As a state, Arizona has some of the strictest laws regulating the drugs/narcotics, including the possession of drug paraphernalia. Even though many forms of drug paraphernalia can be legally purchased and may be legal to own, if you are found to have paraphernalia that have been used for the planting, distribution, or usage of an illegal drug you can be charged with a felony.
This strictness in the laws is believed by many to exist as a form of protection for Arizonans from the terrible side effects and dangers that surround many harmful drugs, but this strictness can also lead to harsh penalties and even incarceration.
Many forms of paraphernalia are bought over the counter at Walmart and are completely legal to own. These forms of paraphernalia become illegal when they are used for the planting, distribution or usage of any illegal drug.
Some of the most common forms of drug paraphernalia are as follows:
For example, even though almost every household in America has Ziploc baggies in one of their kitchen drawers, Ziploc baggies are considered to be paraphernalia when they are found to have drug residues or are found with other items such as a scale which often indicates drug distribution.
According to A.R.S. 13-3415, when determining whether or not an object is actually drug paraphernalia, a court or other authority shall consider, in addition to all other logically relevant factors, the following:
1. Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use.
2. Prior convictions, if any, of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, under any state or federal law relating to any drug.
3. The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this chapter.
4. The proximity of the object to drugs.
5. The existence of any residue of drugs on the object.
6. Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, to deliver it to persons whom he knows, or should reasonably know, intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of this chapter.
7. Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use.
8. Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use.
A police officer will use each of the criteria listed above to determine whether or not the item that is in question is paraphernalia and if they decide that it is paraphernalia it will be their duty to prove it. Due to the burden of determining whether or not an item is paraphernalia being placed on police officers, it is wise to decline answering questions related to the paraphernalia and request an experienced attorney to be with you when being questioned.
If this is your first time being charged with a drug offense, there are aversion programs and laws preventing you from being sent to jail. Proposition 200 went into effect in the late 1990’s and serves as a form of protection for first time non-violent drug offenders and prevents them from facing any jail time at all.
Instead of facing jail time, first time and sometimes second time non-violent drug offenders can avoid jail time by being placed on probation and attending drug education classes.
The penalty for having drug paraphernalia can either be a class 6 felony or a misdemeanor depending on which court you are sent to. Both of these penalties can be severe, but a drug paraphernalia charge can be dismissed if the offender attends and passes a drug diversion program.
Throughout the diversion program offenders will be drug tested regularly as well as
The drug diversion program involves drug testing, counseling, drug abuse education and substance abuse support. Offenders who enter into this program must attend the classes and pass all drug screenings; if an offender fails to attend their classes or fails drug screenings they will face increased penalties.
Due to Arizona’s harsh laws on drug crimes, many individuals are often overcharged and incorrectly convicted. There are many successful defenses for drug paraphernalia ranging from being unaware that the item could be used for ingesting drugs to the item not belonging to you, so if you have been charged with possession of paraphernalia an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you with your case.
The experienced criminal law attorneys at JacksonWhite are ready to fight to get your penalties reduced as much as possible. We can also helped if you've been charged with possession of marijuana, DUI, possession of dangerous drugs, and more. Call us today at (480) 660-3438 for your free case review!