Heroin Possession with Intent to Sell

Veteran Maricopa County Criminal Defense Lawyer Aggressively Defending Clients Charged With Drug Possession for Sale

Arizona police, prosecutors and judges all take an incredibly harsh stance when it comes to heroin possession. While simple possession of heroin is a serious felony crime, those who have been charged with heroin possession with intent to sell face much more severe sentences if convicted. In large part, this is due to the tens of thousands of lives lost each year due to the opioid epidemic. In fact, in Arizona alone, more than 1,500 people die each year from heroin overdoses, making heroin distribution a top priority for law enforcement in Maricopa County.

At the Law Offices of James E. Novak, we are committed to providing you with the vigorous defense that you need to overcome the charges you face, regardless of the seriousness of the crimes you’ve been charged with. Attorney James Novak has extensive experience successfully handling clients’ cases involving heroin possession with intent to sell and knows what it takes to secure the best possible outcome in even the toughest cases.

Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3407, it’s against the law to possess any drug, including heroin, with the intent to sell it. To prove a case of possession with intent to sell heroin, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • The substance in your possession was heroin;
  • You knowingly possessed the drugs; and
  • You had the intent to sell the heroin.

However, the prosecution is allowed to take certain “shortcuts” or, legally speaking, certain inferences and presumptions can make the prosecutor’s job a bit easier. For example, the prosecution doesn’t need to prove that the heroin was on your person or in your belongings. Instead, they can argue that you constructively possessed the heroin. This typically comes up when police officers find drugs in a stash location or a place where multiple people have access to them.

Prosecutors are also permitted to argue that you possessed heroin with the intent to sell it if you possessed over a certain amount of the drug. This amount is referred to as the “threshold amount.” Currently, under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3401, the threshold amount for heroin is one gram.

Thus, if you possess one gram or more of heroin, you’ll very likely be charged with heroin possession with intent to sell—even if there was no evidence you intended to sell the heroin. The idea behind this presumption is that if you have more than one gram of heroin, it’s unlikely that you possessed it for personal use.

What is the Punishment for Possession of Heroin With the Intent to Sell?

Under Arizona law, possession with intent to sell any narcotic drug is considered a Class 2 felony. This means that, if convicted, you’ll face a presumptive sentence of 5 years in prison, with most sentences falling between 4 to 10 years. However, the court is permitted to consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances, which could result in a sentence between 3 to 12.5 years. These penalties are for a first offense; if you have a prior felony conviction, your potential sentence could be significantly higher. For example, the presumptive sentence for someone with a previous drug felony is 9 years and 4 months.

Given these harsh sentences, it is imperative to consult with an experienced Phoenix drug crimes lawyer as soon as you learn you are charged related to heroin possession with intent to sell.

Have You Been Charged With a Drug Felony in Maricopa County?

If you were recently arrested and charged with the possession of heroin with the intent to sell, your next move should be to reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak. At our Phoenix criminal defense firm, we take pride in defending the rights and freedoms of clients facing serious and potentially life-changing allegations. We take a no-holds-barred approach to every case we handle, considering every possible avenue before creating a strategic defense designed to minimize the impact your recent arrest has on the rest of your life. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with our Phoenix shoplifting lawyer today, call 480-413-1499. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.