Once your case gets started, as a condition of release, a judge could order you to do pre-trial services; then you have to go in and do some drug testing. They usually don’t have any drug counseling that happens ahead of time. There are some instances, though, in which a county attorney will review a case and suggest a diversion program called TASK. We’ve helped many clients, after the initial police contact, by getting the police reports and understanding where they’re at. We reach out to the county attorney’s office and present a case as to why our clients should be allowed to have a pre-charging diversion program.
If that happens, then yes, they are going to be doing some diversion classes, which include urine screens, but ultimately, you get your case dismissed before it even gets brought up. That is different than drug court. Drug court can be a condition of probation. Normally, drug court comes in for somebody who’s maybe been through it a couple of times, somebody who needs that extra supervision, including extra urine tests and the extra motivation to make sure that they complete what they need to complete. When people take drug courts seriously, they generally get a very good outcome, and then you have a graduation; when you finish drug court, you get a certificate, everybody claps for you, and it’s a very rewarding feeling for clients. Many times, that’s what it takes for them to finally kick that addiction and really get the help they need.
What Are The Potential Penalties For Felony Possession, Sale And Distribution of Drugs?
For simple possession, if it’s not methamphetamine, on a first time offense, it’s going to be a probation type of deal; it just comes down to whether it’s supervised, unsupervised and what the terms are. Or you could potentially get a diversion program as well. With our clients that face a first time drug offense, we’re really pushing for them to be able to get in that diversion program. When it’s drugs for sale cases, you’re outside of the protections of Proposition 200.
Generally, on a first offense, it usually involves an undercover detective who doesn’t just stop at one sale. What they’ll do is they’ll buy from you once then twice; and when they buy from you the third time, that’s when you get arrested. There are really two reasons why they do it: one is so that they can try and get away from you being able to claim entrapment. For entrapment, it requires that there be a governmental actor, the undercover officer, who basically made you do something you normally wouldn’t do. The argument for an entrapment defense goes away because you’ve done this on three separate occasions.
Now you’ve proven that you are willing to do this. The other reason for it then is because once they can show possession of drugs for sale on multiple dates, your penalties at trial become much harsher. The county attorney looks at it and says, “We have an upper hand, and we are going to offer you this plea offer; and if you don’t want to take it, then you potentially face prison, when you go to trial ,even though you’ve maybe never had prior felonies before,” and that’s often a very scary time for clients.
Are There Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Felony Drug Charges In Arizona?
Not really. There is possession of meth for sale that carries a five-, 10- or 15-year sentence. But outside of that, if they are just simple possession cases, the only mandatory minimum that comes into play with that is a $750 fine or three times the value of the drug. For sale cases, those go up; if there are different drugs involved, those mandatory minimums on the fines go up, but there is nothing as far as jail time. It’s not like a DUI where if you get a DUI, the mandatory minimum is one day in jail. There is nothing like that for simple drug cases.
Do Penalties Get Aggravated If A Minor Is Somehow Involved In The Drug-Related Offense?
Yes, absolutely. There are increased penalties if that comes into play, and there are additional charges that can be added as well. So they get you on both ends. They can use it as an aggravating factor because there were minors involved, but then they could also potentially charge you with additional crimes, like endangerment, because if you have drugs around and there are kids around, you’re placing those kids at risk of imminent physical injury, which can be in and of itself a separate endangerment charge. So yes, anytime there are minors involved, it definitely goes up.
For more information on Pre-Trial Services For Drug Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 400-1355 today.