Arizona Drug Sales Lawyers
Arizona Drug Sales Lawyers
Drug crimes involving the unlawful sale and distribution of controlled substances carry severe penalties in Arizona. An experienced drug crimes defense attorney can help defendants fight the charges and seek the most favorable outcome possible. This article provides an overview of Arizona drug sales laws and how a knowledgeable lawyer can defend clients facing prosecution.
Overview of Arizona Drug Sales Laws
Arizona has strict laws prohibiting the sale, transportation, importation, administration, and transfer of illegal drugs. The state categorizes controlled substances into five schedules based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. Schedule I drugs like heroin and ecstasy have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Schedule II drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine also have a high abuse potential but have some medical uses. Schedules III-V include drugs with decreasing abuse potential like prescription sedatives, stimulants and painkillers.The sale or transportation of any amount of a Schedule I or II drug is a felony offense in Arizona. The penalties depend on the type and amount of the drug involved. Sale of narcotic drugs like heroin and cocaine entails more severe sentences than sale of drugs like methamphetamine and ecstasy. The sale or transportation of Schedule III, IV or V drugs is a felony if the defendant knew the substance was intended for sale. The unauthorized sale of prescription medications is illegal even if sold by a licensed pharmacist or medical practitioner.
In addition to the drug type and amount, several other factors can increase potential penalties for Arizona drug sales crimes. These include:
- Sale to a minor under age 18
- Sale within 1,000 feet of a school, church, public housing or other designated public facilities
- Involving a minor under age 15 in the offense
- Sale while in possession of a firearm
- Prior felony drug conviction
An experienced criminal defense attorney can employ various strategies to fight Arizona drug sales charges and seek the best possible outcome for the accused:
- Invalid search: Evidence from an illegal search or seizure cannot be used at trial. An attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence if there were issues with the search warrant or police lacked probable cause for a warrantless search.
- Entrapment: Police cannot induce someone to commit a crime they were not otherwise predisposed to commit. A lawyer may argue the undercover sale was entrapment.
- Misidentification: Eyewitness misidentification is a common cause of wrongful convictions. An attorney can challenge identification evidence used to charge the defendant.
- Chain of custody: The prosecution must prove proper collection, storage and handling of drug evidence. Any gaps in the chain of custody can raise doubts about the integrity of the evidence.
- Insufficient evidence: The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. A lack of direct evidence tying the defendant to the alleged sale may lead to an acquittal.
For defendants convicted of drug sales charges, an attorney can present mitigating evidence at sentencing to advocate for less jail time. Mitigating factors may include:
- Minimal criminal history
- Gainful employment
- Family commitments
- Drug addiction and willingness to undergo treatment
- Peripheral involvement in the offense
- Cooperation with the prosecution
Judges have discretion to consider mitigating circumstances and impose a more lenient sentence than the statutory minimums. This can involve probation, reduced incarceration, work release, community service and rehabilitation programs.
Finding an Arizona Drug Crimes Lawyer
Drug charges can carry devastating penalties that disrupt lives and livelihoods. An experienced Arizona drug crimes defense lawyer understands the complex laws and possible defenses. They can thoroughly examine the prosecution’s evidence, raise doubts regarding culpability, negotiate with the district attorney and advocate for the best possible outcome at trial or sentencing. Those facing drug sales charges in Arizona should retain skilled legal counsel to protect their rights and future.