Arizona Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Laws
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Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Charges
When it comes to dangerous drugs, Arizona treats drug crimes very seriously. If the police charge you with distributing or manufacturing dangerous drugs, you potentially face life-altering penalties. If the people receiving the drugs are minors, the sentencing is even harsher and you could face many additional years in prison.
Drug distribution or manufacturing charges should prompt you to retain an experienced dangerous drugs defense attorney at the law firm of Colburn Hintze Maletta as soon as possible. We can review your case and help you to understand your options.
What are Dangerous Drugs?
Dangerous drugs in Arizona include most scheduled drugs and substances other than marijuana. Some common types of dangerous drugs include the following:
- Anabolic steroids
- Certain prescription drugs, including clonazepam, carisoprodol, and diazepam
If you are caught distributing these or other dangerous drugs or manufacturing dangerous drugs, you will face felony charges.
Manufacturing Drugs or Cultivating Drugs
If you are convicted of manufacturing or cultivating dangerous drugs (other than cultivating marijuana), it is a Class 2 felony carrying severe penalties. If you are convicted of manufacturing misbranded medications, it is a Class 4 felony under ARS 13-3406.
The penalties for drug manufacturing depend on multiple factors, including the following:
- Type of drug and its classification
- Prior convictions
- Prior drug convictions
- Aggravating factors, including sales to minors or possessing dangerous weapons
Depending on the amount of drugs in your possession, you might also be charged with possession with the intent to sell the drugs. You can also be charged with manufacturing illegal drugs when you have certain types of precursors or equipment in your possession.
If you manufacture or cultivate drugs in someone else’s home, the property owner can face a loss of his or her property even if he or she had nothing to do with the offense.
The Job of a Criminal Defense Attorney
An Arizona criminal defense lawyer’s job involves fighting for their clients’ best interests and protecting their rights. Defense attorneys design and implement strategies to fight against the charges filed against their clients by the police and prosecutors.
When you retain an attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta, PLLC, your lawyer will begin by thoroughly investigating your case. Our attorneys work closely with investigators and experts to find witnesses and evidence to bolster our clients’ defense cases so that they can secure the best resolutions possible under the circumstances.
Jurisdictional Considerations for Drug Crimes
Drug crimes may be charged in state or federal court. You might face federal charges if you are accused of bringing drugs across state lines to distribute in Arizona or have obtained precursor chemicals from out of state to manufacture them.
Federal charges generally carry harsher penalties than state charges. In certain situations, jurisdictional issues might also exist if the crimes were committed on a reservation.
What are the Penalties for Manufacturing Dangerous Drugs?
The penalties for a drug manufacturing conviction in Arizona are much more severe than the penalties for simple possession. If you are convicted of operating or owning a methamphetamine lab, you will face up to 15 years in prison for a first offense.
If a child under the age of 15 was physically injured during the manufacturing of methamphetamine, you could face a minimum of 13 years and a maximum of life in prison depending on the circumstances and age of the child.
Prosecutors may allege that a child was physically injured by inhaling toxic fumes or vapors created during the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Any person who is convicted of a felony in Arizona can also be assessed a fine of up to $150,000 by the court.
What to do if Charged with Drug Manufacturing?
If the police charge you with manufacturing dangerous drugs or distributing them in Arizona, you should seek legal help immediately. Since the laws in Arizona frequently change through new legislation, court decisions, and ballot initiatives, you should hire a drug crimes lawyer who works to stay current with changes in the law as they occur.
The drug crime attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta constantly read new court decisions and track legislative changes to remain up-to-date with sentencing trends, alternatives, aggravators, procedures, and potential defenses. Contact us at (602) 825-2500 to speak immediately with an attorney.
Categories of Drug Distribution Offenses
In Arizona, drug distribution offenses fall into the following three categories:
- Distributing dangerous drugs
- Distributing narcotics
- Distributing prescription drugs
We will review each of these offenses below.
