Drug Possession Lawyer in Phoenix
Although the State is coming around in learning to treat drug offenders with a modicum of compassion, Arizona State law still takes drug possession charges very seriously. Possession of narcotics, for example, is a class 4 felony (A.R.S. 13-3408), as is possession of a “dangerous drug,” (including LSD, ecstasy, and others). Possession of just a small amount of marijuana, legal for medical use in Arizona, and for recreational use in some other states, is a felony. And even if you don’t spend any time in jail, are convicted of a misdemeanor, and are sentenced to probation, the conviction itself can obviously impact your career have other collateral consequences.
For this reason, it is important to hire an experienced Phoenix drug possession lawyer, and find out if there are potential defenses to the charges against you. Call the Law Offices of David A. Black today for a free consultation. We defend people charged with drug crimes, and we can help.
Defenses to Drug Possession Charges
Before concerning yourself about the outcome if you are convicted on a drug possession charge, we look at the case against you. Is it strong or weak? Is it based on testimony from a “confidential informant”? Was there a warrantless search? Were the drugs allegedly in your possession at the time? These are the types of issues we’ll examine as we proceed to formulate a defense to the drug possession charge you’re facing.
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 . . .
Here are some of the possible defenses that may be raised successfully in a drug possession case:
- Unlawful Search and Seizure. The police are not free to search either you, your vehicle, your home or your business at their sole discretion. Unlawful searches and seizures are prohibited under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and generally, the result of an illegal search is that any evidence discovered cannot be used against you in court. It’s as if that evidence did not exist. A warrantless search based on nothing more than a hunch, a search rooted in racial profiling, and similar behavior can lead to the evidence being thrown out in court, and to a dismissal of the charges against you.
- Crime Lab Evidence. You don’t get convicted of possession of cocaine because someone testifies that a substance looks like coke. The prosecutor must have evidence that the substance is what they say it is, and this usually involves evidence from a crime lab, and testimony by a crime lab technician. That evidence can be attacked. In the various crime labs in Arizona and elsewhere, for example, there have been cases thrown out because of malfunctioning crime lab equipment, the disposing of evidence due to negligence, technicians falsifying evidence, commingling evidence, undertrained staff, mislabeling of evidence, having a non-scientist cop making technical decisions in the lab, failure to clean instruments between testing, and the list goes on. The upshot is that crime lab evidence – including the identification of the substance that forms the basis for the charge against you – can be successfully challenged.
- Entrapment. Many drug arrests are the result of sting operations created and carried out by the police. Entrapment may be a defense to a possession charge where the cops induce a person to engage in behavior – in this case drug possession – that the person would not otherwise have engaged in. The line between a legitimate sting operation and entrapment can be difficult to spot. But when the police supply the drugs involved, that’s a clear tip-off that entrapment is a possible defense.
- Police Misconduct. There are many actions by the police, in addition to illegal searches and entrapment, that can provide a defense in a drug possession case. There are documented cases in which the police have planted drug evidence and then used it as the basis for a prosecution. In other cases, “anonymous tips” have been fabricated by the police to justify a warrantless search. And in still others, false and coerced confessions have been thrown out after review by a court.
These examples underscore the fact that just because you’ve been charged with possession of narcotics or other drugs, it does not mean that a conviction is guaranteed. We are experienced at spotting weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, and we will take advantage of those weaknesses in your case.
Probation or Jail?
The laws are changing, and even in Arizona, which has some of the more Draconian drug statutes in the country, a drug possession conviction often means that you will be sentenced to probation and not have to do jail time. While this is not a guarantee – your prior criminal history, the volume of drugs involved, and other factors are involved –A.R.S. 13-901.01 provides for mandatory probation for most first- and second-time drug offenders convicted of drug possession. The law does not apply to all drugs (methamphetamine, for example, is excluded), and violent offenders are likewise excluded. On the other hand, most simple drug possession convictions should lead to a sentence of probation.
Phoenix Drug Possession Defense Attorney
If you are facing a drug possession charge, there is hope. There may be defenses that will provide opportunities for a dismissal, a reduced charge or a not guilty verdict. But to take advantage of those defenses, you need the right criminal defense lawyer on your side. Call the Law Offices of David A. Black today and see how we can help. Your initial consultation is free.