Like many other states, Arizona has stringent laws against the use and distribution of illegal drugs. Consequences for any drug crime are severe and may include hefty fines and lengthy prison terms. Cultivation and manufacturing of illegal drugs are among the most severe drug crimes in the state. You could face a sentence of up to 35 years in prison, based on your criminal history and severity of the underlying offense. The only chance for you to have your charges reduced or dropped is by engaging an experienced criminal attorney's services.
If you face charges for the cultivation and manufacture of illegal drugs in Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix Criminal Attorney might be able to help develop a strong defense against your charges. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys that could deal even with the most severe drug charge.
Overview of Arizona Drug Laws
Criminal charges for dangerous drugs are quite common in Arizona and carry heavy penalties. ARS 13-3407 provides a detailed account of the various drug-related offenses under Arizona Laws and their possible penalties. It is vital to know the following to understand this law even better:
- What constitutes an illegal or dangerous substance under Arizona laws
- The various types of behavior that involve prohibited dangerous drugs
- The punishments associated with those charges
But what is considered a dangerous drug in Arizona? Under the state laws, we have the following as the most common prescription drugs categorized under dangerous drugs:
Other drugs missing under this category are methamphetamines and other amphetamines, hallucinogens, testosterone, and steroids. In total, the state has 332 various drugs listed under its Revised Statutes.
Dangerous drugs mainly refer to drugs that have been deemed harmful by the law, especially if taken without a prescription. Drugs like marijuana are not included under the category of dangerous drugs.
Drug crimes refer to any behavior connected to dangerous drugs. The most common of these crimes is the possession of dangerous drugs, whether for personal use or sale. Most drug crime charges come about due to an unrelated arrest or after an investigation following a tip-off by public members. For example, you may have been arrested for a traffic violation, but the police found you in possession of an illegal substance after a search.
However, there are serious drug-related charges you could be arrested for. They include:
- Possession for sale of a dangerous drug
- Possession of chemicals or equipment used in the manufacturing of drugs
- Manufacture of dangerous drugs
- Administering dangerous drugs
- Obtaining dangerous substances by deceit/fraud
- Importing or transporting dangerous substances for sale
Any conduct other than possession of dangerous substances for personal use calls for more severe penalties and heftier fines.
Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Laws
As earlier mentioned, the cultivation and manufacture of dangerous drugs are among the most severe drug-related offenses in Arizona. The crime carries a heftier penalty when compared to the possession of a dangerous substance. However, the penalties an offender receives for the cultivation or manufacture of a dangerous drug vary, depending on the type of drug in question and the offender's criminal history.
For instance, penalties for the manufacture or cultivation of plant-based drugs like marijuana are different from the manufacture of more dangerous substances like ecstasy and methamphetamines. It is advisable to contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately after your arrest to understand the implication of your charges and your legal options.
Drug cultivation is a type of drug crime that involves the growing of plants classified under controlled substances. You are likely to be charged for drug cultivation if found to be illegally growing plants like opium, marijuana, and other types of hallucinogenic plants or intoxicants. Arizona drug cultivation laws are classified alongside drug manufacturing laws. Together, the laws make it illegal for a person to do the following:
- To grow, produce or be in possession of plants that naturally bear substances used to produce controlled substances and illegal drugs.
- To produce illegal drugs like cocaine, mainly derived from plants.
The prosecutor will be required in court to prove that the defendant had the physical materials and substances used in the cultivation of the said drugs to prove charges for drug cultivation. The prosecutor will also be required to verify that the defendant intended to cultivate the said drugs illegally. Therefore, if the police raided your home and found opium seeds, large quantities of plants, and electric growing lights, it could serve as evidence to warrant a conviction.
On the other hand, drug manufacturing is a drug crime that involves the production of an illegal substance. To be charged with drug manufacturing, the prosecutor must prove in court that you had knowingly possessed drugs or chemicals used in the production of a particular controlled substance. The prosecutor will also be required to provide sufficient proof that you intended to manufacture the said drug.
Arizona has seen the rise of synthetic drugs and a rise in the domestic production of drugs like methamphetamines. Thus, charges for drug manufacturing are quite common, more so in recent years.
