Phoenix Drug Possession Lawyer
Have you been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Arizona? If you are facing a drug possession charge, you probably have many questions:
- Are you afraid you will go to jail if you are convicted?
- What will happen if you go to trial and lose?
Possession of drugs – narcotic drugs, marijuana, and dangerous drugs, such as methamphetamine – can lead to serious consequences. However, because of certain propositions approved by Arizona voters, this does not always mean jail time. Arizona Revised Statute 13-901.01 is the law that governs and controls mandatory probation for certain drug offenses.
Under 13-901.01(A), first and second time drug offenders (with certain limitations) who are convicted of possession of marijuana or narcotic drugs, or certain dangerous drugs, receive mandatory probation at the time of sentencing. So whether you are convicted of possessing heroin or possessing marijuana, your criminal defense lawyer should explain to you that because you have no prior drug convictions and have not been convicted of an offense involving violence, physical injury, or the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, you are going to receive probation, even if you go to trial and lose.
Are there exceptions to mandatory probation your lawyer should tell you about? Indeed, there are. Under subsection (H)(4), in 2006 an amendment was passed to exclude possession of methamphetamine from mandatory probation under Prop 200. This means that for all drugs other than meth, mandatory probation applies for most first and second-time offenders.
Similarly, under subsection (B) of the same statute, violent offenses preclude one from being eligible for Prop 200. This means, for example, that if you have been charged and convicted of certain assault offenses, you will not be eligible for the protections of proposition 200.
Have you been charged with possession of illegal drugs? Does the charge include the possession of methamphetamine or the possession of cocaine? You’re probably scared right now . . .
Will I have to go to jail if I am convicted?
Generally, if you are convicted of an offense but protected under Prop 200, you will be required to complete either 24 hours of community service or eight hours of drug education or counseling. You will be required to pay a mandatory fine plus surcharges. In certain circumstances, the surcharges can be waived, but never the fine.
So why would Arizona, of all places, have such a lenient law? This law was made to help curb the overcrowding at our prisons. For decades, research has shown that incarceration is not a long-term solution to substance abuse, and that housing drug users and addicts is not a beneficial way to spend the public’s money. What if you have a long criminal history? It does not matter how long your history is. Whether you have no prior felony convictions or a hundred of them, as long as you have no violent convictions and no more than one prior drug strike, you are generally eligible for the protections of Prop 200.
A.R.S. 13-901.01 has many more intricacies. To see if you qualify for mandatory probation under this statute, contact the Law Offices of David A. Black today.