Criminal law prescribes different penalties when you get caught in possession of illegal drugs. These penalties usually depend on the amount of illicit substance that you possess at the time of the arrest. They could either charge you with mere possession or with possession of drugs for sale.
If you have more than the threshold amount set by law, it is presumed that you intend to sell the excess. In such cases, you will likely be charged with possession of drugs for sale.
Arizona law categorizes illegal drugs into three groups – dangerous drugs, narcotics, and marijuana. Under the dangerous drugs classification are the likes of ecstasy, LSD, methamphetamine, lorazepam, clonazepam, GHB, mescaline, and steroids. Meanwhile, heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium, oxycodone, and the like are classified as narcotics.
As earlier stated, the volume of the substance found in your possession is the determining factor to indicate intent. There is what we call a statutory threshold. Possession of the illicit substance above the prescribed statutory threshold would indicate that you do not have the substance merely for personal use but actually intend to sell it.
Under Arizona law, the following are the threshold amounts for common prohibited drugs:
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): .5 milliliter
PCP: 4 grams
Methamphetamine: 9 grams
Amphetamine: 9 grams
Heroin: 1 gram
Cocaine: 9 grams
Marijuana: 907 grams
Meanwhile, it’s a different story when it comes to determining intent to sell prescription drugs as a felony. In such cases, legal amounts of the prescription drug are taken on a case to case basis. It would depend on your medical and criminal history, the nature of the drug, and other considerations.
When caught carrying marijuana with a volume anywhere between 2 to 4 pounds, it is considered a class 5 felony under Arizona law. If you are caught with an amount above 4 pounds, it is considered a class 4 felony. The sentence prescribed for a class 5 felony is a maximum prison term of 2.5 years. Meanwhile, the maximum term for class 4 felonies is 3.75 years.
On the other hand, when you are caught possessing volumes of illegal drugs that are beyond the threshold, you are deemed to have intent to sell the substance. Possession of marijuana for sale in Arizona is classified as a class 2 felony. Class 2 felonies carry a minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum of 12.5 years.
On the other hand, possessing prescription drugs usually carry a lighter penalty. when caught possessing prescription drugs with intent to sell, it is considered as a class 6 felony which carries a maximum prison term of 1.5 years and a $1,000 fine.
Along with the possible prison terms, other penalties such as community service, fines, and probation may also be imposed when it comes to these drug-related crimes.
Worthy of mention is the fact that Arizona courts are likely to rule in favor of first-time offenders and those suffering from drug addiction. Most would be placed under probation and are required to undergo addiction treatment instead of serving their prison terms.
All this considered, it would be best to hire a reputable criminal law firm such as the Law Offices of Gary L. Rohlwing in order to ensure that your rights are protected and that your possible prison terms have a chance of being mitigated.