In Arizona, “Possession of Drug Paraphernalia,” is defined under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3415 as “unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body a drug.”
Under the statute, it is also “unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used” by someone for any of the above listed things.
Watch this short video where David explains Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Arizona:
Want to speak with a Phoenix drug lawyer about your case? Contact DM Cantor if you have been charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Our offices are available 24 hours a day at 602-307-0808 for a Free Consultation.
Possible Punishment to Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is charged as a class six (6) felony. However, under Proposition 200 (i.e. “Prop 200″) if convicted of a first or second non-violent possession or use of drug or drug paraphernalia offense, you cannot get prison or jail. You can only be sentenced to probation. However, if you fail on probation, you can be taken into custody and forced to sit from 2 to 4 weeks in jail, until the judge reinstates your probation and releases you. Normally, we can resolve these charges by either pleading them down to a misdemeanor (which can carry up to six (6) months in jail if you violate probation), or to a “TASC” resolution.
TASC is an Adult Deferred Prosecution Program which takes 3-6 months to complete. It will involve one (1) random urine test per month; one (1) three-hour drug and alcohol abuse education seminar held on a Saturday; and fees of anywhere from $300-$700. The TASC admissions people are very selective on whom they allow into these programs, and it is very important to have an experience attorney with you to help facilitate a “TASC offer”. At DM Cantor, our drug crime lawyers have dealt many times with the TASC admissions personnel and we can easily assist you from admission to completion of this program. Once it is complete, your record will reflect a total dismissal of the Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge.
If a defendant has already undergone the TASC program, or they have been previously convicted of a drug charge, then they are deemed to be “TASC ineligible”. However, a person is still “Prop 200″ eligible if they only have one (1) prior low level drug conviction, or they have only done TASC one (1) prior time. A defendant is ineligible for “Prop 200″ probation only sentencing, and is susceptible to jail and or prison time if the prior drug conviction was for sale or transportation of drugs, promoting prison contraband, or driving while under the influence of drugs, or any methamphetamine drug related charges. Additionally, if the prosecutor does find that you have two prior felony drug convictions, regardless of the type, then they will not allow you to be Prop 200 eligible for a third offense.
If the defendant is not Prop 200 eligible, then he will be sentenced to a class six (6) felony conviction with the following:
- On a first offense a class six (6) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to 1 year in jail, or prison of 4 months to 2 years of incarceration.
- If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is 9 months to 2.75 years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is 2.25 to 5.75 years of incarceration.
Beware: Even if you received probation for your previous two felony Possession charges, they still count as prior historical felonies, and upon your third conviction, you will face a very high prison range sentence.
Possible Defenses for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
The most important argument in defending against Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charges is that the “illicit” object was not drug paraphernalia because it was not being used to for anything to do with drugs. There are many perfectly legal reasons that a person would have in their possession an object that could be used to do drugs. For example, people can have pipes to smoke tobacco, or sheesha (flavored tobacco), which are perfectly legal products. Just because some people might use a pipe to smoke other illegal drugs does not mean that the defendant was using it to do such activities. Under the statute, in determining whether the object is drug paraphernalia, evidence will be presented by the prosecutor as to statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use, prior convictions of an owner, the proximity of the object to any drugs, the existence of any residue of drugs on the object, and direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner. It is important for the defense to present our own evidence as to all of these factors, to challenge the prosecution’s assertions.
Additionally, we must present evidence that the defendant did not “knowingly” possess any drug paraphernalia (i.e., “Lack of Knowledge”). Many times we can demonstrate that what was found in a person’s vehicle or inside their house or apartment was left behind by somebody else like a roommate, friend, family member, or guest. The defendant was completely unaware that there was paraphernalia in the area.
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 fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; 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 Drug Paraphernalia lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case. Be sure you review our Possession of Drug Paraphernalia case victories.