DRUG SALES LAWYERS IN ARIZONA
DISTRIBUTION AND PERSONAL USE POSSESSION CHARGES
If a person is charged in the State of Arizona with with Drug Sales, Distribution or Trafficking, they will be subject to some of the harshest penalties in the nation. These penalties include stiff fines (that may be calculated on the value of the drugs possessed), and substantial incarceration time. The severity of drugs sales or possession with intent to sell charges depends largely on the quantity found in a person’s possession.
It is illegal under Arizona law to knowingly sell, or transfer drugs, as well as possess drugs for sale. “Sale” and “transfer” in Arizona does not require money to be exchanged. Rather, a person could be charged with a Sales offense if they merely give drugs away to someone. In addition, in a possession of drugs for sale case, the amount may be governed by a statutory threshold amount which the State may argue merely possessing that amount is indicative of sales, Or, it may depend on an analysis of a number of facts that may indicate possession for sale versus possession for personal use.
No matter how the State charges the case, the burden is on the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was in possession (actual or constructive possession, which is a factual determination) of the drugs, and that a step was taken to sell or transfer drugs to another person. How these cases are charged, and even what the sentencing ranges are on them is dependent upon what type of drug is involved. There are many Arizona drug statutes prohibiting the sale, transfer, or possession of several different types of substances.
Arizona statutes governing the unlawful possession, sale, or transfer of drugs are as follows:
- A.R.S. 13-3405 governs the Possession, Use, Production, Sale or Transportation of Marijuana.
- A.R.S. 13-3407 governs the Possession, Use, Sale or Transportation of Dangerous Drugs. This type of offense generally involves the possession or sale of methamphetamine. This legislature has made the ramifications for possessing methamphetamine for sale and for personal use more severe than other drug possession and sales cases. This is a drug offense where jail may be imposed for a first-time offender who possessed merely a personal use amount.
- A.R.S. 13-3408 governs the Possession, Use, Sale or Transportation of Narcotic Drugs. These types of offenses generally involve the possession or sale of cocaine or heroin, among other drugs.
After an arrest is made by law enforcement, the State will prosecute the case. In prosecuting these offenses, the State considers numerous factors in determining how they will treat an individual charged. Factors the State considers are: (1) Type and quantity of drug in the person’s possession; (2) Does the person have any prior convictions for any other type of crime; (3) Does the person have any prior drug convictions; (4) How strong the State’s case is against the person; (5) were other factors involved? Possession or sale in a school zone? Was a weapon used, threatened to be used, or possessed.
DEFENSES AVAILABLE FOR DRUG SALES OR POSSESSION CHARGES
Despite a drug being found in a person’s possession, and charged by the State, does not make that person automatically guilty. Every case requires a thorough review of the facts and procedures law enforcement utilized in obtaining evidence.
Many defenses can be raised and utilized, and many defenses depend upon the circumstances surrounding the arrest. A key to successfully defending against these allegations is the early retention of a competent defense attorney. A seasoned attorney with experience in dealing specifically with Arizona Drug Sales and Possession should review the case and identify possible issues that could be raised.
An initial issue is determining how the State obtained the evidence that is going to be used against a person. An experienced attorney must thoroughly evaluate the evidence to determine whether or not there are any constitutional violations, such as violations of the 4th Amendment (search and seizure issues, or contesting the probable cause in a search warrant), or violations of the 5th and 6th Amendments, such as Miranda violations, or whether law enforcement voluntarily obtained consent or a statement from an individual (challenging a statement or confession–However, the best practice is to always assert your right to remain silent). If the State cannot prove that their action was constitutional, the exclusionary rule will suppress pieces of evidence, or statements from a suspect as a result. There are many nuances in this area of the law, and it is in the person’s best interest to contact an attorney in Arizona experienced in these specific matters that these issues are generally raised in.
In addition to analyzing how the State collected and seized the evidence, a seasoned Arizona attorney may be able to challenge the evidence beyond the collection and seizure of it. For example, an experienced attorney may be able to identify facts, issues and witness biases that may show a person was not actually knowingly possessing a drug. Or, that a witness against the person has motives to point the finger at the person or has motives to lie.
It is imperative to consult with and retain an Arizona attorney experienced in handling these matters. It is important to discuss what that attorney will be doing on your case, and to feel comfortable that the attorney has the requisite knowledge and skill to handle the case. A good private practice criminal defense attorney who defends cases in Arizona will know what to do to investigate the case. An attorney handling these cases will gather and examine evidence; conduct their own independent investigation; interview witnesses (when appropriate), especially the police officer or detective heading up the investigation. The attorney will gather all of this information to determine if there was “probable cause” for the arrest, and also evaluate if proper procedure was followed in the investigation and collection and seizure of evidence. Moreover, an attorney may likely seek the services of an expert witness to assist in the evaluation of the facts and evidence.
It is in a person’s best interest to immediately seek out the advice of a seasoned and experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney who has had experience in dealing with these allegations, offenses, investigations, and law. Attorney Jeremy Huss at Oliverson & Huss is a former prosecutor that has nearly 20 years’ experience working in the trenches of the Arizona criminal justice system. Mr. Huss has the knowledge and experience to navigate a person through the system that has been charged with these serious offenses. Mr. Huss will conduct a comprehensive investigation of your matter. If possible, Mr. Huss will attempt to get the charges partially or completely dismissed. If this is not possible, Mr. Huss will work to negotiate a lesser charge, or a lesser sentence based on the person’s case and individual background. Mr. Huss has a unique perspective as a nearly 13-year former prosecutor, and he uses that experience to put a client in the best possible position to resolve the case favorably, whether that be through a trial, plea, or dismissal.
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