Drug Crime Attorney in Mesa
Committed to Protecting Your Rights & Future
Having a drug-related conviction on your record is a rather serious situation. Even as the state of Arizona passed laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana as of 2021, you can still go to jail for breaking marijuana laws or for possessing certain quantities of controlled or illegal substances. The situation can be aggravated by a number of factors such as the type and amount of drugs in your possession.
Fortunately, by taking proactive steps and hiring a seasoned Mesa drug crime lawyer, you can have a chance at a better outcome. Call (480) 245-5550 today.
Are Drug Crimes Considered Felonies or Misdemeanors in Arizona?
In Mesa, most drug-related charges are aggressively prosecuted and classified as a felony. If you have been arrested for drug crimes in the state, chances are you have been charged with multiple crimes, each of them exposing you to different penalties and sentencing. For example, suppose you are found to be smoking marijuana in a public place but upon inspection, law enforcement finds out that you are carrying an amount of marijuana that is over the legal limit of 1 ounce. In this case, you might be charged with smoking marijuana in a public place as well as possession with the intent to sell.
The crime of possession with the intent to sell is among some of the most commonly prosecuted drug-related offenses and is considered a felony. Depending on the type of drugs and amount apprehended, possession with the intent to sell can be charged anywhere from a Class 4 felony (more serious) to a Class 6 Felony (less serious — but still a felony not to be taken lightly). The penalties you may receive vary depending on several factors, including the amount and type of drugs found, and whether you are a first-time offender or a repeat offender. Sentences usually include hefty fines and jail time.
When Is a Drug-Related Offense Classified as a Federal Crime?
There are a few cases in which a drug-related offense is escalated to the federal level. As one may expect, federal drug charges are considerably more severe than those at the state level. In fact, it is estimated that over 60% of inmates are serving time in federal prison after being convicted of a federal drug crime.
A drug-related offense can be charged as a federal crime if it takes place on federal property. This means that you could potentially face a federal drug charge if — for example — you are caught smoking marijuana at a national park or federal government property. However, federal drug crimes often involve large-scale drug trafficking operations with multiple people involved.
If a federal agent is undercover or somehow involved in your case, chances are you might be facing a federal drug charge. The same applies to receiving or sending drugs by mail or transporting drugs across state lines. If you believe your drug-related charges may be escalated to a federal court, it is best to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Does a Drug-Related Conviction Always Mean Jail Time?
Most drug-related offenses carry a sentence that includes some jail time in addition to expensive fines. However, alternative sentencing may be available if the drug crime you are being charged with is a result of personal drug addiction. Arizona offers so-called drug courts for non-violent offenders, which constitute a treatment-based approach for those who meet eligibility requirements.
In order to qualify for drug court and have a chance at avoiding a felony conviction, an individual must not have had more than one prior felony conviction. In addition, he or she must not have used a weapon or dangerous object as a part of their drug-related offense, and must not have participated in drug court before. Those approved for drug court will be under the supervision of a probation officer and will need to undergo drug rehabilitation treatment. Successful completion of the program may mean your felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor; your probation time can be shortened, and you may be eligible for other benefits depending on your case.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney if I Have Been Charged With a Drug Crime?
Given that the majority of drug crimes in Arizona are considered a felony, a conviction may mean not only fines and jail time but also a permanent criminal record that can affect you for many years to come. It becomes challenging to obtain employment, acquire rental housing, or be successful in situations that require a clean background check. Drug crimes in Arizona often mean multiple charges for the same case.
By hiring a drug crime attorney in Mesa, you will have a chance at fighting back and questioning the charges and the evidence presented by the prosecution against you. An aggressive defense attorney will investigate whether the evidence in your case was obtained legally or if the circumstances that produced the evidence violated your constitutional rights (for example, an illegal search). There are many other defense strategies an attorney can use to dismiss your charges, de-escalate them and negotiate a more lenient penalty.
At the Naegle Law Firm, PLC, we help you defend your rights after a drug crime charge in Mesa, Arizona. We will investigate your case and work with you to develop a custom defense strategy that will increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
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