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Drug Crimes

How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

In most cases, someone who is arrested will be taken into custody by law enforcement, processed into jail and then be formally charged with a crime before a judge during an arraignment hearing; but what happens if no formal charges are filed? Can the police hold you behind bars until they feel like taking action? How long do you have to wait before your case goes to trial? When should you involve a criminal defense attorney in your Arizona arrest case?

What Happens After an Arrest?

After an arrest, you are in a bit of a legal gray area. You have been taken into custody by law enforcement, but you have not been formally charged with a crime. As a result, you must remain in custody while awaiting charges for a period of time. If that time expires and you have not been charged, you must be released. While waiting, you will likely be brought before a magistrate judge who will determine your bail amount, if any. This differs from an arraignment in that, during an arraignment hearing, you are formally charged with a crime and are required to enter a plea. This is also when a trial date is set, and you will remain in jail until your trial.

If you are not charged within the hold period, you will not be arraigned, but a bail amount and the posting of bail may be required – see “how to post bail”. Once again, this is an area of legal limbo because you are still in jail while waiting to see what is going to happen, so you should contact your defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to ensure that you receive adequate representation from the start of the criminal justice process.

While Waiting in Jail:

  • Exercise your right against self-incrimination
  • Follow commands by law enforcement within legal boundaries
  • Contact your defense attorney
  • Know that you have not been formally charged with a crime until you have been arraigned

How Long Can You Be Held After an Arrest?

In Arizona, as well as in many other states, there is a limit of 48 hours after an arrest before formal charges have to be filed.

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When Does Possession of Marijuana Become Intent to Sell?

Possession of Marijuana Intent to Sell

Conviction of possession of marijuana or intent to sell charges lead to serious punishment in Arizona. Under state law, “marijuana” refers to any or all parts of the cannabis plant from which the resin has not been extracted. The plant may be growing, dead, or just in the form of unsterilized seeds capable of germination. Police and prosecutors work closely together to ensure as many convictions as possible are delivered on cases of possession or sale of these plants, with felony convictions resulting in jail time, prison, expensive fines and other penalties.


When Marijuana Possession Becomes Intent to Sell

Arizona Revised Statute, ARS 13-3405 states, “A person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana” or “possess marijuana for sale.” But what makes possession of marijuana “intent to sell?” The statute defines possession of marijuana for sale as meeting three standards beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You knowingly possessed marijuana
  • The substance is confirmed as marijuana
  • The possession is for the purpose of sale

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What are the Types of Arizona Felony Classes

Types of Arizona Felony Classes

Felony Class Types in Arizona

There are six levels of felony classes in Arizona. Each class has its own guidelines for punishment if convicted. When looking at sentencing, the law presumes that everyone will start at the presumptive sentence however, this sentence can be increased or decreased if mitigating or aggravating factors are found by the Judge or jury. The following sentencing ranges apply to a person with no prior felony convictions.

  • Class 1 – The only crime that falls under a Class 1 felony is murder. Murder charges are divided into two categories: First or Second Degree. First degree murder is punishable by the death penalty or by life in prison without parole. Second degree murder requires a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to a maximum sentence of 25 years.
  • Class 2 – A Class 2 felony allows for a minimum sentence in the Department of Corrections of three years. This can be increased to up to 12.5 years for aggravated. Probation, with up to one year in jail, is also available.
  • Class 3 – Class 3 felonies allows for a minimum of two years in prison with an aggravated sentence of up to 8.75 years. Probation is also available.
  • Class 4– If sentenced to prison on a Class 4 felony, you face anywhere between 1 to 3.75 years. Again, probation is available.
  • Class 5 – A Class 5 felony provides for a minimum of six months in prison however, can be increased to up to 2.5 years. Probation is available.
  • Class 6 – Although a Class 6 felony, an example could be a DUI in Phoenix, also allows for a probation sentence, if sentenced to prison the range allows for anywhere between .33 – 2 years.

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Drugged Driving Can Cause Serious Consequences

drugged dui accident

When the term “driving under the influence” is heard, the first thing that usually comes to mind is alcohol intoxication. But alcohol is only one of the countless substances that can impair an individual’s ability to drive. Driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications and illegal substance can cause severe consequences. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 10 million Americans drive under the influence of drugs each year, making up 18% of fatally injured drivers. Let’s examine the top three consequences that drugged driving can cause. (more…)


Pre-charge Investigation Stage Cases

‘Pre-charge’, also called the ‘Investigation Stage’ of a criminal case is the stage when someone is under observation for a criminal offense, but no formal action has been taken. When someone is involved in such a situation, it can have a significant negative impact on different areas of their life. This initial state precedes any formal charges. Usually, a person is considered to be involved in a pre-charge stage when they have been arrested by the law enforcement and have been questioned, but later released without facing any charges. This means that the person stands in imminent danger of getting arrested anytime if police find any evidence against them.

Even if the person has not been convicted, the arrest itself may be recorded and documented, which can have a negative impact on their personal life. Their story may make it to the newspaper headline, or it may be put up on any of the news reporting websites. The individual is stuck in the pre-charge stage after being arrested, until they are actually charged with the crime. Anyone who has been arrested in connection to a crime but was later released without charges, is advised to consult a qualified criminal defense attorney. (more…)


Cocaine Possession, For Sale: The Middle Man

In the state of Arizona, possession of drugs for sale and/or transportation for sale, are very serious charges.  The following is a common scenario in college environments:

21 year old Tim is a senior at a large Mid West university who is majoring in business and is in a fraternity.  One Friday night he and nine of his fraternity buddies know of a party going on that they want to attend.  One of Tim’s friends suggests that they all buy one gram of cocaine each to take during the night.  Tim knows a guy who sells cocaine but doesn’t feel comfortable being the middle man.  His friends all converse and nobody knows where to get the cocaine.  Even though he didn’t want to, Tim tells the guys that he knows somebody who deals coke.

