Arizona and Marijuana Possession

by lawdawg on November 8, 2012

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Arizona easily has some of the toughest drug laws in the United States. Up until this past decade possession for a single ounce of marijuana could result in felony charges and thousands of dollars in fines. Although charges have recently lessened in severity, the charges for participation in the marijuana industry remain very severe. Consequences for the charge are heavily dependent on the alleged possessor’s intent with the drug: i.e. whether the drug was for personal use, cultivation or trafficking.

Of these three the charges for simple possession are the least severe. Possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana for personal use is punishable with a year in prison as a Class 6 felony, all the way up to 2 1/2 years in jail and a Class 4 felony for the possession of more than 4 pounds of marijuana. Distribution of the drug or possession with the intent to sell is punishable with a minimum of 2 1/2 years in prison and is classified as a Class 4 felony. Offenders face up to 5 years in prison and a Class 2 felony charge for the intention to distribute more than four pounds of product.

If you are involved in the cultivation of marijuana and have less than 2 pounds of product, it is a Class 5 felony with a maximum sentence of 1 1/2 years in prison. If you are found with more than 4 pounds you then face a possible sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison and will likely be charged with a Class 4 felony. Those who participate in the trafficking of drugs face serious consequences, and can face as much as 3 1/2 years in prison even for an amount under 2 pounds. More than 2 pounds could mean as much as 5 years in prison and a Class 2 felony.

In addition to potential jail time those who are convicted face a minimum of a $750 fine for a “personal” amount not exceeding $750 in value. For larger amounts the fine will be equal to no less than 3 times the drugs sale value.

Although many people consider marijuana to be a “harmless” drug, penalties for its use or distribution are harsh and long lasting.  Thankfully there are many defenses available to people facing charges involving marijuana. One could be a “Lack of Knowledge” on the part of the defendant, or the exposure of weaknesses in the prosecutor’s evidence or tests. Also those who are not charged with the intent to sell can qualify for deferred prosecution- in which the defendant is offered to have the charges dropped after successfully completing a probationary program. In the case where charges can not be dropped, a experienced Phoenix drug crime attorney will be able to mitigate the charges you are facing and have them reduced to a lesser crime




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