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Criminal Law Blog

A Look at Different Types of Drug Charges in AZ

November 5, 2021

Although most people understand that Arizona prosecutes drug crimes aggressively, it’s common for people to have misconceptions about the types of drug charges that can be filed in the state. This confusion has become even more common in the wake of the legalization of recreational marijuana, which itself comes with legal restrictions. Given the complexity of drug laws in the state and the potentially severe consequences of conviction, you need a defense attorney working on your case as soon as you have been arrested. Here is a closer look at some of the drug charges that can be filed in Arizona. 

Drug Categories

Arizona classifies drugs into different categories, and for each charge, the penalties vary depending on the category of drug. The three main categories are narcotic drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone, dangerous drugs, such as hallucinogens, methamphetamine, and steroids, and marijuana. Although marijuana is legal for recreational use in Arizona, residents are only allowed to have a maximum of one ounce or six plants. Having more than those amounts can result in criminal charges. 

Drug Distribution Charges

Drug transporting, trafficking, and distribution charges are among the most serious in Arizona. Possession with intent to distribute, distribution of drugs, and transportation of drugs all fall into this category. You can be charged with a distribution-related offense based on the amount of drugs in your possession, whether you had any distribution-related materials, like bags or scales, and if you were carrying a large amount of cash when arrested. Distribution charges are typically felonies. You may be charged with a distribution-related offense if you have:

  • 2+ pounds of marijuana
  • 9+ grams of methamphetamine
  • 8+ grams of cocaine or ¾ grams of crack cocaine
  • 1+ grams of heroin
  • ½ milliliter of LSD

Drug Possession Charges

Drug possession charges may be filed for lower amounts of drugs that are believed to be for personal use. Some drug possession charges may be misdemeanors, while others may be felonies, depending on the amount, type of drug, and prior convictions. Most first-time possession charges do not end in a custodial sentence. 

When you’ve been arrested for drugs, remember that there is no such thing as a minor charge. Janet Altschuler will fight for your rights at every step. As soon as you’re arrested, call our criminal defense attorney in Tucson at (520) 200-5003.

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