Each of the guys gave Tim enough money for one gram of coke each.  With the money in hand Tim calls up his dealer and meets him to buy the cocaine.  The dealer gives Tim 10 individual one gram bags of coke to give to his friends.  Tim takes the cocaine and heads back to the fraternity house to give his friends their individual bags.

Tim is pulled over on the way home because he had a broken tail light.  Tim forgot that he did not cover the drugs in his backseat because he is not used to buying drugs.  The police officer sees the numerous baggies and asks Tim to step out of the car.  Tim thinks he will be fine because he knows it’s not all his but what Tim doesn’t know is that having more than 9 grams of cocaine is the legal threshold which turns his friendly pick up deed, into a possible 25 year prison sentence without parole.  Even though only one of the grams is his, he is now looking at possession of drugs for sale and/or transportation for sale.

If you need help with a situation like this or would like to read a possible defense for this scenario, visit our possession of drugs for sale and/or transportation for sale page and contact us immediately, at 602-307-0808.


Synthetic Drug Laws in Arizona

Guest Post by Lauren Williams, Legal Blogger for King Law Offices, Greenville, SC

 

Up until April 2013, the synthetic drug commonly known as “K2”, “Spice” or “bath salts” were legal in Arizona. While these drugs were labeled “not for human consumption”, they were marketed as a legal alternative to marijuana. An Arizona Criminal Justice Commission study found nearly 7% of 8th Graders, over 11% of 10th-graders and nearly 14% of 12th-graders had tried such synthetic drugs last year.

In April, House Bill 2327 was signed into law. This bill bans “any material, compound, mixture or preparation which contains any quantity of cannabimimetic substances and their salts, isomers… and salts of isomers”, putting “bath salts” alongside such dangerous drugs as cocaine and methamphetamines. Under the new law, persons in possession of synthetic drugs listed under the Arizona “Dangerous Drugs” statute would be treated just as if it were a marijuana possession. If the offender has not been arrested on federal drug charges prior to this charge, he or she will be eligible for probation and drug treatment.

 

Should the offender have had at least two prior felony drug convictions, the following applies:  

“Marijuana two (2) or more pounds, but less than four (4) pounds: class five (5) felony which carries mandatory prison from six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years of incarceration. If the defendant has one (1) allegeable historical prior felony conviction, then a second offense felony would require prison of anywhere from one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration. If the defendant has two (2) allegeable historical prior felony convictions, then a third offense felony would require prison anywhere from three (3) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration.”

 

Defendants charged with selling, delivering or distributing synthetic drugs will face much harsher penalties, in line with penalties for intent to sell or distribute marijuana. Federal law already prohibits the sale of these synthetic drugs, both online and in retail stores.

Have you been charged with possession of synthetic marijuana in Arizona? Call us to schedule a free consultation for your case. Our offices can be reached 24 hours a day at (602) 307-0808 or via email.


DUI Charge with Marijuana in Arizona

The Court of Appeals in Arizona ruled in February 2013 that upholds the right of prosecutors to move forward with charges against marijuana smokers in the state for driving under the influence regardless of the presence of physical evidence. As reported by the Associated Press, authorities in Arizona need only blood test or urine sample results showing the presence of chemical compounds known to be in marijuana as present in the body at the time of arrest. Regardless of your level of impairment, or how long ago you may have used marijuana, police can arrest you for driving under the influence. Any amount of marijuana or its metabolites in your system could be sufficient to bring marijuana DUI charges in Arizona. A DUI for Marijuana charge can also be known as one of  the following: Metabolite DUI, Pot DUI, or Weed DUI.

Impairment to the Slightest Degree

To prove that you were under the influence of marijuana at the time of your traffic stop, authorities must show what is known in Arizona law as “impairment to the slightest degree.” In other words, prosecutors must show marijuana use impaired your driving, even to the slightest extent. Any traffic citation – as evidence of a driving error – issued by the arresting office could be sufficient to overcome this burden. Officers might also ask you to perform field sobriety tests during the traffic stop as a means of determining impairment.

By law, you do not have to submit to field sobriety tests. Politely decline the request. This right doesn’t usually extend to providing breath, urine or blood samples. If you choose not to cooperate, officers may obtain a warrant for your bodily fluids, which you cannot legally refuse.

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Penalties for Marijuana DUI in Arizona

First Time Marijuana DUI Offense: misdemeanor punishable by a minimum of one day to a maximum of six months in jail. Fines and associated court fees are a minimum of $1,470, but may be more depending on judicial discretion. Mandatory participation in substance abuse program and required installation of an interlock device on vehicle ignition. One-year suspension of driver’s license.

Second Marijuana DUI Offense: Misdemeanor level offense with a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail, minimum $3,340 fine, and a minimum of 30 hours of community service. License suspension for 18 months and required installation of interlock device on vehicle.

Third Marijuana DUI Offense: If the third marijuana DUI offense occurs within seven years of the last conviction, there was a child present in the vehicle or your license is suspended, you could be charged with a felony level offense. You may face a lengthy mandatory minimum prison sentence and heavy fines.

 

If you have any questions about the State of Arizona and the DUI Drug laws, please give our offices a call (602) 307-0808. Our offices are available 24 hours a day and we offer free consultations. Call or email us now.

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