Alternative Sentencing in Drug Crime Cases

Phoenix Lawyer Defending Persons Charged With Narcotics Offenses

Many people would be terrified to be charged with a drug crime, such as possession of heroin or possession with intent to sell oxycodone. Convictions for such crimes may result in prison sentences and fines, along with other penalties. In some cases, defendants may seek a sentence that doesn’t involve incarceration. If you are interested in obtaining alternative sentencing in drug crime cases, you should discuss your situation with experienced Phoenix drug crime attorney James E. Novak.

Drug Crimes

Arizona categorizes controlled substances as dangerous drugs, narcotic drugs, prescription drugs, or those substances that release toxic vapors. Sentencing for drug possession in Arizona depends on factors such as what category the drug at issue falls into, the quantity of controlled substances involved, whether you have a record of prior drug crimes and the specific prohibited activity involved. Drug convictions can carry sentences of prison time, substantial fines, mandatory drug treatment, loss of public housing and other public benefits, and community restitution. If you are a first-time drug offender, your lawyer can evaluate whether you may be eligible for alternative sentencing, rather than the presumptive sentence.

Alternative Sentencing in Drug Crime Cases

Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) section 13-901.01, anyone who is convicted of personal possession or use of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia is eligible for probation. The court should suspend imposition or execution of your sentence and place you on probation. Personal possession doesn’t include possession for sale, manufacturing, production, or transportation for sale of any controlled substance. If you’re convicted of or indicted for a violent crime under section 13-901.03, you’re not eligible for probation, but instead will be sentenced under a different section. A condition of probation is participation in the proper drug treatment or education program administered by a qualified agency. Anyone who is enrolled in drug treatment or education must pay for participation in the program to the extent of his or her financial ability.

Drug Diversion

Certain counties allow first-time offenders to participate in a drug diversion program. These programs help offenders identify, monitor and manage substance abuse problems to change drug-related criminal conduct. Drug diversion is a voluntary program that allows the government to move your case from criminal prosecution to rehabilitation. Once you complete the program, the court will dismiss the criminal charge.

Home Arrest

One form of alternative sentencing is home arrest. It is conditioned on you agreeing to active electronic monitoring surveillance for at least a year or until you’re eligible for general parole, your participation in a gainful job or other activities of benefit, or submission to mandatory alcohol and drug tests.

Under A.R.S. section 41-1604.13, you may be eligible for home arrest if you’ve served at least six months of the judicial sentence and you are convicted of perpetrating a class 4, 5, or 6 felony that is not considered a dangerous offense, you weren’t previously convicted of a sex crime, and you weren’t previously convicted of a felony. Home arrest may also be possible if you served at least 6 months and violated parole by committing a technical violation, you’re eligible for work furlough, or you’re eligible for parole.

Drug Court Program

The Maricopa County drug court program provides outpatient counseling and monitors participants for drug activity, such as use. The participant enters into a behavioral contract with the Court that specifies goals and responsibilities in a certain time frame. The focus in drug court is rehabilitation, rather than punishment. Substance use treatment, support groups, community supervision and drug testing may be used as part of the program. Drug court provides many benefits that are not available in regular court. Persons who successfully complete the program may have their charges dropped or expunged. You may be able to defer fines until you complete the program, participate in a drug education and receive incentives or rewards for compliance.

To be eligible in Maricopa County, you must be facing a felony offense with a minimum two-year probation grant, you must live in the drug court supervision area, and you must be assessed as medium or high-risk with a history of moderate to severe substance use.

Retain a Seasoned Phoenix Attorney

Prosecutors pursue drug crime cases aggressively. With felony charges, you may face incarceration. While alternative sentencing in drug crime cases is not always be available, it can be a lifeline for those charged with drug possession or another drug crime. It’s important to seek counsel about what alternatives you may be eligible for. You should consult James E. Novak. He is a seasoned lawyer who represents those charged with offenses in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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