In Arizona, the possession or use of marijuana is a criminal offense. However, because cannabis comes in many forms, it can sometimes be difficult to parse out what’s legal to have and what’s not. Generally, anything containing marijuana is illegal in the state of Arizona; this includes not just marijuana leaves themselves, but THC concentrates and other forms of marijuana as well. It is also worth noting that a marijuana charge can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how many charges you’ve had in the past and how much marijuana is found at the time of your arrest.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with possession or use of marijuana, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony amount, it’s important that you know your rights.

Potential Punishments

While marijuana is the most widely used drug in the United States(and some states have even legalized it), the fact remains that its use or possession is still illegal in Arizona.

Generally, the first one or two times you’re charged with marijuana use or possession, you will not serve any prison time. In fact, Arizona is unique in that its laws prevent first- and even second-time offenders from being punished with prison time until their third conviction. Still, you can face some pretty hefty penalties and fines with even a first-time conviction on a small amount of marijuana. More than likely, you’ll automatically be placed on probation (the length of time you’ll be on probation can vary greatly) and be required to complete some kind of drug treatment. You will also likely be fined several hundred dollars. From there, if you violate your probation, you could serve as much as six months in jail.

Third-time convictions in Arizona are treated as felonies, and the more marijuana you’re caught with, the higher class of felony you are likely to be charged with. These convictions can carry much more serious sentences, including fines totaling nearly $1,000 and several years in prison.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you have been charged with possession or use of marijuana, the best thing you can do for yourself is to retain an experienced attorney to assist in your defense. After all, there are numerous potential defenses for possession or use of marijuana. For example, often times, a person with this charge may have been unaware that there was marijuana in the vehicle or home where the drugs were found. This could be a “lack of knowledge” defense, and can be especially useful in situations where there were many other people at the premises. For those charged with use of marijuana, careful and skilled cross examination of the officer who made the arrest can also be useful. In some cases, it may be able possible to successfully challenge claims made by the officer that he or she observed signs of marijuana use or smelled it in the vehicle.

These are just a couple of potential defenses that an experienced attorney may be able to assist with in court. Furthermore, even in situations where a conviction is likely, an attorney will work to reach a plea deal with the prosecutor whenever possible, which may reduce the amount of jail time or other penalties associated with the conviction itself.

Being charged with the use of possession of marijuana can have far-reaching consequences for your future, so it’s important to have an attorney on your side defending your rights and protecting your best interests. Schedule your free consultation and case evaluation by giving our law office a call today; we’re here to help.


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