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Chandler Drug Crime Lawyer

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Chandler Drug Crime Attorney

The state takes drug crimes very seriously, whether it be usage, possession, or sale of illegal narcotics. As such, the state has enacted detailed laws to curtail drug use and enhance law enforcement’s leverage over controlled substance users, sellers, manufacturers, and traffickers. For certain drugs, even the possession of relatively small amounts carries mandatory prison sentences.

If you are facing drug charges, you need a forceful criminal defense attorney on your side. A Chandler drug lawyer from the Grand Canyon Law Group could take an aggressive stance with prosecutors, which may be necessary to minimize the long-term impact that these charges could have on your life. En Español.


As of 2023, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana purchased from a licensed dispensary solely for personal use is legal in Arizona, and possession of between one and 2.5 ounces of marijuana, is a petty offense punishable by a maximum $100 fine without any threat of probation or jail time. Possession of other controlled substances—as well as illegal drug paraphernalia, like syringes—is still technically categorized as a Class 6 felony. The recent passage of “Proposition 200” says first-time and second-time offenders convicted of simple drug possession can only be fined for a misdemeanor offense and sentenced to probation if they complete mandatory drug abuse treatment instead of prison time.

Importantly, though, being found in possession of more than a “threshold amount” of certain controlled substances will usually result in police assuming an “intent to distribute” and pursuing more serious felony charges. In general, possessing more than $1,000 worth of any controlled substance can be treated as intent to distribute, but certain types of drugs have specific threshold amounts which can lead to this sort of charge for a person in Chandler. These thresholds include nine grams or more of cocaine, or two pounds or more of marijuana.


State law treats both the selling and distribution, and the manufacturing or cultivating of controlled substances as high-level felony offenses. That includes marijuana, if it is done outside a licensed dispensary. In particular, the law imposes harsher sanctions on people convicted of distributing and manufacturing “dangerous” and “narcotic” drugs compared to those accused of doing the same with other categories of controlled substances, such as peyote, inhalants, and unlawfully obtained prescription drugs.

Finally, trafficking of controlled substances into or out of the state of the state is generally treated more harshly than any other type of drug charge in Chandler. First-time offenders are often subject to multiple years of imprisonment upon conviction. Each case is unique, so it is always worth discussing the best approach to a specific allegation with our knowledgeable lawyers.

Many states across the country have significantly relaxed their laws dealing with the possession of controlled substances for personal use, and fortunately for residents of Arizona, our state is part of that group. That said, the law has not changed its approach to other types of drug charges in Chandler at all, and most offenses other than simple possession are still categorized as serious felonies.

Understanding the difference between the various drug charges codified in the Arizona Revised Statutes will be an important step towards contesting any more specific allegations you may be facing. Here is a brief guide to the different drug offenses someone can be charged with, all of which our seasoned drug defense lawyer can help you build a strong case defense against.


When drugs are discovered on or near a person, police officers determine the charges depending on what drugs are found and how much they weigh. Past criminal history and whether the drugs appear to be for personal consumption or sale will also affect the severity of the charges. If drug paraphernalia is also found, this can be used as evidence of trafficking or possession with the intent to distribute.

Arizona sentencing guidelines assign threshold limits to illicit drugs, with higher limits penalized more harshly. The threshold limits for some of the most common drugs include the following:

  • Methamphetamine and amphetamine, nine grams
  • Cocaine, nine grams for a powder and 750 milligrams for crack
  • LSD, one-half a milliliter if liquid and 50 dosages in blotter form
  • Marijuana, two pounds
  • PCP, four grams or 50 milliliters

A seasoned Chandler attorney can explain the sentencing guidelines and penalties based on the amount and type of drug involved in the case.


Arizona law offers some alternatives to jail time for first-time and some second-time offenders charged with personal possession of a controlled substance. Check with our Chandler attorneys to discuss the drug penalties that may apply to a specific case.

