If you receive a drug possession conviction in Arizona, the state may impose felony-level penalties. The exact consequences for this crime vary by the circumstances of your case, including any history of prior convictions, the type and amount of substance and whether evidence exists to support intent to distribute the substance.

Before facing drug charges in Arizona court, learn about the potential penalties for these offenses.

What are dangerous drugs?

Arizona categorizes antidepressants, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and prescription opiates as dangerous drugs. When you receive a possession charge, you are subject to a fine of $2,000 or three times the street value of the substance in question, whichever amount is greater. These penalties may also apply for possession of drug paraphernalia, including but not limited to pipes, drug packaging and other accessories.

What penalties apply to first-time offenses?

Individuals with no prior drug convictions can avoid jail time by attending a drug treatment program and successfully completing probation. However, failure to follow these steps and/or violation of the terms of probation will result in six months to one year in jail. In general, the state considers this charge a class 1 misdemeanor, except in the case of amphetamine possession, which is always a felony in Arizona.

What consequences can I receive for subsequent offenses?

Second-time drug offenders who do not have a history of violence can also receive probation and drug treatment in lieu of jail time. However, probation violations for second convictions carry up to 45 months in jail. Third-time offenses are not eligible for probation and will receive up to 15 years in jail.

What constitutes intent to sell drugs?

In Arizona, possession of more than a so-called threshold level of a substance can result in a drug trafficking charge. These thresholds include:

  • 1 gram of heroin
  • 4 grams or 50 milliliters of PCP
  • 9 grams of cocaine, amphetamine or methamphetamine, including both solid and liquid substances

Trafficking charges are felonies that carry six months to seven years in jail. In addition, offenders are not eligible for diversionary drug treatment programs to avoid prison time.