People caught in possession of methamphetamine in Arizona face extremely tough sentences. The state has some of the strictest laws for meth possession in the nation on its statute books.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, manufactured drug. It is also known as meth, chalk, crystal or ice. The drug is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.
Possession of meth is taken very seriously. The drug was not included in reforms of sentencing for drugs offenses in Arizona in the 1990s.
In 1996, Arizona passed a law known as “Proposition 200.” The law benefitted many first-time drug offenders, convicted of a low-level offense like possession allowing them to receive probation and avoiding jail time.
Arizona enacted Proposition 301 in 2006 as part of the war on meth at a time when the drug was making its way across the Mexican border from so-called ‘super labs.’ The law means people charged with possession of methamphetamine face prison even as first time offenders. The ballot directly addressed the Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996 that allows probation for many people arrested for first and second offense drug possession. It exempted people charged with meth possession allowing them to be sentenced to a jail term for a first offense.
People who are convicted of meth possession can be imprisoned for a first offense. The drug was not included in the reforms because meth labs were appearing across Arizona and legislators were concerned about the drug. Arizona’s approach to meth is consistent with many other states that take a hard line with users and distributors of this highly addictive drug.
People who are charged with meth offenses may also be linked to associated crimes. It’s not unusual for people who are charged with possession of the drug to be driving under its influence or carrying drug paraphernalia like pipes or firearms.
Meth is classified under Arizona law as a “dangerous drug.” If you are caught in possession of a dangerous drug for personal use, you will be charged with a Class 4 Felony. A Class 4 felony carries a potential prison term up to 3.75 years.
The courts consider motions for first time drug possession to have their charge reduced to a class 1 misdemeanor carrying a probation term unless the drug involved is methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, amphetamine or phencyclidine, according to state law.
People convicted of a first offense of possession of meth for sale, equipment or chemicals to make meth, manufacture of the drug or transportation or importation face a minimum of five years in prison, a presumptive sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 15.
Defendants charged with these offenses on a second occasion face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a presumptive sentence of 15 years, and a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Arizona’s criminal justice system can be unforgiving for drug offenses. Often people who suffer from mental illnesses are also drug dependent.
You should take methamphetamine possession charges seriously in Arizona. Call our experienced criminal defense team as soon as possible at (602) 340-1999.