Phoenix Drug Possession Lawyer
Arizona makes it a criminal offense to possess controlled or illicit substances. If you are accused of drug possession for your own personal use you will risk severe penalties under the law. Having a qualified Phoenix drug possession attorney at your side throughout the legal process is extremely beneficial. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police detective and felony prosecutor who has successfully represented hundreds of clients charged with possession of prescription, narcotic and dangerous drugs throughout Arizona.
Arizona Drug Laws
Arizona lawmakers have enacted several statutes which define when the possession of a controlled substance arises to a criminal offense:
- Possession or Use of Prescription-Only Drugs - A person shall not knowingly possess or use a prescription-only drug unless the person obtains the prescription-only drug pursuant to a valid prescription of a prescriber who is licensed
- Possession or Use of Dangerous Drugs - A person shall not knowingly possess or use a dangerous drug. The most common types of dangerous drugs people in Arizona are charged with possessing include methamphetamine, ecstacy and LSD.
- Possession or Use of a Narcotic Drug - A person shall not knowingly possess or use a narcotic drug. The most common types of narcotic drugs people in Arizona are charged with possessing include cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body any illegal drug.
Types of Possession Offenses:
The State of Arizona treats criminal charges relating to drug possession very severely. However, to be convicted of a drug possession crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were either in actual, constructive or joint possession of the controlled substance. They must also prove that you were knowingly in possession of the drugs or drug paraphernalia and that you were aware the substance was illegal. There are three types of possession in Arizona which could result in possession of illegal drug charges:
- Actual Possession - This term means that you had the drug on your person.
- Constructive Possession - Refers to being in possession of illegal drugs, but not directly having them with you. Instead, the drugs are in an area where it is obvious that you are in control such as your vehicle, bedroom, etc.
- Joint Possession - Means that you knowingly share illegal substances with another person.
Penalties for Possession of Drugs:
Generally possession of illegal drugs, with the exception of drug paraphernalia is a Class 4 felony. This could result in severe penalties including years of probation, fines of up to $150,000 and between 1 and 3.75 years in prison. In certain cases, we will be able to negotiate a diversion program for clients in which they must complete drug education or counseling in exchange for a dismissal of the felony charge. Additionally, individuals who have no prior drug or violent offenses may be automatically eligible for probation under a recent Arizona law commonly known as Proposition 200.
Defenses to Drug Possession Crimes:
If you are charged with possession of prescription-only, dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs in Arizona a number of defenses may apply to your case. An experienced drug possession defense attorney such as Raymond Kimble can determine which defenses can be used to get the charges dismissed, negotiate the most favorable result or argued successfully at trial.
Common Defenses to Drug Possession Crimes Include:
- Unlawful Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to due process of law, including lawful search and seizure procedures prior to an arrest. Search and seizure issues are quite common in drug possession cases. If a person's Fourth Amendment rights were violated, then the drugs cannot be used at trial and the charges typically are dismissed.
- Drugs Belong to Someone Else
A common defense to any crime charge is to simply say you didn't do it. The drug possession equivalent is to claim the drugs aren't yours or that you had no idea they were present. A skilled defense attorney will pressure prosecutors to prove that marijuana found to his or her client and not someone else.
- Crime Lab Analysis
Just because it looks like an illegal drug doesn't mean it necessarily is. The prosecution must prove that a seized substance is indeed the illicit drug it claims it is by sending the evidence to a crime lab for analysis. The crime lab analyst then must testify at trial in order for the prosecution to make its case.
- Missing Drugs
A skilled attorney will make sure prosecutors are able to produce the actual drugs for which their client is being charged. Similar to the need for crime lab analysis, prosecutors who lose or otherwise lack the actual marijuana risk having their case dismissed. Seized marijuana often get transferred several times before ending up in the evidence locker, so it should never be assumed that the evidence still exists during trial.
- Drugs were Planted
This may be difficult to prove, since a police officer's sworn testimony carries a lot of weight in the courtroom. Furthermore, other officers may be reluctant to blow the whistle on a fellow officer. But your attorney can file a motion that, if approved by the judge, requires the department to release the personal or disciplinary file of the arresting officer. This file contains the names and contact of information of those who made complaints, who can then be interviewed by your attorney or a private investigator.
While law enforcement officials are free to set up sting operations, entrapment occurs when officers or informants induce a suspect to commit a crime he or she otherwise may not have committed. If an informant pressures a suspect into passing drugs to a third party, for example, then this may be considered entrapment. As a rule of thumb, entrapment occurs where the state provides the marijuana in question.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer: (480) 833-8613
If you have been charged with a drug possession crime , it is vital that you contact a highly skilled criminal lawyer immediately. Phoenix drug possession lawyer Raymond Kimble will recognize available defenses and has been defending people charged with drug possession offenses for many years. Mr. Kimble knows how to prepare a solid assault defense, challenge the prosecution's evidence and negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
With a seasoned Tempe criminal defense lawyer on your case, you will have your rights protected as your attorney fights to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. Attorney Raymond Kimble has successfully represented hundreds of individuals throughout Arizona over the last twenty years who have been charged with drug possession offenses.
Call (480) 833-8613 Today for a Free Consultation
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