Because Arizona is a central location for illegal drug trafficking, the state has some of the toughest drug laws in the country – even minor drug charges can lead to a prison sentence. If you have been arrested or charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
The Blischak Law Firm has decades of experience defending clients against a wide range of drug charges including:
- Manufacturing or cultivation
- Distribution or trafficking
- Possession with the intent to sell
As a former FBI agent and county prosecutor, John W. Blischak is well versed in the state and federal narcotics laws and has a working knowledge of the Arizona court system. Over his many years of practice, he has earned a reputation for vigorously defending clients against drug charges involving dangerous and non-dangerous drugs.
Common Drug Charges in Arizona
There are a variety of criminal drug charges in Arizona, including:
- Possession – Drug possession charges ultimately depends on whether the drugs are classified as dangerous, narcotics or marijuana
- Distribution or Trafficking – Selling or distributing or conspiring to sell or distribute illegal drugs
- Manufacturing – Growing or cultivating any drugs, including marijuana, creating crack cocaine and methamphetamines, or possessing materials to manufacture illegal drugs
- Prescription Fraud – Using fake or forged prescriptions or attempting to have legitimate prescriptions filled at multiple pharmacies
Controlled substances are classified in five schedules that are determined by the potential for the drug to be abused. The classifications are as follows:
- Schedule I – Substances that have no known medicinal value and are likely to lead to dependency such as heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (mushrooms), MDMA (ecstasy), peyote, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
- Schedule II – Substances that may have some accepted medical use but are likely to be abused such as codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, oxycontin, opium, methamphetamine, cocaine, and methadone.
- Schedule III – Substances with some accepted medical purpose but pose a moderate risk of abuse, including barbiturates, Ketamine (Special K) anabolic steroids, and medicine containing small amounts of codeine.
- Schedule IV – Substances commonly used for medicinal purposes such as prescription anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Zolpidem, and Ambien.
- Schedule V – Substances that contain limited quantities of narcotics as well as one or more non-narcotic active medical ingredient, particularly over-the-counter medicines, cough syrups and cold medications.
Common Drug Penalties
The penalties for drug crimes depend on a number of factors including the classification, quantity, whether the drugs were intended for personal use or distribution, whether the accused is a habitual drug offender, has prior drug convictions or other felony offenses. In addition, possessing or advertising the sale of drug paraphernalia is also illegal. Finally, employing a minor in the commission of a drug crime or committing a drug crime in a school zone will lead to increased sentencing.
In short, misdemeanor convictions may lead to a 6-month prison sentence and a fine up to $2,500 and probation while more serious felony charges can result in significant fines and longer prison sentences. Under Arizona law, however, there are alternatives to prison sentences such as probation for the personal use and possession of drugs. In addition, a diversionary treatment program known as the Treatment Assessment Screening Center (TASC) offers treatment to first time offenders in lieu of stiffer penalties. John W. Blischak has extensive knowledge of these sentencing alternatives and works to help clients avoid jail time.
Experienced Drug Crimes Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
For over 25 years, the Blischak Law Firm has vigorously defended clients against drug crimes in Arizona such as marijuana possession, possession with intent to sell, possession or use of dangerous drugs and trafficking or manufacturing dangerous drugs. Although the drug laws are complicated and a conviction can lead to imprisonment, we have the skills and resources to devise successful defense strategies.
In a marijuana possession case, for example, the state must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were knowingly in possession of the drug. In addition, drug possession cases often involve constitutional violations by law enforcement such as illegal search and seizure. This often occurs when drugs are found during a traffic stop, and the police did not have a justifiable reason to stop someone. Similarly, situations often arise when the police fail to recite the Miranda warnings and do not inform the accused of his or her right to remain silent.
Regardless of the charges you are facing or the circumstances of the alleged crime, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. A conviction will not only lead to a loss of your freedom, your reputation will be damaged, making it hard for you to find a job or rent an apartment. We will work diligently to have the charges dropped or to win an acquittal at trial. In some cases, it may be possible to have the charges reduced. If you are under investigation or have been charged with a drug crime, call our office today at (602) 252-1984 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.