Methamphetamine Charges in Arizona
Arizona has been one of the hardest hit states by the methamphetamine epidemic sweeping across the nation. Our close proximity to Mexico, which is a major producer of this dangerous drug, has resulted in Arizona lawmakers taking severe measures to combat the trafficking and use of methamphetamine (or meth) by citizens of the state.
A.R.S. 13-3401 (xvii) classifies meth as a “dangerous drug.” Because of this classification, being caught in possession of meth whether for personal use or sale is at minimum a class 4 felony. If you find yourself arrested on methamphetamine charges, you should immediately seek out a competent, aggressive defense attorney to fight for your rights.
Penalties for Meth Crimes
Under A.R.S. 13-3407, it is illegal to knowingly possess, use, acquire, sell, manufacture, or transport meth in Arizona. If you are a first time offender who is caught in possession of meth in Arizona for your own personal use, you will be facing:
- A class 4 felony charge for any amount up to 9 grams, which is the threshold amount. This includes facing a sentence of between 1.5 and 3.75 years in prison.
If you are a first time offender who is caught in possession of meth in Arizona with the intent to sell, manufacture or transport it, you will be facing:
- A class 2 felony charge, including a sentence of up to 12.5 years in prison
If you are a first time offender who is caught manufacturing meth in Arizona, you will be facing:
- A class 2 felony charge that includes a sentence of up to 12.5 years in prison. This charge also applies to anyone caught with the equipment and chemicals to manufacture meth, even if no refined meth is present (A.R.S. 13-3404.01).
You will also be facing fines up to $150,000 under the maximum allowable penalty for each felony conviction plus surcharges. However, because meth is considered a dangerous drug, this amount can increase if a judge warrants a stiffer financial penalty.
- Additionally, you might be ordered to attend drug rehabilitation or counseling. If you are, you may be responsible for reimbursing the costs of your treatment.
Although treatment and diversion programs do apply to some first time offenders of drug crimes in Arizona, the passage of Prop 301 in 2006 has made jail or prison time a standard practice for many first time methamphetamine charges. Therefore, if you happen to be arrested for possession, no matter the severity, it is important to consult an attorney immediately.
Considerations for Meth Crime Sentencing in Arizona
If you are found guilty of any meth crime in Arizona, a judge will take the following factors into consideration when deciding your sentence:
- Your prior drug offenses
- Your prior criminal record not relating directly to drugs
- Whether or not you were possessing for personal use or sale
- Whether or not you possessed more than the nine gram threshold
- Whether any mitigated or aggravated factors are present in your case
Based on a combination of these factors, along with the severity of the charges you are currently facing:
- You could face up to 12.5 years in prison for manufacture, sale and/or transport if aggravated factors exist
- You could face 8.7 years in jail for possession of equipment and substances to manufacture meth if aggravated factors exist
- You could face 3.7 years in jail for personal possession that doesn’t exceed the threshold amount of nine grams if aggravated factors exist
Repeat offenders, especially those caught making, selling or transporting meth in Arizona, can face sentences of up to 20 years in prison. And of course, if you possess any amount over the nine-gram threshold, your sentence can increase significantly.
Trust Laboy Law Phoenix Arizona Defense Attorney
It is essential to consult a Phoenix Arizona defense attorney with proven experience defending methamphetamine charges of all severities. We will not stop fighting for your rights, by making sure that every possible legal option and defense strategy is available to you. If you are facing any kind of methamphetamine charges in Arizona, contact us today for a private, no obligation consultation at 602-777-3368.