defense lawyer for specific answers to your questions. In general, though, you should know that:
  • Most drug possession in Arizona is charged as a felony;
  • Even a first-time offender could be subject to mandatory probation;
  • Some serious drug offenses in Arizona could mean life in prison.

Under Arizona law, a "serious drug offense" is defined as any violation of (or attempt/conspiracy to violate):
  1. Section 13-3404.01, which covers possession and sale of ephedrine or other "precursor chemicals";
  2. Section 13-3405, which covers the sale and distribution of marijuana;
  3. Section 13-3407, which covers the sale and distribution of dangerous drugs;
  4. Section 13-3408, which covers the manufacture, sale, and transport of narcotics in an amount exceeding the threshold amount;
  5. Section 13-3406, which covers prescription drug offenses;
  6. Section 13-3409, which covers drug offenses involving minors.

If you have been charged with what is considered a serious drug offense in Arizona you could be sentenced to life imprisonment if:
  • You had a pattern of drug offenses, meaning three or more related drug crimes, which make up a significant part of your income.
  • OR
  • The offense was committed as part of an enterprise involved in dealing drugs in Arizona and you "organized, managed, directed, supervised or financed the enterprise with the intent to promote or further its criminal objectives."
If you have been arrested for drug possession in Arizona, contact one of our experienced Maricopa County criminal defense attorneys today. We will help you understand what your charges mean and answer your questions clearly and honestly. Also, take a look at our FREE book: Arizona Criminal Law - What You Must Know.