Drug Possession

Arizona has multiple drug categories that are prohibited by law.  Punishment for drug possession depends on the drug classification, the amount possessed, the purpose of the possession, and whether a person has any prior convictions. 

  • Possession of Marijuana is a class 6 felony, so long as the amount possessed is under the threshold amount of 2 pounds.  If the amount exceeds 2 pounds, a person may be charged with a more serious offense such as possession of marijuana for sale.  

  • Possession of Narcotic Drugs is a class 4 felony, and includes drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack, and opiates.  A comprehensive list of narcotic drugs is contained in Arizona Revised Statute §​13-3401(20).  The threshold amount for heroin is 1 gram.

  • Possession of Dangerous Drugs is a class 4 felony, and includes drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, steroids, LSD, PCP, mushrooms, and GHB.  A comprehensive list of dangerous drugs is contained in Arizona Revised Statute §​13-3401(6).  The threshold amount for methamphetamine is 9 grams.

  • Possession of a Prescription-Only Drug is a class 1 misdemeanor.  Under Arizona Revised Statute §​13-3406(A)(1), it’s unlawful to knowingly possess a prescription-only drug without a valid prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.

  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia can be charged as a class 6 felony or class 1 misdemeanor.  Arizona Revised Statute §​13-3425 states, "It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a drug in violation of Arizona law."  Usually drug paraphernalia is charged as a class 6 felony with a felony drug possession charge.  When a person is found to only be in possession or drug paraphernalia, without illegal drugs, it is usually charged as a class 1 misdemeanor.

Prop 200 - A.R.S. §13-901.01

 

Many people have heard of Prop 200.  Prop 200 is a ballot initiative approved by Arizona voters in 1996.  The law is codified in Arizona Revised Statute §​13-901.01.  The purpose of Prop 200 was to provide alternatives to prison for persons convicted of personal possession or use of drugs.  

Prop 200 provides for mandatory probation, not withstanding any law to the contrary, for a person who is convicted of personal possession or use of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia.  It is important to note the one drug that is not covered by Pro 200 is methamphetamine.  

1st Offense/1st Strike

 

Other than methamphetamine, and so long as a person has not been convicted of a violent crime as defined in Arizona Revised Statute §​13-901.03, for a first offense involving drug possession for personal use, a defendant must be sentenced to probation and may not be sentenced to prison or jail.  However, if a defendant violates probation, the defendant may be reinstated to probation with jail if the court makes a finding that the defendant failed to participate in drug treatment.  Additionally, a defendant may be sentenced to prison upon revocation, if the court makes a finding that the defendant failed to participate in drug treatment.  

2nd Offense/2nd Strike

 

Other than methamphetamine, and so long as a person has not been convicted of a violent crime as defined in Arizona Revised Statute §​13-901.03, for a second offense involving drug possession for personal use, a defendant must be sentenced to probation, but a term of probation may include up to 1 year in jail.  

Not Covered by Prop 200

  • Possession of methamphetamine

  • Possession of drugs for sale, production, manufacturing, or transportation for sale

  • Promoting prison contraband

  • DUI drugs

  • Acquisition of narcotic drugs by means of fraud, deceit, or subterfuge

  • Attempted acquisition of narcotic drugs by means of fraud, deceit, or subterfuge 

  • Any drug offense otherwise covered by Prop 200 if a methamphetamine drug/paraphernalia offense is charged in the same complaint

  • Defendants with two prior Prop 200 strikes (can be felony or misdemeanor)

  • Defendants with violent priors.  A violent crime includes:  (1)  Any criminal act that results in death or physical injury (includes misdemeanor assault) or (2) any criminal use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer:  The information on this website is intended to be informational only, and it is not intended to be legal advice for a specific case.  It does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon any information on this website without seeking the advice of counsel. 

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