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Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Tucson

In Tucson, Arizona, facing drug charges is not a matter to be taken lightly. With Arizona's stringent laws regarding drug crimes, individuals stand the risk of facing mandatory prison sentences, hefty fines, and acquiring a permanent criminal record that can severely impact their future. Whether you've been arrested, summoned, or are under investigation for a drug-related offense, understanding the legal landscape is essential. It's pivotal to enlist the experience of a Tucson-based drug crimes defense attorney at the earliest opportunity.

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Understanding the "Threshold Amount" in Arizona's Drug Laws

In the state of Arizona, drug laws are stringent, especially when a person is found in possession of narcotics exceeding a specific quantity. This predefined quantity, known as the drug "Threshold Amount," becomes the key factor in determining the severity of the punishment, often triggering mandatory prison terms even for first-time offenders. This means that even individuals with a pristine legal record, having never faced any prior drug convictions or other criminal charges—whether felony or misdemeanor—may still be subjected to compulsory imprisonment if the drugs in their possession exceed this set amount.

The "Threshold Amounts" for drug possession, according to Arizona law, include the following:

  • Heroin: one gram
  • Cocaine: nine grams
  • Crack Cocaine: 0.75 gram
  • PCP: four grams
  • Methamphetamine: nine grams
  • Amphetamine: nine grams
  • LSD: either 0.5 milliliters or 50 dosage units
  • Marijuana: two pounds.
  • For drugs not specifically listed, the threshold is determined by any amount with a street value exceeding $1,000.

Under "ARS 13-3401 (36)", Arizona's drug legislation details various parameters surrounding controlled substances. This includes the nature and type of the drug, its weight, the current market value, and the specific quantity. These factors jointly inform the charges placed upon a defendant, depending on the intended or demonstrated use of the drug. For instance, possessing a drug purely for personal use could lead to different charges and penalties than having an intent to distribute the same drug.

Broadly, drug crimes in Arizona can be categorized under the following heads:

  • Possession: This is the most basic charge, implying that an individual has a controlled substance on their person, property, or immediate vicinity without a valid prescription or reason.
  • Possession with Intent to Sell: This charge goes beyond simple possession. It implies that not only does the individual have the drug, but there's also sufficient evidence to suggest that they had plans to sell or distribute it. Factors that could indicate intent include the quantity of the drug, the presence of packaging materials, large amounts of cash, or even communications pointing towards a sale.
  • Transportation: This involves moving controlled substances from one place to another. Depending on the quantity and destination, this can be seen as a more significant crime, especially if the transportation crosses state lines or involves large amounts suggestive of trafficking.

The "Threshold Amount" is crucial in these categorizations. While any illegal possession can lead to penalties, surpassing the Threshold Amount significantly elevates the legal consequences. Given the potential severity of these consequences, anyone facing drug charges in Arizona, particularly those related to exceeding the Threshold Amount, should urgently consult with legal experts knowledgeable in the state's drug laws. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the charges, possible defenses, and avenues for negotiation or mitigation.


Arizona's Classification and Penalties for Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS)

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.

  • Penalties:
  • 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.

  • Penalties:
  • 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.

About Attorney

Corrinna O. Molnar

Corrinna Molnar has spent countless hours in the courts in thousands of hearings. She has worked against dozens of prosecutors, and research each and every judge and prosecutor to know the best strategies. Our firm knows the system, players and the moves needed to fight your charges!

Criminal Defense Attorney Corrinna Molnar

Contact A Drug Crimes Defense Attorney In Tucson

Facing drug crime charges in Tucson, Arizona, can be a distressing and life-altering experience. Arizona takes drug crimes seriously, and the penalties for a drug crime conviction can be severe, especially for repeat offenders. The consequences might include imprisonment, hefty fines, probation, mandatory educational programs or community service, and possibly, a lasting criminal record.

As your dedicated drug crimes attorney in Tucson, we are here to offer you both confidence and compassion during this challenging time. We understand the emotional toll a drug crime charge can take on your life, and our mission is to provide you with the support, guidance, and strong legal representation you need.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation. Our goal with the case evaluation is to help clarify the charges you face and help you understand what your next steps need to be. Our firm serves the areas of Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, South Tucson and other areas around Pima County. We can also serve those who live in Nogales, Rio Rico and other areas in Santa Cruz County.

Client & Peer Testimonials

Ms. Molnar is an amazing woman and lawyer she helped me through a very long fight on a case and didn't give up she works hard and fights for her clients. I highly recommend Ms. Molnar and her services. You will not be disappointed in her services.

Mark N.

I have been a Criminal Defense Attorney in Pima County for a very long time and have seen many lawyers in court. Corinna has always impressed me with her knowledge,  composure, professionalism and most importantly,  her compassion for her clients.

Rafael G.

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Legal Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Molnar Law Office's legal team is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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