| Possession | Sale or Transport | DUI | Medical Marijuana |
In Arizona, criminal charges relating to the possession or use of Marijuana by an individual are defined under A.R.S. §13-3405(A)(1), which explicitly states “a person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana.” This statute intends to criminalize the personal possession or use of marijuana by an individual in Arizona. This is an important clarification to make, as possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia suggestive of marijuana sale carries more significant penalties. A volume of marijuana of two pounds is considered the threshold, above which it is considered likely for sale or distribution.
Arizona carries strict penalties regarding Marijuana. If you are arrested under A.R.S. §13-3405(A)(1) for possession or personal use of marijuana, you likely face felonious charges. Conviction of possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana is a class (6) felony. Individuals with no prior felony convictions face a period of incarceration up to 2 years in length. Those with prior felony convictions may face a period of incarceration up to 5.75 years.
As you can see, charges relating to personal possession or use of marijuana should not be taken lightly. In addition to significant jail time, a felony marijuana conviction may carry significant monetary fines and can impact your ability to obtain employment, qualify for student loans or even vote.
However, there are several routes by which you can minimize the effect of your arrest which can be thoroughly explained by any experienced possession attorney. Arizona Proposition 200 prohibits incarceration for first or second time nonviolent drug offenders, emphasizing probation and mandatory drug testing instead. In addition, a program called TASC involves a period of probation and substance abuse education, after which the charges against you will be dismissed entirely.
An experienced drug possession attorney can offer numerous ways to improve your situation following an arrest for possession or use of marijuana. A thorough review of the facts of your case can determine whether there were any constitutional violations surrounding your arrest. In addition, you may be able to assert a “lack of knowledge” because you did not know the drugs were in your possession. After determining eligibility and ensuring compliance with a TASC resolution, your lawyer for marijuana arrests may obtain dismissal for all charges. In addition, they can determine whether Proposition 200 prohibits incarceration.
As previously mentioned, the threshold amount of marijuana that distinguishes intent for personal use from sale or distribution is 2 pounds. This means that if you are arrested in possession of an amount of marijuana totaling 2 pounds or greater, you will likely face charges under A.R.S §13-3407(A)(2) and/or A.R.S §13-3407(A)(7). These statues criminalize the knowing possession or transport of marijuana for sale or distribution.
The possession or transport of marijuana for sale can be charged as a class 2 felony and carries harsher penalties upon conviction than similar charges deemed for personal use. This includes a period of incarceration ranging from probation only to 15 years or more depending on a number of factors, including prior offenses and the specific facts surrounding the arrest.
As with possession for personal use, there are numerous defenses against possession of marijuana for sale. A.R.S §13-3407(A)(2) and A.R.S §13-3407(A)(7) require a defendant knowingly possess or transport the marijuana in question. In many cases, the defendant was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and, having no knowledge of the drugs in question. An attorney experienced in defending against charges of drug transport and sale can review the facts of your case for possible defenses stemming from constitutional violations including Miranda rights violations and coercion.
Many people do not realize that DUI laws in Arizona are not limited to the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, driving under the influence of marijuana is a very serious crime. A person can be charges with driving under the influence if there is probable cause to believe they operated a motor vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree by marijuana. In addition, a person can be charged with marijuana DUI if they are found operating a vehicle with THC metabolites in bodily fluids.
These charges are described in A.R.S. §28-1381 which states that it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle “while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree” or “while there is any drug defined in section §13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.”
It is important to note that THC metabolites can be detected in a person’s bodily fluid for an extended period of time – often weeks past the exposure. This is much longer than the drug causes cognitive impairment. This “zero-tolerance” rule was recently upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you are likely facing incarceration, significant fines, and suspension of driving privileges.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal law attorney. With the recent adoption of medical marijuana in Arizona, these laws are constantly changing and it is therefore crucial to obtain an aggressive criminal defense based on the most current interpretations of the law in order to receive a positive outcome in your case.
Proposition 203, passed in 2010, provides legal framework for Arizona’s medical marijuana initiative. This voter-approved measure allows terminally and seriously ill patients to seek relief from their symptoms through the use of marijuana as approved by their doctor. It prevents the arrest and prosecution of such patients, allowing them to legally purchase and possess a controlled amount of marijuana as medication.
The adoption of medical marijuana in Arizona created a new area of criminal defense law stemming from arrests relating to medical marijuana. While several arrests have been made for the possession of marijuana in direct conflict to Proposition 203, these charges were ultimately dismissed. Instead, most medical marijuana arrests occur from other related circumstances.
In order to legally possess medical marijuana under Proposition 203, a patient must register as a patient through the Arizona Department of Health Services. Even if an individual carries an authentic prescription, they may still face charges relating to possession of marijuana if they have not registered as a patient. An experienced medical marijuana attorney can provide a strong defense against such charges.
In addition, Arizona currently has a “Zero-Tolerance” policy regarding driving with THC metabolites present in bodily fluids. This means medical marijuana patients may face charges of driving under the influence of marijuana even if not impaired at the time of driving. The good news is that these laws are currently under review and could change in the near future.
Finally, not all forms of marijuana are considered legal for medical marijuana patients to use or possess. Specifically, there has been some controversy regarding the sale and use of marijuana concentrates. This includes products such as marijuana-infused edibles and drinks, marijuana hash, concentrated THC crystals (keif), marijuana wax (earwax, budder), or distilled crystallized THC (shatter). It is important to consult with a medical marijuana attorney if charges with possession of marijuana concentrate.