A drug possession charge doesn’t make you an addict, in the same way that drinking on the weekend doesn’t make you an alcoholic. But, cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and if your habit is more than just a recreational habit, a possession charge could present you with a chance to get some help.
In Arizona, any drug possession charge is taken very seriously. And cocaine possession is one of the more serious. It is a Schedule II substance under federal and state law, which means it is considered to have a high potential for abuse, so the law treats it accordingly.
The stakes are high and you face both jail time and the designation as a convicted felon. When you work closely with a local defense lawyer, your chances of walking out of court unscathed may be improved.
Whether through a plea agreement or getting the charges dismissed, we can work with you to get you the best results possible.
Arizona Cocaine Possession – Laws & Penalties
Possession of cocaine is a Class 4 felony charge under Arizona law. This means you could spend up to 3 & 3/4 years months in prison if convicted, assuming you don’t have any prior felony convictions. Rarely, however, are people sentenced to the maximum for a cocaine possession charge.
You don’t have to have drugs in your pocket or on you to be charged with their possession, despite what you might have thought before your arrest. “Possession” means it has to be within your control. That could be in your glove box, in your home, or under your seat. A lot of drug busts are the result of traffic stops when there is something visible in the car, like a pipe on the console.
If a friend drops a bag of cocaine when they see the police coming, and the cocaine is within your reach, you could be charged with possession even if the drugs weren’t yours. The police will often choose to arrest anyone “suspected” of being involved. That’s why an arrest is not a prosecution, and there are always defenses.
Arizona Cocaine Possession Legal Defense Strategies
The good news is, you still have options. Being charged isn’t the same as being convicted and a defense lawyer knows how to represent your best interests by working to mitigate the effects this charge has on your life.
Even for cocaine possession, Arizona lawmakers have built in a lenient option for first-time offenders. If you have never been charged with a drug crime before, you could be eligible for deferred prosecution.
This means the state will suspend your case, in essence, while you go through a period of probation. If you successfully complete the probation, the charges will be dropped. However, if you violate the terms of the probation, you will be prosecuted.
This is your second chance.
Fighting the Possession Charges
One of the most common defense strategies in a cocaine possession case is to challenge the search that led to your arrest. The police make mistakes all the time, and may not have probable cause to search you. If they didn’t or if they violated your rights in another way while conducting the search, we can file a motion to suppress. It the evidence they found could be inadmissible in court, and your charges ultimately dropped.
The right defense strategy for your case depends on the details surrounding your arrest. If you’re facing charges of cocaine possession in Arizona, contact me today for a free case evaluation and some advice on what to do next.