Drug Crimes Defenses

Tempe Defense Lawyers for Drug Crimes Charges

There are many different drugs that have been criminalized in Arizona. Prosecutors take possession, sales, and manufacturing of illicit drugs seriously. Depending on the kind of drug involved and your criminal history, you could face significant jail time and fines, along with other penalties. If you need an effective drug crimes defense, you should call the seasoned Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who now puts his insights towards make sure his clients have the best possible defense to criminal charges involving drugs.

Drug Crimes Defenses

Chapter 13 of Arizona Revised Statutes criminalizes various conduct in connection with controlled substances. These include drug possession and trafficking charges including possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a dangerous drug for sale, transportation of a dangerous drug or sales of a dangerous drug, possession of a narcotic drug, sales of narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia such as chemicals for manufacturing, manufacturing, and administration of a drug.

When a certain quantity of controlled dangerous substances is seized, they are presumptive of sales; each drug has a different threshold amount at which the presumption is applicable. You could face a mandatory prison term if convicted even if it was the first time you were charged and even if you didn’t actually sell the substance or intend to sell it.

There are several different classes of prohibited drugs in Arizona, including dangerous drugs, prescription drugs, narcotic drugs, and more. What needs to be proven in criminal charges depends on the specific drug crime charged. If you’re charged with possession of dangerous drugs, for example, the government will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you: (1) knowingly, (2) possessed a dangerous drug, and (3) that the substance you possessed was, in fact, the dangerous drug in question.

Reasonable Doubt

Regardless of the specific drug crime being charged, the prosecutor will need to establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The best defense may involve raising reasonable doubt with the jury. We may be able to raise reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the particular drug crime being charged. For example, if the State alleges constructive possession, we may be able to show that other people also had access to the place where the alleged drugs were stored; this can raise reasonable doubt about whether the police fingered the right person.

Sometimes the prosecution’s evidence has issues that could give rise to a strong defense. It may be appropriate to show procedural issues, such as that the chain of custody of the drugs themselves was broken such that the prosecutor can’t reliably prove the drugs it is presenting as evidence are the same drugs seized at the crime scene.

Generally, prosecutors must establish the fact that a substance was a dangerous drug by presenting lab testing results and testimony by a forensic scientist. Our lawyers may be able to build a defense by poking holes in the test results or calling into question the credibility of the forensic scientist, or by presenting evidence from our own expert.


Entrapment exists when law enforcement officers initiate the idea of perpetrating a crime and then induce a defendant into perpetrating it. If you were not predisposed to committing the drug crime prior to officers convincing you to do so, there may be entrapment. In order to raise this defense, our lawyers would need to help you admit to the drug crime, so that we could show the officers persuaded you to perpetrate it.

Confidential Informant

It may be appropriate to defend your case by providing information to law enforcement officers about another person who took part in the behavior that is being charged as a drug crime. This is a delicate defense, and it is crucial our lawyers manage the situation carefully. When useful information is provided to law enforcement officers about a drug crime, it may be possible to secure a dismissal or plea deal.

Hire an Aggressive Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

A Tempe criminal defense lawyer gives you the best possible chance of having a good outcome in your drug crimes case. James E. Novak represents those accused in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.