The Laws and Penalties for Possession or Use of a Dangerous Drug or Narcotic in Arizona

Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes, ARS 13-3407 and ARS 13-3408, an individual is prohibited from knowingly possessing or using any dangerous drug as defined by these statutes.

In the most basic sense, in the state of Arizona, a dangerous drug is one that is any type of narcotic or controlled substance. Importantly, according to the laws that define “dangerous drugs” in Arizona, cannabis (marijuana) is not included. 

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Types of Dangerous Drugs and Illegal Narcotics

While certain dangerous drugs are legal to possess, many are not. Moreover, even some of the drugs listed below can get you in trouble, even with a prescription from a doctor.

In this article, we will discuss which narcotics have been deemed dangerous drugs according to Arizona laws, and if you have been charged with a crime of possession of dangerous drugs or possession of narcotics, how an Arizona drug crimes lawyer can fight for you.

Some, but not all of the drugs delineated in Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3407 include: 

  • Fentanyl
  • Cocaine 
  • Methamphetamine 
  • Amphetamines 
  • Heroin
  • Opium
  • MDMA or Ecstasy (sometimes referred to as molly, X, E, or XTC)
  • Hallucinogenic drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD (also known as acid) 
  • GHB (sometimes referred to as a date rape drug)
  • Mescaline
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Any drug in the benzodiazepine class, including: 
    • Alprazolam (Xanax)
    • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Certain other prescription medications that are not prescribed to you
  • All opioid medications, including: 
    • Codeine Hydrocodone (Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
    • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone, Xtampza)
    • Fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Lazanda, Subsys)
    • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin)
    • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
    • Oxymorphone (Opana, Opana ER)
    • Demerol 

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Penalties for the Possession of a Dangerous Drug or Possession or Use of a Narcotic Drug in Arizona 

In the state of Arizona, violating the laws associated with ARS 13-3407 and/or ARS 13-3408 is a class 4 felony unless the person convicted of the crime has no felony history, in which case the criminal court judge has the option to classify the dangerous drug possession or use as a class 1 misdemeanor instead. 

Felony Drug Possession

Probation-Only Sentencing for Dangerous Drug Possession and/or Use in Arizona: Proposition 200 

In some instances, the individual charged and convicted of possession and/or use of a dangerous drug in Arizona may qualify for what is known as “probation only” sentencing. This means s/he was found in possession of a dangerous drug for only his or her first or second time, and this makes the defendant eligible to avoid sentencing that includes jail or prison time but only in instances where the dangerous drug was not methamphetamine, which keeps the defendant from being eligible for the probation-only provisions of Prop 200 in Arizona.

If you qualify under Prop 200 for probation-only sentencing, you must be careful not to fail probation.

This could mean anything from not showing up to your designated court dates to failing a drug screen urine test or failing to meet with your probation officer. In instances where defendants fail probation, they will have to wait in jail while the judge decides whether or not to reinstate their probation and determines the new terms of that probation. 

This could mean a period of between two and four weeks in jail before being re-released on probation again.

And, in some cases, for those found to be violating their probation after being found guilty of possessing a dangerous drug, the judge in your case may opt to change your sentence to jail time of up to six months. 

However, if you have been found guilty of dangerous drug possession and are awaiting a decision from the court after violating probation, the Law Office of Daniel Hutto can help you fight for what is known as a TASC, or Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities probation. In this option, you will spend between one and two years engaging in everything from group therapy to self-help meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and attend one three-hour course about drug and alcohol abuse that can give you the tools to avoid the same criminal situations again. 

Charged with Drug Possession in Arizona

Finally, during the course of your TASC enrollment, you will have to adhere to a once-monthly random urine drug test over the course of the 12 to 24 months you are assigned to TASC probation. While the fees for TASC can range from $2,000 to $2,500 for the entire one to two-year period, it’s a far better option than being in jail or prison.

With the right criminal defense attorney at your side, getting into a TASC program — and staying on track all the way through — is imminently possible. With your commitment to the program and our aggressive defense, you will end your TASC probation program with a clean record and a complete dismissal of all charges associated with your dangerous drug possession or use conviction(s).

Sentencing for Dangerous Drug Possession for Those Who Are Not TASC Eligible 

If the dangerous drug you were found in possession of was methamphetamine, or if for any other reason you are not eligible for the Adult Deferred Prosecution Program that runs TASC, sentencing for the possession and/or use of a dangerous drug can range quite a bit based on whether or not the number of drugs found was under, at, or above the statutory threshold amount. 

Some of the sentencing guidelines for the possession or use of a dangerous drug are as follows: 

  • For first-time offenders with no prior felony history, sentencing can be between 0 days up to 1 year in jail or between a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 3 years in prison. 
  • For defendants with one prior felony conviction, the courts will likely not allow or offer jail, and prison sentencing will be a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 7.5 years. 
  • For those with two prior felony convictions in addition to the new class 4 felony of dangerous drug possession or use, jail time will not be offered, and the time in prison ranges from a minimum of 6 up to a maximum of 15 years.

A Criminal Defense Attorney in Phoenix You Can Trust to Defend You Aggressively for Dangerous Drug Possession Charges

Suppose you or a loved one has been charged with the possession or use of a dangerous drug in Arizona. In that case, you need a highly qualified Phoenix criminal defense attorney who understands the statutes that define the statutory threshold amounts, the sentencing, and the potential characteristics that may make you eligible for TASC under Prop 200. 

At the Law Office of Daniel Hutto, we understand these statutes and all they entail, and we also understand that this is a scary time for you and your family. We will work hard to investigate every aspect of your case, use expert witnesses, and do whatever it takes to ensure justice is served for you and your family. 

Give us a call today to begin the process of building your defense with our absolutely free legal consultation with a deeply experienced drug possession lawyer who can begin to guide you through the process of winning your case. Dial 602.536.7878 to get started right away.

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