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Drug Possession Attorney in Scottsdale

In Scottsdale, Arizona, possessing or using illegal drugs is a crime. Drug possession crimes can carry penalties based on the drug type, quantity, and the defendant's criminal history. This includes substances classified as narcotics, dangerous drugs, and marijuana, with potential consequences ranging from probation to significant fines and incarceration. When you are facing such charges, immediate legal representation is crucial.

If you have been charged with a drug possession crime in Scottsdale, AZ, it's crucial that you contact an attorney at The Nava Law Firm. When you hire our firm, you'll work with a team well-versed in Arizona's drug laws who can provide an effective defense strategy to pursue justice in the outcome of your case. Services can include challenging the evidence, questioning the legality of the search or seizure, negotiating plea deals, or representation at trial. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Arizona Drug Possession Classifications

In Arizona, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are divided into six distinct categories: narcotic drugs, substances that emit toxic vapors, peyote, marijuana, prescription drugs, and dangerous drugs. Each category covers a different set of substances and carries its own legal considerations and potential penalties under Arizona law.

  1. Narcotic Drugs: This class includes substances like heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, and morphine. Possession of any of these without a valid prescription is a serious offense, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.
  1. Substances That Emit Toxic Vapors: This group covers substances such as aerosols, nitrous oxide, and certain types of glue, which may be abused by inhaling or "huffing" their fumes. While these substances may be legal to purchase for their intended uses, it's illegal to use them to get high.
  1. Peyote: This is a type of cactus that contains the hallucinogen mescaline. It's generally illegal to possess peyote, but Arizona law does provide exemptions for its use in certain Native American religious ceremonies.
  1. Marijuana: While recreational marijuana use is legal in Arizona for adults 21 and over as of November 2020, there are still regulations and restrictions regarding its possession, distribution, and cultivation. Violating these can result in criminal charges.
  1. Prescription Drugs: Possessing prescription drugs without a valid prescription is illegal. This includes drugs like Xanax, Adderall, and codeine. Additionally, it's illegal to distribute or sell these drugs without appropriate licensing.
  1. Dangerous Drugs: This is a broad category that includes substances such as LSD, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and certain types of mushrooms that contain psilocybin.

To charge a person with possession of a narcotic, the prosecution must prove three key elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The person knowingly possessed the substance.
  2. The substance they possessed is a narcotic drug.
  3. The accused knew or should have known that the substance was a narcotic drug.

The burden of proof falls on the prosecution to establish all three of these elements. This often requires detailed evidence, including lab tests to confirm the substance is a narcotic and sometimes testimony from a scientist or other expert to validate the test results.

Arizona law sets certain threshold amounts for different drugs. If a person is found in possession of a quantity exceeding this threshold, they may face charges of intent to distribute, even if it's their first offense and no evidence exists of actual sales. Threshold amounts vary depending on the drug involved. If convicted under these circumstances, the offender faces a mandatory prison term. The concept behind this is that possession of such significant amounts of a controlled substance implies an intent to distribute it rather than merely using it for personal consumption.

Given the severity of these laws, individuals accused of drug possession in Arizona should seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney who can help them navigate the complex legal system, understand the charges they're facing, and explore potential defenses.

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Drug Possession Threshold Amounts in Arizona

In Arizona, 'threshold amounts' are key elements in drug laws. These quantities of drugs trigger mandatory prison sentences if exceeded, even for first-time offenders. The thresholds are outlined in ARS Section 13-3401:

  • Heroin: 1 gram
  • Cocaine: 9 grams (or 750 milligrams in another form)
  • PCP (Phencyclidine): 4 grams or 50 milliliters
  • Methamphetamine: 9 grams
  • Amphetamine: 9 grams
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): 0.5 milliliter
  • Marijuana: 2 pounds

Convictions involving amounts that meet or exceed these thresholds result in mandatory prison time, with harsher sentences for larger quantities, implying intent to sell, transport, or distribute.

