Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) are stringently classified into six distinct categories in Arizona. This classification is primarily established under Arizona's statutes AZ §13-3401 through §13-3422. The groups and the associated penalties for possession are as follows:
Peyote: Peyote possession is deemed a Class 6 felony.
- Penalty: Convictions can lead to prison sentences ranging from four months up to two years. Fines can escalate to a staggering $150,000. It's worth noting that individuals could potentially evade charges if they demonstrate the peyote was used for religious ceremonies and posed no harm to others.
Substances Emitting Toxic Vapors: Inhaling or consuming substances that emit toxic vapors, such as certain glues, aerosol sprays, and isopropyl alcohol, is illegal. Possession is considered a Class 5 felony.
- Penalty: Convictions can result in six months to two and a half years of imprisonment and fines of up to $150,000. Depending on the circumstances, judges might downgrade the charge to a Class 1 misdemeanor, which would significantly reduce the sentence to potentially six months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Marijuana: In 2020, Arizona significantly shifted its drug laws by legalizing recreational marijuana. Adults aged 21 and over can legally possess up to one ounce.
- Less than 2.5 ounces: Classified as a petty offense, the penalty is a civil fine of $100.
- Less than two pounds: This amount classifies as a Class 6 felony. Penalties include four months to two years in prison and a fine of at least $2,000 or thrice the marijuana's value.
- Over two but less than four pounds: Possession falls under Class 5 felony, leading to six months to two and a half years in jail and a fine up to $150,000.
- Four pounds or more: This is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years and nine months in prison, plus a fine that can reach $150,000.
Drugs That Can Only Be Obtained Through a Prescription: This includes drugs that have recognized medical purposes but can be abused, such as OxyContin, Xanax, and Adderall.
- Penalties: Personal Use Amounts: For smaller amounts typically associated with personal use without a valid prescription:
- Possession: Often charged as a Class 4 felony, which can result in 1 to 3.75 years of prison for a first-time offense. Fines can reach up to $150,000, not including surcharges or fees associated with prosecution.
- Intent to Sell: This would increase the severity of the charge and penalties, especially if the quantity in possession is more than a typical personal use amount.
- Larger Amounts: Possession of larger amounts, particularly with evidence of the intent to distribute, can lead to longer prison sentences and higher fines. Such cases could involve mandatory prison time, especially if the offender has prior convictions.
Dangerous Drugs: This includes a broad range of substances, such as methamphetamine, LSD, or MDMA.
- Methamphetamine: Meth possession for personal use is a Class 4 felony and could result in a prison sentence ranging from 1 to 3.75 years for a first-time offense. If the amount possessed is over the threshold amount, there could be a mandatory prison sentence. Selling meth is a more severe offense and is classified as a Class 2 felony with potential prison time ranging from 3 to 12.5 years.
- LSD, MDMA, and other hallucinogens: Possession for personal use often leads to Class 4 felony charges, with 1 to 3.75 years in prison for first-time offenses. Possession with intent to sell could increase the severity to a Class 2 or 3 felony, leading to longer prison terms.
- For any dangerous drug, fines can reach up to $150,000 plus surcharges and the costs of prosecution.
Narcotics: Being caught with narcotics such as cocaine or heroin, especially if the intent to sell is evident, classifies as a Class 4 felony.
- Penalty: Depending on multiple factors like prior convictions and the gravity of the current offense, the sentence can vary between a jail term of up to a year or a prison sentence. Financial penalties can either be a minimum of $2,000 or triple the narcotics' value, depending on which is higher.
Remember, these are general guidelines, and actual sentences can vary based on the specifics of the case, the judge's discretion, any plea bargains made, and other factors. Always consult with a legal professional if facing drug charges in Arizona to understand potential outcomes and develop a defense strategy.