In Arizona, drug possession laws are serious, and criminal charges are prosecuted with a heavy hand. Simple possession isn’t as big a deal or as penalized as trafficking offenses but they are serious nonetheless. You could be facing prison time, not to mention a permanent criminal record and tarnished reputation for something as simple as possession of a small amount of cocaine or oxycodone not authorized to you. When the odds are stacked against you, you need a local defense lawyer who knows the local system and any available opportunities for sentencing alternatives.

Below you’ll find a basic summary of Arizona drug possession laws and potential penalties. However, to determine exactly what sort of consequences you are facing for your particular case and circumstances, consulting with an Arizona drug lawyer is crucial. Contact us to be put in touch with a local lawyer today.

Arizona Drug Classifications

The charge and potential penalty you face for an Arizona drug possession charge depends on the type of drug in question. The state has a very clear way of designating the different drugs and then prescribing specific penalties for those designations. Under Arizona law, a controlled substance is one of the following:

  1. Dangerous Drugs
  2. Narcotics
  3. Marijuana

Possession of Dangerous Drugs

Dangerous drugs include methamphetamines, LSD, steroids, psilocybic mushrooms, mescalin, GHB, ecstasy, clonazepam, and more. If you are charged with possession of dangerous drugs, you will face Class 1 Misdemeanor charges, up to 6 months in jail and fines reaching $2,500.

Ref: §ARS 13-3407

Possession of Narcotics

Under Arizona law, you could be charged with possession of narcotics if you are found with cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, morphine, opium, and more. This is considered a Class 5 Felony charge and carries with it a potential 18 month prison sentence.

Ref: §ARS 13-3408

Possession of Marijuana

Interestingly, marijuana laws in Arizona are almost more complex than those drugs considered more addictive and dangerous. Possession of less than 2 pounds is considered a Class 6 felony and carries a potential year in prison. For additional information on marijuana charges and penalties, see our Arizona marijuana possession laws page.

Arizona Drug Possession Laws – Sentencing and Penalties

Deferred Prosecution

When you are charged with possession of a controlled substance, you could qualify for something called deferred prosecution. This is an effort by the state to keep people out of jail and to give them a second chance. It isn’t available under all circumstances, but if this is your first offense you may be eligible.

Deferred prosecution means just what it sounds like, the state will hold off on prosecuting you while you participate in a probationary term. During this probation you may be required to undergo treatment, have random drug tests, and attend classes. If you are successful, the criminal charges are dropped. If you violate the terms (or rules) of your probation, however, you could be prosecuted on those original charges and face the penalties prescribed by law.

When you are charged with drug possession, all hope is not lost.

An Arizona defense lawyer can assist you in determining what action to take and how to ensure you receive fair treatment during your court proceedings. Our primary concern is your best interests.