Narcotics Drug Crimes Attorney – Possession with Intent to Sell
In recent years, Arizona law enforcement has made an average of 30,000.00 drug arrests annually with nearly 50% of those narcotics offense related.
Local law enforcement agencies and officials are on high alert for enforcement of drug crimes after the Arizona Governor declared a State of Emergency for Arizona’s opioid epidemic June 5, 2017. The Maricopa County Attorney’s office works closely with local police and other law enforcement agencies to aggressively prosecute those who have violated Arizona drug laws.
Arizona laws and penalties for violation of narcotics crimes are harsh. But they are expected to get even tougher in the coming months of 2017 and 2018.
Narcotics laws and penalties are particularly harsh for possession with intent to sell, transport, manufacture, or distribute. Sentencing calls for long term prison terms and other penalties that have adverse impacts on a person’s life and future.
It is important that you consult an experienced drug defense attorney, if you have active charges in Mesa, Phoenix, and east valley cities, regarding your options for legal representation. James Novak of the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former Maricopa County Prosecutor for drug crimes.
Below are answers to important questions about narcotics laws, charges, and criminal defense representation:What is a Narcotic Drug?
A narcotic is a drug that that relieves pain, or induces drowsiness. Narcotics suppress the body’s central nervous with properties that make them highly addictive. Narcotics can be of synthetic or natural origin.
Under Arizona law A.R.S. 13-3401 (20) examples of narcotics include fentanyl, opium, heroin, morphine, or oxycodone. The statutory definition does not include marijuana or cocaine.Why was I charged with Narcotics Possession with Intent to Sell?
When police charge someone with narcotics possession for sale, it is because they believe the person plans or intends to sell it in violation of A.R.S. 13-3408 (A) (2).
The most common reason a person is charged with this is because of the quantity of narcotic involved in the crime. Police are of the assumption that the higher the quantity in the person’s possession the more likely it is that they plan to sell, transport or distribute the drug.
Other reasons police may have probable cause for arrest include law enforcement observations; statements; surveillance; recorded media; and other evidence from undercover police, informants, eye-witnesses, and co-defendants.What does the state need to prove to get a conviction for intent to sell narcotics?
A person is in violation of Arizona’s A.R.S. 13-3408 (A) (2) if they knowingly possess narcotics for the purpose of selling it.
The term “Possession” is defined under Arizona Law A.R.S.13-105 as either physically possessing something or otherwise having dominion or control over it.
To “sell” or “sale” is defined under Arizona A.R.S. 13 – 3401 (32) as an exchange of anything of value or benefit, presently or in the future.
Under the Arizona Revised Jury Instructions, jurors will be advised that in order to find the defendant guilty the prosecution must show the following:
- The defendant was knowingly was in possession of the narcotics;
- The defendant knew or should have known the drugs in their possession were narcotics;
- The defendant knew or should have known the narcotics in their possession were for sale.
The state must prove each of these three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction.What are the penalties for narcotics possession for sale?
Penalties for intent to sell, sales, distribute, transportation, or manufacturing drugs are more severe than penalties for possession of narcotics for use.
Charges involving narcotics amounts below the statutory threshold, call for prison sentences that range from 1.5 years minimum to 3 years maximum. If mitigating factors apply sentences may be reduced to 1.1 years. If aggravated factors apply the maximum sentence may be raised to 3.7 year prison terms.
Penalties for convictions involving amounts below the threshold amount for possession of narcotics for sale, range from 4 year minimum to 10 years maximum prison terms. Mitigated sentencing factors can reduce the minimum down to 3 years. Aggravated factors will raise the ceiling to 12.5 years prison.
For convictions involving possession of narcotic crimes that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amounts in violation of A.R.S. 13-3419, the defendant will not be eligible for probation. Further, defendants convicted of narcotic crimes that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amounts for three or more drug offenses, will not be eligible for mitigated sentencing ranges.
Under Arizona felony sentencing for restitution and fines A.R.S. 13-801, an individual can be fined an amount deemed necessary by the court up to a maximum of $150,000.00.
Under A.R.S. 13-803, an enterprise may be fined an amount deemed necessary by the court for restitution and fines up to a maximum of one million dollars.
Other penalties that may apply include fees, assessments, felony criminal record, and court ordered drug screening and treatment program.What does it mean to be in constructive possession of drugs?
Arizona law A.R.S. 13-105, a person is described as being in possession of something if they willfully have control or dominion of that property.
For purposes of drug offenses, possession not only means actual possession, but constructive possession as well.
Constructive possession refers to situations where the drugs are located elsewhere, but in a place in which the suspect willfully has access, dominion, and control.
The U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona courts, and other courts throughout the country have held that being in constructive possession of illegal drugs has the same impact for purposes of prosecution as being in actual possession of the drugs.What defenses can be used for narcotics possession with intent to sell Mesa AZ?