Under Prop 200, codified as Arizona Revised Statute § 13-901.01, those convicted of first-time drug possession for personal use will receive probation instead of incarceration if they have no violent offenses on their record. Second-time offenders can also be placed on probation but may be sentenced to jail time.


Possession of scheduled narcotics or other dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine, LSD, and PCP are Class 4 felonies and Class 2 felonies if they were for sale. Class 4 felonies in which the drugs do not exceed the threshold are punishable by 1.1 to 3.7 years in prison for second and subsequent offenses. If the threshold is exceeded, third and subsequent offenses are punishable by 1.1 to 6.2 years in prison.

Class 3 felonies below the threshold come with a 1.8 to 8.7-year prison sentence; this can increase to 11.2 years for a third or subsequent offense exceeding the threshold amount. Class 2 felonies in which the drug is below the threshold are punishable by three to 12.5 years for a second or subsequent offense and up to 15 years for a third or subsequent offense exceeding the threshold.

Fines, surcharges, and drug counseling are also part of sentencing, which a knowledgeable attorney at our firm can explain.


Prosecutors do not want to bring charges if a conviction is not likely. For many drug investigations, a local attorney can detect flaws in the case long before it goes to trial. If prosecutors have doubts about whether they can get a conviction, they might agree to lesser charges or penalties, or drop the charges completely.

In many criminal cases, a defendant can use the issue of violation of their Constitutional rights as a defense. This could be an effective line of defense in drug cases, as there is often uncertainty around whether police had probable cause for the search that resulted in the charges being filed.

Drug possession charges require a prosecutor to prove that the substance was illegal and that the defendant knew they had an illegal substance under their control. Prosecutors must establish both these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. Depending on the circumstances, a trustworthy legal professional could raise the question of whether the defendant realized that illegal drugs were present.


There are some drug laws unique to the area, which a lawyer in Chandler would understand and could navigate in the defendant’s favor. For example, some residents use peyote, an otherwise illegal drug, for religious purposes. In this scenario, religious use would be a defense to possession of peyote as long as it does not pose a threat to public morals or safety.

One particularly harsh aspect of the state’s drug laws is that prosecutors can charge someone with intent to sell based on the quantity of drugs they possessed, even with no other evidence of their intentions. The quantity of controlled substances required to trigger the intent to sell presumption is relatively small. Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13 §3401 defines the minimum quantity of illegal drugs a person must possess to be charged with intent to sell, depending on the substance. These are:

  • Heroin—1 gram
  • Cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine—9 grams (750 milliliters for cocaine base or hydrolyzed cocaine)
  • PCP—4 grams or 50 milliliters
  • LSD—0.5 milliliters or 50 doses of blotter
  • Marijuana—2 pounds
  • For substances not listed, a quantity with a value of at least $1000

Conviction on a charge of intent to sell carries mandatory prison time, even for people with no prior criminal record. A defense attorney in the community could give a defendant the best chance at persuading prosecutors or a jury that such a dire outcome is inappropriate in their given case.


Many drug crimes carry mandatory minimum terms of incarceration. Even a misdemeanor conviction that does not result in jail time could have long-term consequences for a defendant’s future employment, housing options, child custody, and other important aspects of life.

If you are facing drug charges, call the Grand Canyon Law Group immediately. A savvy Chandler drug lawyer could stand up to prosecutors on your behalf and protect your future.

Arizona is one of the toughest states in the country when it comes to punishing people for drug crimes. In addition to jail time and significant fines, you face a conviction on your criminal record that can affect your future opportunities.

Chandler drug penalties vary depending on your criminal history and other aggravating and mitigating factors. Let a knowledgeable attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group help you understand the sentencing guidelines and navigate the criminal justice system.

Although state drug laws are stringent, you have options for fighting the charges and minimizing the penalties you face. Working with a lawyer on a strong defense strategy is the best way to protect your future against severe consequences.

The main thing you must do is ask for help. Drug convictions will follow you in all aspects of your life and affect your relationships, job opportunities, and rights. Discuss your options for avoiding Chandler drug penalties with an experienced attorney.

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