Drug possession offenses vary in terms of severity. In Arizona, certain circumstances can elevate the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Understanding the factors that contribute to felony drug possession charges helps those facing criminal charges navigate the legal landscape effectively.
Possession of dangerous or narcotic drugs
Possession of certain types of drugs automatically classifies the offense as a felony. Dangerous drugs and narcotic drugs include substances like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy. If an individual has even a small amount of these substances, he or she could face felony charges. Such charges lead to more severe legal consequences.
Possession of certain quantities
In addition to the type of drug, the quantity in possession can also help determine whether a drug possession charge becomes a felony. Arizona has specific thresholds for drug quantities. Exceeding these limits can result in felony charges. The intent to sell or distribute drugs, indicated by possession of a larger quantity, often leads to more severe legal repercussions.
Prior convictions and aggravating factors
A history of prior drug convictions can also elevate a current drug possession charge to a felony. Repeat offenses indicate a pattern of involvement with controlled substances. As a result, the legal system imposes harsher penalties. Certain aggravating factors, such as possessing drugs near a school, can also escalate the offense to a felony level.
Knowing the circumstances that lead to felony charges gives individuals facing drug charges a better sense of what is at stake. It also helps them make informed decisions when it comes to substance possession and use.