To say that drug sentencing laws in Arizona are complicated is certainly an understatement. There are plenty of guidelines, mandatory minimums, and judicial discretion to contend with. Two felons who are convicted for a similar drug offense, for instance, may not receive the same sentence, depending on a number of factors. These include:
Depending on how these factors turn out, the court can order a sentence that may range from pre-conviction diversion program to fines or even lengthy prison terms.
In the state of Arizona, a felony may be punishable by a prison term of 1 year or more. The state categorizes general crimes under 5 felony classes. These are Classes 2 to 6, with each class having 5 possible sentences:
The law provides a different treatment for first-time and second-time offenders. The case may be eligible for sentencing under Proposition 200. The case may be brought to a drug court. In this arrangement, the prosecutor will consent to drop the case once the offender completes a drug rehab program. When an offender, on the other hand, habitually sells or possesses large quantities of drugs, the court may sentence the person to a long prison term.
When handing out sentences, the court also considers the amount of drugs involved, as well as whether there was the intent to sell or distribute drugs. Harsher penalties are also imposed for some drugs over others. Compared to marijuana, dangerous drugs including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription drugs get stiffer sentences.
The judge is mandated to consider 6 mitigating factors when deciding on a sentence. These include:
The court may also additional time to a sentence if there are aggravating factors in the crime. Although some of these may not apply to a drug offense, aggravating factors include:
Sentencing for drug cases in Arizona can be complicated. Thus, if you’re facing any type of criminal charge, and need a lawyer for your defense, contact the offices of Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law for drug charges, right away. Initial consultation is free.