Phoenix Marijuana Possession Attorneys
While drug abuse is a serious problem throughout the country, most of the worst cases involve hard street drugs like heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine, and prescription drugs like oxycodone (Oxycontin), alprazolam (Xanax) and Methylphenidate (Ritalin). Even though marijuana is now widely used under medical supervision (including in Arizona), and a number of states have legalized it for recreational use as well, there are still a great many places in the U.S. in which possessing marijuana without a prescription is a crime. Arizona is one of those places.
If you are arrested for possession of marijuana in Arizona, you should take the event seriously and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights, your reputation, and your future. Blischak Law Firm is a team of talented criminal defense attorneys based in Phoenix. We have a well-earned reputation for aggressive, successful courtroom defense against charges of marijuana possession.
Punishable Marijuana Offenses in Arizona
Because of our state’s high rate of drug abuse and associated crimes, Arizona has some of the toughest drug laws in the nation. As too many state residents have found out the hard way, even minor drug charges can lead to a prison sentence, and even a relatively short prison sentence can interrupt employment, educational pursuits, relationships, licensing of various kinds, and an individual’s long-term reputation.
At Blischak Law Firm we have over 30 years of experience defending clients who have been arrested for marijuana possession, cultivation, possession with intent to sell, and distribution or trafficking. Since the passage of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act of 2010, another potential crime has been added to the list of possible offenses relative to marijuana possession: prescription fraud.
You should note that possessing drug paraphernalia in Arizona is also a felony. Even though, according to state law, a first offense for this crime cannot result in a jail sentence, you will still, if convicted, have a felony on your permanent record with all the restrictions that implies. It is also illegal to grow marijuana plants in Arizona except when you have a medical prescription, and even then, the quantity you are permitted to grow is strictly limited. Be aware that getting a prescription for medical marijuana after an arrest will not work retroactively. (Even if a doctor states that as of today you are now legally entitled to use marijuana for medical reasons, you will still have to answer for illegal usage of the drug yesterday.) Advertising marijuana or paraphernalia for its use or cultivation is illegal throughout the state.
Penalties for Marijuana Offenses
While possessing less than two pounds of marijuana is generally viewed as a misdemeanor in Arizona, state law allows judges or prosecutors the discretion to designate the offense as a class 6 felony. While first offenses for possession do not result in incarceration, those convicted may have to:
- Pay fines
- Perform community service at a drug rehabilitation or treatment facility
- Attend educational classes concerning drug abuse at their own expense
- Be on probation for an extended period
The way your particular case is handled may vary according to the county in which the offense is committed and will also be affected by your previous record. You may, for example, have to serve a 6-month prison sentence, pay a $2500 fine and remain on probation as a result of a marijuana possession offense, particularly one complicated by other criminal behavior.
Exacerbating Factors of Marijuana Possession
The penalties for marijuana possession depend on a number of factors including: the quantity of the drug you have in your possession, whether the drug was intended for personal use or distribution, whether you have prior drug convictions or prior convictions for other offenses, and whether you have also being charged with advertising the sale of the drug or drug paraphernalia, employing a minor in the commission of a drug crime, or committing a drug crime in a school zone. Any of the associated crimes can make your case more difficult to defend, requiring careful planning on the part of your attorney.
When you engage the services of the astute criminal defense attorneys at Blischak Law Firm, we know all the methods of negotiating with the prosecution relative to marijuana cases. For example, we may be able to help you plea bargain your case to a lesser offense, or to have you enrolled in a diversionary treatment program known as the Treatment Assessment Screening Center (TASC) which offers treatment to first time offenders in lieu of stiffer penalties. We will do everything in our power to assist you in avoiding the indignity and discomfort of imprisonment.
How We Defend You Against Charges of Marijuana Possession
At Blischak Law Firm we have a number of strategies with which to defend you. Having defended clients on such charges for many years, we have the resources and legal acumen to develop tactical approaches that will work best in your particular case. Some possible defenses we may use, alone or in combination, include:
- You were not knowingly in possession of the drug
- Your case involves illegal search and seizure of your premises
- You were pulled over while driving for no justifiable reason
- Law enforcement officials never read you your Miranda rights
Some people mistakenly believe that because marijuana possession is not a very serious crime they can handle the situation without a savvy criminal attorney. Don’t be misled by anyone who tells you something along these lines. Having a marijuana conviction on your record can lead to many disturbing consequences beyond criminal penalties, including:
- Difficulties in finding a job
- Trouble renting an apartment or obtaining mortgage financing
- Complications in receiving government benefits
- Difficulties getting a student loan
- Inability to own a gun, get a passport, or vote while in prison or on probation
Don’t be fooled by those who perpetuate the notion that marijuana possession is no longer a common cause for arrest. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that marijuana violations accounted for 56 percent of the drug arrests in Arizona, and that more than 90 percent of those were for marijuana possession. Furthermore, you should remember that failing a drug test or violating any of the conditions of probation can result in your case being sent back to court for resentencing as a violation of probation or for violating the conditions of a diversion program.
If you are arrested for possession of marijuana in the state of Arizona, whether or not this is your first offense and whether or not there are other complicating factors, do yourself a favor and engage the services of the competent, compassionate criminal defense attorneys at Blischak Law Firm. We are a knowledgeable team, dedicated to making sure that our professional insight and prowess provides you with the highest level of legal protection. Please get in touch with us by phone or by filling out one of the contact forms on our website.