Drug manufacturing is not limited to just one activity but a wide range of activities related to illegal substances production. The police target those who own an in-house lab for drug production and those who sell necessary precursor substances, special drug production tools and equipment, and those who offer operational support. Merely providing support for drug manufacturing could land you in jail. Since most precursor substances are legal, the law requires the seller to have known or should have reasonably known that the buyer of the substances intended to use them for the illegal manufacture of dangerous drugs.
Example: A general supply store may not be found guilty of participating in the manufacture of illegal substances if it sells chemicals to the general public. People who buy chemicals from general supply stores do not state their intentions to the seller. Therefore, a seller can be unaware that the chemicals purchased from his/her store are used in the illegal manufacture of dangerous substances.
Penalties for Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Conviction
ARS 13-3406, 13-3408(A)(3), and 13-3407(A)(4) form the laws against the manufacture and possession of equipment for the manufacture of dangerous drugs, narcotics, and drugs acquired through prescription in Arizona. Here are the possible penalties for various offenses under these laws:
Manufacturing or Possession of Chemicals and Equipment Used in the Manufacturing of Prescription Drugs Only
The offense, classified under Class 1 misdemeanor, is punishable by:
- Probation for three years
- Incarceration for six months
- Fines and sub-charges amounting to $5,000
The judge is at discretion to determine the appropriate punishment for an offense based on the case's facts.
Manufacturing or Possession of Chemicals and Equipment Used in the Manufacturing of Misbranded Drugs
A device or drug is considered misbranded if the following are true:
- It bears a false or misleading label.
- If its package doesn't contain its manufacturer, packager, and distributor's name and business place, plus accurate information on the quantity of its contents in a measure, numerical count, or weight.
The offense is a Class 4 felony, punishable by:
- A minimum prison sentence of one year and a maximum of 3.75 years
- Minimum fines of $1,000
Manufacture or Possession of Chemicals and Equipment Used in the Manufacturing of Dangerous Drugs or Narcotics
The offense is classified under Class 3 felony, punishable by:
- Probation with at least one year in jail for a first offense — If the judge doesn't send the defendant on probation, the prison term could be between 2 and 8.75 years.
- Between 3.5 and 16.25 years of incarceration for offenders with at least one prior felony conviction
- Between 7.5 and 25 years of incarceration for offenders with at least two prior felony convictions
If the court finds you guilty of manufacturing narcotics or dangerous drugs, the offense is charged as a Class 2 felony. If the amount of drugs found in your possession exceeds the legal threshold amount, you'll not be qualified for probation. In this case, the likely punishment will be:
- Between 3 and 12.5 years of incarceration for first offenders
- Between 4.5 and 23.25 years of incarceration for second offenders
- Between 10.5 and 35 years for third offenders
Here are the standard amounts of illegal substances that are considered dangerous in Arizona:
- 9 grams of Methamphetamine
- 3/4 gram of rock cocaine
- 9 grams of powdered cocaine
- One gram of heroin
- 50 milliliters or four grams of PCP
- ½ milliliter of LSD or 50 units per dose if in blotter form
- More than 2lbs of marijuana
Possible Legal Strategies to Fight Arizona Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Charges
A conviction for Arizona drug cultivation and manufacturing is life-altering. Other than spending time behind bars and paying a hefty penalty, you’ll have a criminal record that could affect your life in other ways, such as finding suitable employment or socializing. It is therefore advisable to find an experienced criminal attorney that will help you fight your charges. The advantage is that there are several defense strategies that your attorney can use to have your charges reduced or dropped. With reduced charges, you may escape the harsh penalties of a felony conviction and its effects. Here are some of the strategies your attorney can employ:
You Had a Valid Permit/License
Drug cultivation and manufacturing charges in Arizona carry very hefty penalties, but those with a valid permit or license are exempted from the punishment. If you have a valid permit to cultivate plants that can be used in the production of dangerous substances, or you were legally in possession of materials and substances that could be used in the production of illegal substances, your attorney can use this as a defense to have your charges dropped. Producing the legal permit/license in court is enough proof that you are not guilty of the offense.