Distributing Dangerous Drugs
Under ARS 13-3401, there are many different substances and compounds that are listed as dangerous drugs, including the following common types:
If you are convicted of transporting or importing these types of drugs into Arizona, it is a Class 2 felony. If you have more than the statutorily defined amount of these drugs, you will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence.
A conviction for transporting methamphetamine can penalize you with 5 to 15 years in prison for a first offense.
Distributing Narcotic Drugs
Narcotic drugs include substances such as heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, opium, sufentanil, tramadol, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and others. Under ARS 13-3408(A)(7), transporting or importing a narcotic drug for sale is a Class 2 felony in Arizona.
If you have more than the statutory limit of these drugs in your possession, you will not be eligible for probation or a suspended sentence until after you serve your full sentence.
Distributing Prescription Drugs
If you are charged with transporting or importing a drug that is only available by a prescription without authorization, it is a Class 6 felony punishable by up to 2 years of prison.
If granted probation, you must complete a minimum of 240 hours of community service.
Charges for Drug Cultivation or Manufacturing in Arizona
Under ARS 13-3406, you can face the following penalties for manufacturing misbranded or prescription drugs:
- Manufacturing a misbranded drug is a Class 4 felony with a penalty of 1 to 3.75 years in prison and a fine of at least $1,000.
- Unauthorized manufacturing of a prescription drug is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500.
Under ARS 13-3407, you will face the following penalties for manufacturing dangerous drugs:
- Class 2 felony
- From 3 to 12.5 years in prison
- Up to $150,000 fine
If you are convicted of manufacturing or cultivating narcotic drugs under ARS 13-3408, you will face the following penalties:
- Class 2 felony
- From 3 to 12.5 years in prison
- Up to $150,000 fine
Potential Defenses to Drug Distribution or Manufacturing
The defenses that might be available to you will depend on the circumstances of your case. Some of the common drug crime defenses include the following:
- The drugs were not yours.
- You had no knowledge of the presence of the drugs.
- You had a valid permit or license to manufacture prescription drugs.
- The police violated your constitutional rights during the stop, search, or seizure.
- The police used an unreliable confidential informant.
- There was a breach in the chain of custody.
- The substance was not the drug the police claimed.
- The lab committed analytical errors.
- The police committed entrapment.
When you retain an experienced drug crimes lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta, PLLC, we will carefully analyze the evidence and police reports in your case.
This analysis can help us to identify problems in the state’s case against you and identify the most appropriate defenses to raise under the facts of your case.
What Can an Experienced Drug Crimes Attorney Do for You?
When you hire an experienced drug crimes lawyer, he or she will complete an independent investigation, gather evidence, and thoroughly examine every aspect of your case. Your attorney will interview witnesses and the arresting officer to gain insight into your case and determine whether or not there was probable cause to support your arrest.
The attorney will examine your charges, arrest, and the procedures that were used to see if they were properly followed. He or she will then look at the chain of custody to determine whether the drugs were handled and stored correctly.
If your attorney believes that the police violated your constitutional rights, he or she will file evidentiary motions to challenge the admissibility of some or all of the evidence against you.
If your attorney succeeds with this type of motion, the prosecutor might be forced to dismiss your charges or to offer you a plea agreement to a reduced charge or sentence.
Your lawyer will also identify the available defenses, prepare for your court hearings or trial, and help to guide you throughout the process.
When you are charged with manufacturing or distributing drugs, you should take your case seriously. A conviction could result in years in prison and other severe penalties. The first step that you should take is to schedule a consultation with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Get Help from the Drug Crimes Attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta, PLLC
The attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta, PLLC, have years of experience defending people charged with drug crimes, including serious felony drug offenses.
We understand the stakes involved when you are facing drug manufacturing or distribution charges and are prepared to fight for you. Our legal team can analyze the reports and evidence in your case and help you to understand the defenses and options that might be available.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at (602) 825-2500.
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