What Are the Charges for a First-Time Drug Offense?
Posted By Salvador Phillips || Nov 14, 2018
People arrested for a drug offense in the state of Arizona might expect leniency for a first-time offense, but the laws for these charges are very strict. The punishment can range from probation and no time in jail to up to two years in prison. It is important to understand the severity of first-time drug offense charges, what is involved and the potential consequences. Cases not managed properly can result in unnecessary incarceration and even the loss of government aid and services.
Different Types of Drug Offenses and Intent
Drug charges usually begin with possession and intent to consume, distribute or manufacture a controlled substance. Arizona state law considers the type of drug involved in the charge, meaning the defendant can receive a more strict sentence. Some drug classifications include dangerous drugs, narcotic drugs, prescription drugs, imitation controlled substances, and even drug paraphernalia, and each carries a different felony classification.
Possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia is illegal and among the most common first-time drug offenses in the state. This type of charge involves the unlawful possession of drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamines and other controlled substances with the intent to consume. Possession of drug paraphernalia, which includes needles, pill bags, pipes, and bongs, with intent to advertise for, manufacture, grow or distribute a controlled substance is also illegal and can result in similar sentencing.
First-Time Drug Offense Charges in Arizona
Under Arizona law, most first-time drug offenses are typically classified as a class six (6) felony, which can result in probation and a sentence of up to one year in jail or a prison sentence of up to two years. Defendants may qualify under Arizona Proposition 200, which minimizes or eliminates the amount of time spent in prison. Passed in 1996 by Arizona voters, Prop 200 guarantees probation for most first-time offenders and offers the chance of treatment and drug rehabilitation. It is not applicable for first-time drug offenders with prior violent offenses.
Lastly, fines and time behind bars are not the only consequences that come with a first-time drug charge. A conviction can mean the removal of money or aid that the defendant is currently receiving from the government. Examples of this include state-funded scholarships, public housing benefits, welfare, educational waivers, and other subsidies.
Fighting a first-time drug charge is a serious matter, and drug crimes are one of the most common reasons for incarceration in the United States. The experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Salvador Phillips create personalized strategies for defending your case because we know that no two criminal cases are exactly alike. If you or a loved one were recently charged with a first-time drug charge, contact our office today for a free initial consultation to avoid unnecessary incarceration.
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