Is Drug Possession a Felony in Arizona?

drug felony arizona -- knocked over prescription pill bottle on a table

2022-04-20

Is Drug Possession a Felony in Arizona?

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A charge of drug possession felony in Arizona can be a very serious offense. The penalties can escalate quickly, depending on the type of drug in your possession, the quantity, and whether or not this was your first offense. And, those found guilty of possession might even face felony drug charges. Here’s what you need to know about which drugs are legal in Arizona, and the penalties for unlawful possession of both prescription and illicit drugs.  

What are Arizona’s drug laws for 2022?

The state of Arizona has a number of statutes covering drug possession. The state breaks up its laws by drug type—marijuana, prescription-only drugs, dangerous drugs, and narcotic drugs. Here’s a breakdown of Arizona’s drug statutes and the penalties for illegal possession.

ARS 13-3405: Possession of Marijuana

Arizona statute ARS 13-3405 covers the possession of marijuana, as well as its use, production, sale, and transportation. 

With the passage of Proposition 207 in 2020, it is no longer a drug felony in Arizona to have any amount of marijuana under two pounds. Proposition 207 led to the creation of statute ARS 36-2852, which states adults 21 and over can legally possess up to:

  • 1 ounce of cannabis
  • 5 grams of marijuana concentrate
  • 6 marijuana plants

Any Arizona resident caught with more than the legal quantity faces additional charges under ARS 36-2853, depending on how many offenses they’ve had in the past.

  • First offense: Fine of $100 
  • Second offense: Possible eight hours of mandatory drug education
  • Third offense: Charge of Class 1 misdemeanor with up to six months in jail

While Proposition 207 allows for the recreational use of marijuana, Arizona residents who do not adhere to legal amounts may find themselves facing felony drug charges. If the police arrest a person holding more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, that person faces charges under ARS 13-3405, as well as felony penalties. 

ARS 13-3406: Possession of Prescription-Only Drugs

According to Arizona law 13-3406, a person may only legally use a prescription drug if they have a valid script for that drug, given to them by a licensed medical practitioner. Additionally, only people who are legally licensed to do so may sell, manufacture, and own the chemicals and equipment needed to make prescription drugs. 

Possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription is a class 4 felony in the state of Arizona. Class 4 felony penalties range from one to fifteen years in prison, depending on the person’s criminal background. Additionally, the defendant may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. 

ARS 13-3407: Possession of Dangerous Drugs

Arizona law defines about 200 drugs as “dangerous.” Statute ARS 13-3407 makes it illegal to possess, use, sell, or make any dangerous drugs. 

Charges under ARS 13-3407 may carry class 2, 3, and 4 drug felony penalties in Arizona, depending upon whether a person is a first-time offender and whether or not the drug was methamphetamine. All three felony penalties include prison sentences between four and 12.5 years. 

ARS 13-3408: Possession of Narcotic Drugs

Being arrested with a narcotic drug—such as heroin or cocaine—is a drug felony in Arizona under ARS 13-3408. This law also makes it a felony to sell, make, or own the materials and/or equipment to make narcotic drugs. A guilty verdict under ARS 13-3408 is a Class 2 felony, with a possible penalty of up to 12 years in prison. 

Drug Felony Lawyer in Arizona

As you can see, our state’s drug laws are not easy to navigate. A drug felony in Arizona is a very serious offense with penalties that can quickly escalate depending on the defendant’s criminal history and other associated charges. 

Having a certified criminal law specialist to help you through the labyrinth of Arizona drug laws in 2022 is crucial to ensuring your case is well defended. If you or a loved one faces drug possession charges in Arizona, contact the offices of Todd Coolidge today. Call 602-795-0770 in Phoenix or 480-264-5111 in Chandler to find out how we can help.

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels 

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