Drug trafficking charges can carry severe penalties for a conviction. You could be sentenced to a long prison term, in addition to other penalties, if you are convicted of drug trafficking in Arizona. Therefore, your first step after being arrested is to contact an Arizona drug offenses attorney.
Do not give a statement to law enforcement. Do not answer questions. Do not try to talk your way out of the charges. DO invoke your constitutional right to remain silent and your constitutional right to legal counsel. Arizona drug offenses are serious; therefore, you need a serious attorney to aggressively advocate for your rights and your innocence.
Arizona is a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Because Arizona borders Mexico, the state has been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). In a HIDTA, it is assumed that the area will see a greater influx of illegal drugs from Mexico because of its proximity to Mexico. Therefore, larger cities and areas near the border are often targeted by state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and arrest individuals who are engaged in drug trafficking.
What is Considered Drug Trafficking in Arizona?
Drug trafficking can be charged when law enforcement officers have probable cause to believe you are involved in the illegal exchange of illegal drugs or controlled substances. In addition, the products and equipment necessary to manufacture or cultivate illegal drugs or controlled substances can also trigger a drug trafficking charge. In many cases, drug trafficking is combined with other drug offenses such as manufacturing of drugs and drug possession.
Several factors are considered when determining the severity of the drug trafficking offense and the punishment for a conviction, including the type of drug, the amount of drugs in your possession, whether you have a criminal history, and whether anyone was injured or killed during the commission of the criminal act.
You do not need to be the person who is “carrying” the drug to be charged with drug trafficking. Arizona drug offenses are also used to charge people who play other roles in drug trafficking. For example, if you distribute smaller amounts of the drugs to individual buyers or you supervised the operation or part of the operation, you could also be charged with drug trafficking.
Penalties for Arizona Drug Trafficking Convictions
Under Arizona drug laws, trafficking illegal drugs within the state can result in a drug charge somewhere between a class 2 felony and a class 6 felony. The level of the felony charge depends on the type of drug. However, you could also face federal trafficking charges depending on the amount of drugs in your possession. Mandatory prison sentences can be 10, 20, or more years, depending on the facts of the case.
However, an attorney may help you plead down the charges if the facts in your case warrant a reduced charge. In some cases, you may qualify for less harsh punishments than jail time for certain drug offenses.