Cultivation of Marijuana in Arizona (A.R.S. §13-3405(A)(3))

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In Arizona, under A.R.S. §13-3405(A)(3), it is illegal to knowingly produce marijuana. “Cultivation of Marijuana” is usually accomplished by growing the plants in a hydroponic garden indoors or in a backyard planter.

Possible Punishments for Cultivation of Marijuana

Punishments for illegal cultivation of marijuana varies based upon the amount of dry weight. They range from the following:

  • If the amount of marijuana produced has a dried weight of less than two (2) pounds, it is considered a class five (5) felony.
    • A first offense class five (5) felony carries a potential punishment of probation with zero (0) days up to 1 year in jail, or prison of 6 months to 2.5 years in custody.
    • If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is 1 to 3.75 years of incarceration.
    • If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions then the “prison only” range is 3 years to 7.5 years of incarceration.
  • If the amount of marijuana produced has a dried weight of two to four (2-4) pounds, it is above the threshold amount and is classified as a class four (4) felony.
    • A first offense of this nature carries a mandatory prison sentence of anywhere from 1 year to 3.75 years incarceration.
    • If a defendant has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction, then the prison range jumps to 2.25 years to 7.5 years in prison.
    • If a defendant has two (2) allegeable historical prior felony convictions, the range is from 6 years to 15 years of incarceration.
  • If the dried weight is over four (4) pounds, it is a class three (3) felony and carries the following:
    • Mandatory prison range of 2 to 8.75 years in prison.
    • If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction then the “prison only” range is 3.5 years to 16.25 years of incarceration.
    • If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is 7.5 years to 25 years of incarceration.

Anyone convicted of producing marijuana must also pay a fine of $750.00.

Possible Defenses for Cultivation of Marijuana

Defenses to this charge of Cultivation of Marijuana would include the defendant’s lack of knowledge about the production. Examples where this defense would be appropriate include if the marijuana was growing outside in a garden or was tucked away in a corner of a yard, and the defendant was unaware of the plants’ presence. Sometimes this will occur in rental houses where the new tenant was unaware of what the old tenant was growing. Other times it will include a family member who is growing marijuana without the knowledge of the others who reside within the household. Sometimes the defense will be based purely on whether the plants were properly dried and cleared of dirt before they were weighed (i.e., do they really weigh more than two (2) pounds).

Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues.

Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Production of Marijuana lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.

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