Being arrested for a small quantity of drugs can be a very frightening and damaging experience. For many years, Arizona and Phoenix were extremely hard on drug users, and had some of the strictest mandatory minimum sentencing requirements in the nation to show for it. This included imprisoning non-violent first time offenders, as well as many people who would have benefitted much more from treatment programs than long-term sentences.
But times change. Today and thanks to voters, some non-violent drug offenders may be eligible for a reduced sentence, including diversion programs instead of incarceration, because of Proposition 200. If this is the first or second time you have been arrested and charged with a minor, non-violent drug use or possession offense, you might be eligible for an exemption under Prop 200.
Prop 200 Helps Many Drug Users Get Treatment
1996, Arizona voters passed proposition 200, which allows for the minimization or even suspension of jail time for minor drug offenses. Being “Prop 200 eligible”, as attorneys say, means that if you are charged with a minor drug offense in Arizona, you may be eligible for a minimized sentence (A.R.S. 13-901.01)
The purpose of Proposition 200 is to get some drug offenders into treatment programs and probationary situations, versus mandatory jail or prison time. Prop 200 is meant for first or second time non-violent offenders. However, there are a few exclusionary situations within proposition 200’s framework:
- Prior violent drug offenses exclude prop 200 eligibility
- Manufacturing or selling drugs excludes Prop 200 eligibility
It is important to understand that possession of even small amounts of marijuana and some narcotic drugs are still treated as felonies in Arizona. Prop 200 simply allows discretionary plea-bargaining that can reduce some charges down to misdemeanors instead. This results in fines, probation, community service, and treatment or diversion programs versus mandatory jail or prison time. However, there are exceptions to this law.
Unfortunately for people who are addicted to methamphetamine, Prop 200 cannot help them methamphetamine. In 2006, voters passed Proposition 301. This states that methamphetamine users face jail or prison sentences even if this is their first conviction and they are within the threshold amount for personal use drug overview.
Phoenix Criminal Attorney May Help You Get a Prop 200 Exemption
Although Phoenix still doles out strict punishments for even minor, non-violent drug offenses, your case might be eligible for Prop 200. However, it is absolutely essential to consult and retain a defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced about Prop 200. This way, you may end up in a better place in your life than jail or prison.
Phoenix Criminal Attorney provides our clients with focused legal assistance for Proposition 200 eligible drug charges. We will not stop fighting for your rights by making sure that every possible legal option and defense strategy is available to you. If you are facing any kind of Prop 200 eligible drug charge in Phoenix, contact us today for a private, no obligation consultation at 602-551-8092.