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Drug Crimes Overview

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Choosing an Arizona Drug Crime Lawyer

In Arizona, a large number of criminal cases are filed each year. While most criminal matters filed in the state are misdemeanors, many people also face felony charges that carry potentially severe penalties.

Below you will find that we have detailed information about criminal defense and the process involved in the criminal justice system.

Criminal defense lawyers represent their clients through all stages of criminal cases, including investigations, arrests, filing of charges, pleas, motions hearings, trials, sentencing hearings, and seeking post-conviction relief. Your criminal defense lawyer can offer guidance while helping to protect your rights and freedom.

If you are facing criminal charges, you might feel understandably overwhelmed and frightened. The criminal defense attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta, PLLC, are prepared to fight for you. We have experience with handling criminal cases at all levels.

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Arizona Drug Crimes Defense Overview

Types of Drug Charges You Might Face in Arizona

In Arizona, you might face any of the following drug offenses under several laws:

  • Using non-prescribed or illegal drugs, other than marijuana, under ARS 13-3407 is a Class 4 felony
  • Possession of controlled, non-prescribed drugs can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type and amount
  • Distribution of drugs is charged as a felony ranging from a Class 4 to a Class 2 felony
  • Drug trafficking can be charged if you are caught bringing illegal drugs into the state and is a felony
  • Importing drugs into Arizona is a serious felony that can result in years in prison
  • Possessing drugs with the intent to sell can be charged if you possess more than 2 pounds of marijuana, 1 gram of heroin, 9 grams of methamphetamine, or 4 grams of PCP and is a serious felony ranging from a Class 4 felony to a Class 2 felony
  • Manufacturing dangerous drugs is a serious felony and can result in a maximum sentence of12.5 years for a first offense if the charges are aggravated
  • Cultivating drugs, including marijuana under ARS 13-3405(A)(3), without a license is a felony
  • Transporting illegal drugs is a felony and can be charged together with drug distribution
  • Smuggling drugs from Mexico to Arizona can be charged as a felony in state or federal court

If you are facing any of these offenses, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible, and here is why: Your attorney can review the evidence and the different reports to look for constitutional problems with how the police conducted their investigation and seized the evidence. He or she can challenge the admissibility of any illegally seized evidence and identify other defenses that might be available to you.

3 Common & Effective Types of Defenses to Drug Charges

While each case is different and has many elements, your attorney will begin by exploring the different types of defenses in your case.

1. Illegal Search & Seizure 

One potential defense might exist if the police officers violated your rights during your stop, search, or seizure.

Police officers must follow the laws under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when they stop vehicles, conduct searches, and seize evidence or people. If the officer stopped you without reasonable suspicion or searched your home or vehicle without a warrant, your attorney might be able to challenge the evidence the police gathered. Warrantless searches are generally illegal unless they meet an exception to the search warrant requirement.

In many Arizona drug cases, the police will illegally extend the length of a routine traffic stop in order to wait for a drug-sniffing dog to search your vehicle. If this happens, we may be able to suppress any evidence found as a result of the illegal seizure and search.

Your attorney will carefully review the police reports, any video footage, radio transmissions, and other evidence from the time of your arrest to determine whether a constitutional defense might be available. If your stop or search was illegal, then your attorney may file an evidentiary motion asking the court to suppress all of the evidence that the police subsequently gathered.

If this type of defense is successful, it can leave the prosecutor with no choice other than to dismiss your case.

2. Illegal Use of a Confidential Informant

Police use confidential informants to charge many drug cases involving drug sales or distribution. If the police officers used a confidential informant in your case, your attorney would likely examine the informant’s credibility.

If the police compensated the informant for providing information or gave him or her favorable treatment in his or her own case, your attorney could challenge any testimony given by the informant.

3. Mishandling or Misuse of Drug Evidence

Your attorney might also look at the chain of custody of the drugs. The prosecutor must present evidence of the chain of custody to admit the evidence in court. The chain of custody includes showing who had custody of the drugs at all times. This includes from the time they were seized until they reached the forensic lab.

If there was a break in the chain of custody, or if the drugs have gone missing, your charges might be dismissed.

Other potential defenses might include lab analysis errors, misidentification, alibi, drug planting, entrapment, or having no knowledge that the drugs were present.

Your drug crimes attorney will carefully review all the evidence to determine which defenses might apply in your case.

The Importance of a Defense Attorney for Drug Charges

Drug defense attorneys have years of legal education and experience to understand how to defend their clients against drug charges. With years of experience, the attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta have likely worked with the prosecutors, police, and judges assigned to your case. This can work in your favor and can help you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s case against you.

drug crimes lawyer can help you identify questionable conduct by the police and any inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case. He or she might be able to win a dismissal of your charges or secure an agreement to a reduced charge or sentence.

When you have a skilled and experienced attorney on your side, your chances of securing a better outcome increase dramatically. To learn more, call the defense attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta today to schedule a consultation at (602) 825-2500.

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What People Say

Client Testimonials

Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“The calm in the middle of my storm…”

I, recently, consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again, however, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.

Frank - AVVO Review

Divorce / Reconciliation Client
Attorney David Maletta

“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”

I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.

Jacob - AVVO Review

DUI Defense Client
Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”

Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!

Chris - AVVO Review

Child Custody & Support Client
Attorney David Maletta

“I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.”

Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.

Gregory - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”

I had an incident and was Given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at was answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future and as of right now they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.

Dylan - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Listens to every request that you make on a case”

I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.

Ben - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
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