Although some states have legalized the possession of marijuana for personal use, others continue to treat Possession of Marijuana as a felony offense. This is currently the state of the law in Arizona. Specifically, Arizona outlaws possession of marijuana unless you possess a valid medical marijuana card. If you have been charged with marijuana possession in Arizona, you face significant penalties. Initially, you will be prosecuted for a felony. Additionally, you can be placed on probation, ordered to pay fines, be required to serve jail time or even be sentenced to prison. Someone charged with transportation or sale of marijuana risks greater penalties. Particularly, the level of felony increases according to the amount of marijuana involved. Also, depending upon the weight of marijuana you are found in possession of, a sales or transportation of marijuana arrest and conviction can involve mandatory terms of imprisonment equaling five or more years for a first offense.
Obviously, anyone charged with a marijuana offense in Arizona is well advised to contact an experienced Arizona criminal and marijuana defense lawyer immediately. Attorney Raymond A. Kimble is a former police detective and felony prosecutor who has successfully defended individuals arrested for marijuana related offenses throughout Arizona for the last twenty years.
WHAT DEFENSES ARE AVAILABLE IN MARIJUANA CASES
Certainly, anyone charged with a marijuana crime in Arizona need not just throw themselves upon the mercy of the court. An experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer will be able to evaluate the evidence, recognize defense which apply to your case and use them to your advantage. Some common defense to a marijuana crime include:
- An Illegal Stop or Search - Police must have a valid reason to stop you whether you are simply walking on the street or driving a car. Also, once you are stopped, they can only search you, your car or home if it is done legally. This means they must have probable cause combined with some type of an emergency to search you, permission or consent from you or a warrant. If police have no lawful reason to stop you or searched you illegally, any evidence they obtained can be suppressed. I have had a number of cases where police did not follow proper procedures, thereby leading to the suppression of evidence and dismissal of charges.
- Invalid Search Warrant - Many marijuana cases, especially charges for possession, sale or cultivation of marijuana in Arizona are prosecuted based upon a search of a home, business or other structure by police. In these cases, police will usually obtain a warrant before searching the premises. Many steps could be taken to determine if the warrant obtained by police is valid. If the warrant is proven to be invalid, any evidence obtained during the search can be suppressed. There are a number of reasons a search warrant can be invalidated. These include:
- False, misleading or a lack of complete information in the warrant
- That the warrant was not served in a timely manner, or in other words, became stale
- That the information provided to support the warrant was unreliable
- That police exceeded the scope of the warrant during their search
- That the warrant lacked probable cause
3. Lack of Possession - In order to be convicted of marijuana possession in Arizona, the prosecutor must show that you knowingly or intentionally possessed the weed. There are two types of possession under the law. The first is Actual Possession where marijuana or another illegal substance is actually found on you such as in your pockets, residence, car, etc. Constructive Possession applies to cases where marijuana is located in a place you have control over but other people might be present as well. This might occur in a house or car where several people are present In either scenario, the Prosecutor must show that you knew the marijuana was present and you actually intended to possess or control it.
4. Legal Possession of Marijuana - Remember that Arizona has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. With a valid medical marijuana card, you can lawfully possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
Contact an Experienced Marijuana Defense Lawyer Now: (480) 833-8613
If you have been arrested or charged with any type of marijuana offense in Arizona, contact my office immediately. I have successfully defended hundreds of people throughout Arizona who have been charged with possession, sale or distribution of marijuana. I offer a free consultation, and am available at all hours.