Key defense strategies involve understanding and arguing the implications of these threshold amounts. Successfully challenging the threshold can:

  • Prevent mandatory prison sentences
  • Lead to reduced charges or lesser sentences
  • Achieve more favorable outcomes in your criminal case

Hiring an experienced drug defense lawyer familiar with Arizona's threshold amounts and criminal justice system can maximize your chances for a favorable outcome.

What are the Penalties for Drug Possession in Arizona?

In Arizona, drug possession is a serious crime, but possession with intent to distribute, sell, or transport is considered even more severe. This is due to the potential for widespread harm, impacting multiple users and potentially creating new addicts.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-3408, here are the penalties for the following crimes:

  • Simple Drug Possession: Class 4 felony with a maximum jail time of 2.5 years.
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute: Class 2 felony, carrying up to five years in jail and/or at least $750 in fines.

This elevation in crime classification leads to a proportional increase in potential penalties. Therefore, securing an experienced criminal defense lawyer becomes crucial. The services they provide include:

  • Analyzing Case Details: Scrutinizing the specifics of the case.
  • Challenging Evidence: Questioning the prosecution's evidence.
  • Examining Search Validity: Investigating the legitimacy of the Search and Seizure.
  • Arguing Against Allegations: Countering allegations of intent to sell or distribute.

The aim is to reduce the charges from intent to distribute to simple possession or even less serious charges, which directly impact potential penalties. Legal action is critical when facing drug-related charges in Arizona.

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Contact An Arizona Drug Possession Attorney in Scottsdale

If you have been charged with drug possession in Scottsdale, AZ, please contact the Nava Law Firm. When you partner with the Nava Law Firm, you'll have an accommodating, communicative, and determined attorney. We will use our years of experience defending against drug possession allegations to build a solid defense and protect your rights.

Our firm primarily serves the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and other areas around Arizona. If you are in need of an experienced Criminal Defense attorney in Maricopa County, please contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.

Our Case Results

Second Time DUI

Woman was charged with her second DUI within 7 years after being involved in a collision in Scottsdale. Through our investigation, we found multiple mistakes made by the arresting officer. These errors were used to get the prosecution to reduce the alleged offense to a charge with no jail time. Result: Charge Reduced w/ No Jail.

Drug DUI

A man was pulled over by Salt River Police Department while visiting from out of town. Despite showing no signs of impairment, the officers arrested him and charged him with DUI Drugs. We investigated the case heavily and interviewed every officer involved. Ultimately, a motion to suppress was filed and granted after an evidentiary hearing before a Judge. Result: Case Dismissed.

Aggravated Assault

A man was charged with attacking a family with a knife. After reviewing the evidence, it was determined that the instrument used was not a knife at all. The Grand Jury had been misled, so we filed a motion challenging the grand jury presentation. The prosecutor, confronted with the truth, agreed to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor with no jail time. Result: Charge Reduced to a Misdemeanor.


A man was out on a walk and was stopped by police because he was in the area of an attempted vehicle theft. The man maintained his innocence, but the owner of the truck identified him as the man he saw attempt to steal it. We worked tirelessly to prepare a defense and get the prosecution to see reason. The State wouldn’t budge, so the case went to trial. Result: Not Guilty After Jury Trial

Resisting Arrest

A client was charged with resist arrest after being targeted by police during the protests of Summer 2020. Our firm developed a strategy with activists and members of the media that led to a dismissal of our client’s case and, eventually, all cases connected to the political prosecution of the protesters. Result: Case Dismissed.

Domestic Violence

A woman and her boyfriend were arguing over the cleaning of their apartment. The police were called after things escalated and the woman was arrested. The Mesa City Prosecutors originally wanted the woman to do jail time. After working the case and providing background information, we were able to get the prosecutor to allow the woman to complete classes in exchange for a dismissal. Result: Case Dismissed After Diversion.


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Legal Disclaimer:

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Many factors contribute to providing legal advice, including the specific facts of a situation. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Armando Nava 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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1641 E. Osborn Rd, #8A
Phoenix, Arizona, 85016
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