Classification of Drug Trafficking Charges in Arizona
As in the case of many other drug crimes, the classification for drug trafficking depends primarily upon the drug or drugs you are accusing of importing or transporting. The following list sets forth level of these crimes for various drugs:
- Transporting or importing marijuana for sale is a class 3 felony. However, if the weight is two pounds or more, it is a class 2 felony.
- Prescription-only Drugs. Trafficking in prescription-only drugs is a class 6 felony.
- Dangerous Drugs. If you are charged with transporting for sale, importing for sale (or offering to do so) you are facing a class 2 felony. Dangerous drugs include methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, certain steroids, Klonopin, mescaline, Special K (ketamine) and many more.
- Narcotic Drugs. The classification is the same for narcotic drugs as for dangerous drugs, a class 2 felony. Examples of drugs in this category are, among others, heroin, fentanyl, Oxycontin (oxycodone), methadone, Demerol, morphine, tramadol, and codeine.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges
As serious as a drug trafficking charge is, there may be defenses. As in all criminal cases, the prosecutor has at the outset the burden of proving every element of the case. This means that they must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you knowingly imported (or offered to import) the drugs into the state of Arizona, or transported (or offered to transport) the drugs within the state, for sale. Not only must the state prove the substance was in fact an illegal drug (dangerous drug, narcotic drug, etc.), they must also prove that you acted knowingly: that you were aware of the presence of the drugs, and that you were transporting them for sale.
In addition, there are certain defenses that may apply in your case. They include:
- Under A.R.S. 13-206, entrapment is a defense. The essence of the defense is that you were tricked or lured by law enforcement into committing the acts.
- Illegal Search and Seizure. Whether the search and seizure began with an illegal traffic stop, a warrantless search, or similar tactics, it may lead to the exclusion of evidence. In some cases, this alone could result in a dismissal of the charges.
Phoenix Drug Trafficking Defense Attorneys
If you are facing a drug trafficking charge, the stakes are high. In addition to whatever defenses may exist, this could be an instance where law enforcement has “overcharges” in a criminal case, expecting that you will plead down to simple possession or another less serious crime. Don’t allow yourself to be coerced into a guilty plea.
At Feldman & Royle, we will provide you with an honest appraisal of you case, including your chances for a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. While no one can guarantee a result in any case, having the guidance of an experienced Phoenix criminal lawyer will help avoid many potential pitfalls. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.