Maricopa County Drug Crimes Defense

Maricopa County is a very large county located in southern Arizona. Its county seat is Phoenix. Maricopa County, like other parts of Arizona, is known for being tough on crime, particularly drug trafficking. Some punishments can be extreme, and Arizona's prison population has grown fast over the past decade (at about five times the rate of the state's total population growth). One out of 159 people in Arizona is incarcerated, according to the U.S. Census and Arizona Department of Corrections. Considering these facts, it is crucial to have an experienced Maricopa County drug crimes attorney like James Novak on your side if you are charged with a drug offense.

Drug Trafficking and Smuggling in Maricopa County

Illegally importing or transporting controlled substances like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or hallucinogens can lead to a drug trafficking charge. Arizona is the second leading state for total quantity of illegal drugs seized in the nation. Drug trafficking and smuggling charges are harshly punished. The type of drug you are accused of smuggling or trafficking bears upon your potential sentence, as does the quantity.

Trafficking charges may be brought against someone who is caught dealing a large quantity of drugs. Under Arizona Revised Statute section 13-3407, an individual may not knowingly transport for sale, import, or offer to transport a "dangerous drug." An example of a "dangerous drug" is methamphetamine. Trafficking in methamphetamine is a class 2 felony in Arizona. The presumptive sentence for a first offense involving methamphetamine trafficking is 10 years.

If you are convicted, in addition to a term of incarceration, it is also likely that the sentencing judge will impose a hefty fine of the greater of $1,000 or three times the value of the dangerous drugs involved. You will also be required to get drug tested and perform community service. Property or vehicle forfeiture may also be required. Those that engage in high volume trafficking of dangerous drugs may face federal charges, which can result in even harsher penalties. A first federal offense of methamphetamine trafficking of 5 to 49 grams, for example, is punished with a mandatory minimum of 5 years in federal prison up to a maximum of 40 years.

Retain a Trustworthy Maricopa County Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

If you are a first offender charged with possessing a very small quantity of controlled substances, such as hallucinogens, an experienced Maricopa County drug crimes lawyer may be able to argue that you should be sent to an adult diversion program known as TASC rather than prison. TASC can last from 1 to 2 years, and it requires at least 6 months of group counseling, self-help meetings, drug and alcohol abuse education, and adherence to a drug testing schedule. It is not cheap; payment and fees are $2,000 or more. Moreover, the TASC admissions process is selective about who is an appropriate candidate for the program, which makes it important to have the help of a knowledgeable attorney. If you pass the program, your case will be dismissed, but you can only go through TASC one time. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form to schedule your free case evaluation today.