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Are Some Drugs Worse Than Others?

Posted on May 14, 2019 in drugs

In the world of Arizona criminal law, not all drugs are treated equally.  Depending on the drug involved in your case and what you did with it, the penalties vary wildly across the board.

If you’re charged with a drug offense in Arizona, the first thing you should know about is Proposition 200.  Proposition 200 provides for mandatory probation for drug offenses in most instances.  There are some exceptions, but if this is your first or second drug offense, you’ve not been convicted of a violent crime, and the drug involved is not methamphetamine, you will get probation.

So what’s up with meth?  Meth was seen as the scourge of Arizona streets, much like the opiate pandemic is seen today.  Proposition 200 was modified to take away protections that it offers for those who are charged with possession of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is a Dangerous Drug under Arizona law.  So is LSD.  A conviction for personal possession of either one of those drugs will lead to a Class 4 Felony on your record.  But, if you are otherwise covered by Proposition 200, the judge at your sentencing is not allowed to send you to prison for possessing LSD, even if you have prior felony convictions which would otherwise mandate a prison sentence.  With methamphetamine, those protections don’t apply.

This trend of harsher sentences for methamphetamine continues with possession for sale.  If you possess for sale a small amount of marijuana, for example, under the “threshold” amount, say 6 ounces, then you can be charged with a Class 4 Felony and face 1 year to 3.75 years in prison or up to 4 years of probation.  But, if you possess for sale even a gram of methamphetamine, if convicted you will be convicted of a Class 2 Felony and be required to serve a prison sentence of 5 years to 15 years; no probation would be available and the prison time is “flat” time, meaning you must serve every day of your sentence.

Methamphetamine stands apart in this way.  While personal possession of Marijuana is a Class 6 Felony, personal possession of most other drugs is a Class 4 Felony.  It’s in the mandatory sentencing that methamphetamine is different.

If you are facing a drug charge in Arizona, remember that you are facing a felony.  A felony conviction can lead to serious consequences and a permanent criminal record, apart from any punishment that a judge may impose.  Don’t face those consequences by yourself – contact the attorneys at AZ Defenders for a free consultation by calling 480-456-6400 or contacting us online.

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