There are a number of defenses that can be used to defend drug charges based on the circumstances surrounding the incident and arrest.
You should hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to make these challenges and defend your charges on your behalf.
Below are 10 common defenses that may be utilized to challenge your charges depending on the circumstances that apply to the charges for which you have been accused:
- You were not knowingly in possession of the drugs - A.R.S. 13 – 3407 (A)
- Entrapment – A.R.S. 13- 206 (A),& (B)
- Unlawful search and seizure – U.S. Constitution 4th Amendment
- No probable cause for arrest – U.S. Constitution 4th Amendment
- Challenges to quantity of drug in your possession – A.R.S. 13 - 36
- Duress – A.R.S. 13 – 412
- Quantity did not equal or exceed Threshold Amount (A.R.S. 13-3419 (A) (3) (4)
- Defendant was not capable of committing the crime A.R.S. – 201
- Mistake of fact – A.R.S. – 204
- Burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt not met A.R.S – 115
James Novak of the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC is a qualified criminal defense attorney, with over 20 years of litigation experience. Attorney James Novak advocates early retention and a proactive defense. If retained he will make you’re your rights and defenses are preserved and work proactively to see the best outcome to resolve your charges. You can reach James Novak direct for representation through the contact form on this website, or calling (480) 413-1499.What should I do if police question me or arrest me for a narcotics crime?
You have Constitutional rights that afford you the right to be free of self-crimination. If police contact you to question you about your possible involvement in a drug crime, you do not have to speak with them about the matter. Keep in mind that if you answer any questions it may only serve to harm you. This is likely the case even if you were not involved at all.
In this case, if you can simply invoke your right to remain silent by politely advising the officer that you wish to do so. At that point, it would be a good idea to consult an experienced drug defense attorney regarding the incident.
If police decide to arrest you, there is usually no chance they will change their mind. So you should not challenge the arrest or argue with the officer. Simply remain cooperative and comply with lawful instructions. Failure to respond to routine questions regarding your identity, or challenging the arrest will only serve to make things worse. This could increase your risk of harm by the officer, as well as result in additional criminal charges.
Keep in mind these 5 important rights if you have if you are arrested or contacted by police regarding alleged involvement in a crime, or if you are arrested:
- You have the right to remain silent;
- Your right to be free of unlawful search and seizures;
- You have the right to be free of self-crimination;
- You have the right to due process and to pleading not guilty;
- You have the right to an attorney to represent you.
James Novak is an experienced drug defense attorney who defends those accused of crimes in Mesa AZ, Chandler AZ, Phoenix AZ, and east valley cities. the jurisdiction where the alleged offense occurred, to discuss your options for defense. If you were arrested or face active drug charges contact James Novak through this website, or call (480) 413-1499 today.Criminal Defense Attorney for Narcotics Charges Mesa AZ
An arrest is not a conviction. It is simply the beginning of the criminal justice process. It does not mean you will be found guilty of the charges that have been brought against you. You have the right to retain a qualified criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and to defend your charges.
If your constitutional rights have been violated, or the evidence is invalid, a motion can be filed with the court to suppress the evidence to make sure it cannot be used against you. When material evidence is suppressed, it often leads to a dismissal or acquittal of charges.
Deferred prosecution is another option for getting charges dismissed. It is a pre-trial diversion program that enables you to get obtain rehabilitation as an alternative to being prosecuted for the charges. After successful participation and completion in the program, your charges will be dismissed.
Certain types of charges such as dangerous or aggravated offenses are not eligible for the programs, and defendants do not always qualify due to prior criminal history.
For these reasons it is important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney like James Novak to work to help you qualify to participate in a voluntary pre-trial diversion program.
If the drug charges cannot be dismissed and you cannot be accepted into a deferred prosecution program, the prosecution will usually ask you to enter into a voluntary plea agreement.
The purpose of a plea agreement is to avoid the need of a trial, thereby reducing costs, resources, and court caseloads.
While it serves the court, it also allows the defendant to reduce the uncertainties of trial, and helps them to avoid maximum sentencing. The terms can be negotiated in an effort to reduce or eliminate prison terms, sentencing, penalties, and obtain other favorable terms for the defendant.
Any terms agreed upon in the plea bargain, by the defendant and prosecution must be approved by the court in order for them to be valid.
James Novak of the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC is an experienced drug defense attorney and former prosecutor. If retained he will evaluate your case, gather all evidence the prosecution plans to use against you, and if available will gather evidence that will help your defense. He will work closely with you to determine the best defense strategy and work to get you the best possible resolution for your charges.
If your charges were in Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, or surrounding East Valley Cities, James Novak, qualified criminal defense attorney offers a free initial consultation. He will speak directly to you regarding your matter, and provide you with your options for criminal defense representation. If you were arrested for any drug crimes, contact or call experienced drug defense attorney, James Novak at (480) 413-1499.