Lack of Intent
It is not enough for the police to find you in possession of materials or substances used in the manufacture or cultivation of dangerous drugs for them to charge you with drug cultivation and manufacture. The prosecutor will be required in court to prove that you intended to use the said materials in the commission of the offense.
Proving intent is challenging for prosecutors. You may have lived in the same house where those materials were found and not know what they were for. Or, someone might have left them in your house without your knowledge. Without the intent, you cannot be guilty of drug cultivation or manufacturing.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Most drug-related arrests in Arizona are carried out after an in-depth investigation following a tip-off from public members. When the police are told of illegal cultivation or manufacture of illicit substances in a particular place, they are likely to raid the place and quickly make arrests before the suspects flee the scene.
Sometimes the police do not have enough time to obtain a search and/or arrest warrant. In the absence of these documents, the officer could be charged with illegal search and seizure, and any evidence gathered during the unlawful activity will not be admissible in court.
Additionally, the police have clear procedures on when and how they should conduct investigations and make arrests. For example, you have a right to have your Miranda rights read to you after an arrest, before the police start questioning you. If the police do not follow the laid down arrest procedures, they could be accused of conducting an illegal arrest. Thus, any evidence they might have gathered up to that point will not be admitted in court.
If you believe that your arrest was illegal, your attorney can use this strategy to have your charges dropped or reduced.
What’s The Role of an Attorney?
Drug-related charges are among the most severe criminal charges you can face in Arizona. You need to be well-prepared to fight your charges in court if you are not ready to face the harsh penalties that follow a conviction. If you face charges for drug cultivation and manufacture today, it is advisable to contact an experienced criminal attorney. Here are some of the issues your attorney can help you with:
Explaining Your Options
Every arrest is unique, and everyone’s experience is different. Your situation may not be similar to another person’s, even if both of you are facing similar charges. That is why you need an attorney by your side to help you understand your options based on your case's uniqueness. After understanding your case's details, an experienced attorney will know the best approach to provide a favorable outcome for your case.
Protection of Your Rights
Everyone’s rights need protection, however, grave their charges are. Sometimes the police can infringe on your rights, especially when trying to derive information from you. An attorney will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
You need much more substantial evidence than the prosecutor’s if you want to win the case. That is why gathering the right and compelling evidence is essential. An experienced attorney knows the kind of evidence that will strengthen your case. He/she will know where to gather that evidence. Your attorney will also obtain witness accounts to strengthen your case. All this should be done within a particular period before trial.
Challenge Prosecutor’s Evidence
When a prosecutor files a court case, he/she does so with a firm conviction that the defendant will be convicted. For that to happen, the prosecutor must have enough and strong evidence against the defendant. The right defense attorney should be one that can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, weaken his/her case and make the court believe in your innocence. An experienced attorney will know the right strategies to use to undermine the prosecutor’s case during trial.
Negotiate for Lesser Charges
Your attorney’s primary task would be to have your charges entirely or partially dismissed. If your charges are ultimately dismissed, you will be allowed to walk free and not be charged for the same offense again. But if your charges are partially dismissed, you may be convicted for a less-severe offense.
If it is impossible to challenge the evidence presented in court by the prosecutor, a smart attorney will negotiate for lesser charges. Sometimes the evidence gathered against a defendant is too strong to be challenged. However, the prosecutor may be willing to negotiate if you plead guilty to a lesser charge. Your attorney will guide you through this to ensure that the outcome of the case is still favorable.
Find a Phoenix Criminal Attorney Near Me
Arizona drug cultivation and manufacturing is a severe drug-crime whose conviction can affect several aspects of your life, including your career and social life. Thus, it is advisable to fight the charges and have them dropped or reduced. However, this may be a challenge if you do not have an experienced criminal attorney by your side. An experienced attorney will know the right strategies to use for a favorable outcome of your case. If you face drug cultivation and manufacturing charges in Phoenix, AZ, contact Phoenix Criminal Attorney at 602-551-8092. We will protect your rights and ensure that every defense strategy and legal option are available to you.