Arizona Dangerous Drug Possession Penalties

Arizona Dangerous Drug Possession Penalties - back of person smoking

Arizona Dangerous Drug Possession Penalties

The issue of possession, use, sale, manufacture and transportation of illegal drugs is a vast one. And Arizona, like many other states, takes drug infractions seriously. So in depth is the subject that Arizona has 29 specific statutes outlining everything from definitions to punishments for crimes involving drugs (see Chapter 34). In this blog post, we’ll summarize the Arizona dangerous drug possession penalties.

What is Classified as a Dangerous Drug in Arizona?

Were we to list all of the drugs that Arizona classifies as “dangerous” it would constitute an entirely separate blog post. Generally speaking, however, ARS 13-3407 mentions four categories:

  1. Anabolic steroids, including testosterone
  2. Drugs with a depressant effect
  3. Hallucinogenic substances, such as acid and mescaline
  4. Various types of amphetamines, including meth


While not directly mentioned in ARS 13-3407, the abuse or sale of medical drugs may also fall under the category of dangerous drugs. (We will go into more depth on the subject of prescription drugs in Arizona in a following blog post.) Marijuana also has separate laws and penalties surrounding its use and manufacture. For a full list of drugs that Arizona defines as “dangerous” visit this website.

Breaking Down Arizona Dangerous Drug Possession Penalties

Potential consequences for possession of a dangerous drug in Arizona will differ depending on the substance involved, the specific crime committed, and any previous convictions. As a quick reminder, there are 6 classes of felonies with 1 being the most severe, reserved solely for murder, and 6 being the least severe.

Class 4 Felony

If a person is found in possession of any amount of a dangerous drug or is found using a dangerous drug in the state of Arizona, they can be charged with a class 4 felony. The felony can be dropped to a class 1 misdemeanor depending on the substance and if there is no previous felony conviction.

Class 3 Felony

A dangerous drug felony can increase in severity to a class 3 if a person is found in possession of equipment or chemicals used for the manufacture of a dangerous substance, with the exception of meth, which is a class 2 felony. Or if a person obtains a dangerous substance through fraud.

Class 2 Felony

The manufacture of a dangerous drug, administering a dangerous drug to another person or transportation of a dangerous drug for sale or import into this state are all considered class 2 felonies. Most of the above offenses involving meth are considered class 2 felonies as well.

Proposition 200: Probation for Drug Offenses

In 1996 Arizona voters passed prop 200 amending ARS 13-901 concerning probation for drug offenses. It states that a person who is convicted of possession or use of a controlled substance may only face probation if they have no prior convictions (depending on the substance and the nature of the crime).

Defense for a Dangerous Drug Possession Charge

While the Arizona dangerous drug possession penalties can be unforgiving, there are many defenses for a drug possession charge. If you’ve been charged with a felony for possession or use of a dangerous drug, Coolidge Law is ready to go to work on your case. As certified criminal law specialists, we’re thorough, tough, and fair. And we’ll work hard to establish the best defense for your case. Contact us today for your free consultation.


Photo by Ramille Soares on Unsplash (12/14/2018)