Drug Charges and Penalties in Arizona

drug charges and penaltiesYou went over to a friend’s house and were coming home that evening when the police pulled you over. Turns out, you had a taillight burnt out. If you had known that, you probably would not have had that ounce of pot in your pocket.

As it turns out, the officer smells the drug even though you have not been smoking. When he asks about it, you decide not to lie and tell him that you do indeed have some marijuana in your pocket. The problem is this – you cannot have any marijuana in your possession if you do not have it for medical purposes and have gone through the legal route to get it.

Getting arrested for possession of an illicit substance can change everything.

Some History

All around the country the laws concerning the use and possession of marijuana are changing at a breakneck speed. What started as a push for medical use marijuana has turned into a recreational use mission. Thirty-three states allow some form of marijuana use with 10 states and the District of Columbia approving the drug for recreational use.

While these laws vary by state as to how much a person can grow and possess on their person at any given time, we still have to be aware that Arizona has not legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The only way for a person to legally have marijuana in their possession is if they have a medical marijuana certification form filled out by their doctor. They can then apply to the ADHS to get their MMJ card to purchase the substance at a legal dispensary. Even then, you are only allowed to have 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time.

What To Do Now

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, you need to secure an attorney as quickly as possible. Any criminal charge can cripple your ability to gain employment in the future, so you need someone who will work diligently to get your charges dismissed.

A skilled and qualified attorney will investigate the circumstances of your arrest and charge, beginning with the reason you were stopped in the first place. If the situation warrants, you could be eligible for the Treatment Assessment Screening Center (TASC) program which is a 3 to 12-month program designed to provide education about drug use, has random drugs tests, and certain fees. If you complete the program, you could get your charges completely dismissed.

This program is a possibility if you:

  • Have never been previously convicted of a dangerous offense, a serious offense, or a dangerous crime against children.
  • Have not been convicted three or more times for personal possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Have not been convicted three or more times for personal possession of controlled substance.

Frequently Asked Questions?

  1. What if I only have less than an ounce?
    • You are not allowed to have any marijuana unless you have an MMJ card.
  2. What if I have my MMJ card but had more than 2.5 ounces?
    • Even with an MMJ card, you can be charged with possession if you have more than the legally allowed amount.
  3. Is jail time a possibility?
    • Yes, depending on the amount of marijuana you were caught in possession with you could face jail time.
  4. What if I do not complete TASC?
    • If you do not complete all of the TASC requirement, your charges will stand and you will be subject to the same penalties.
  5. Can I grow marijuana?
    • Only if you do not live within 25 miles of a dispensary. Then you can grow up to 12 plants.

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