Cocaine is illegal in Arizona and all other states. Arizona's laws are particularly harsh, even when the crime is transportation for sale rather than actual sale. If you are charged with cocaine transportation, experienced Phoenix cocaine crime attorney James E. Novak may be able to represent you. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who is dedicated to diligently representing each client, seeking to assert their rights and get charges reduced or even dropped whenever possible.Cocaine Transportation
Under Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) section13-3407(A)(7), someone can be convicted for cocaine transportation when a prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they: (1) knowingly, (2) transported for sale, imported into Arizona or offered to transport for sale or import into Arizona or transfer a dangerous drug. Under A.R.S section 13-3407(A)(2), it is illegal to knowingly possess a dangerous drug for sale, and cocaine transportation could also be charged under this code section.
The law doesn't define what transportation for sale is, or what the threshold is. Usually if you are caught with the threshold amount of drugs, it's assumed that the drugs were possessed with intent to sell. In Arizona, a threshold amount results in a mandatory prison sentence, even if it is a first offense. Different drugs have different threshold amounts. The threshold amounts for cocaine are 9 powdered grams or 3/4 gram of rock or crack cocaine.
When the threshold amount isn't met, other factors may be considered to determine whether there was intent to sell. These factors include whether you had a large quantity of money in your possession, drugs stored or hidden in a vehicle, whether there was a scale, or whether you possessed many baggies or items that could be used to divide the drug into saleable packets.Sentencing
Transportation under these circumstances is a class 2 felony, whether it's charged under section 13-3407(A)(7) or (A)(2). That means that if you are convicted, you can be sentenced to up to 12.5 years in prison.
When the amount involved in a first offense cocaine transportation case is less than the threshold amount, the sentence may range from probation with 0 days to 1 year in jail or prison with 3 years to 12 1/2 years of incarceration. When probation is ordered, a defendant would need to do 240 hours of community restitution. When the cocaine is more than a threshold amount, prison is the only possible sentence, with 3 to 12.5 years being the range. When there's one historical prior felony conviction, regardless of whether the instant case is more than or lower than the threshold amount, the potential sentence range is larger; you could face 4.5 years to 23 1/4 years of incarceration. The sentence is even longer when there are multiple prior felony convictions.Defenses to Cocaine Transportation Charges
There are different strong defense strategies that may be appropriate in your case, and that an experienced drug crime lawyer can help you develop. All crimes must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, we may be able to prove that you didn't have the requisite knowledge of the drugs. For example, perhaps you borrowed your roommate's car and the cocaine was packed away in a box inside the car. In that case, you might not have had knowledge of the cocaine inside the car.
Sometimes, there are procedural and constitutional defenses available. For example, if your incriminating statement is necessary to the prosecutor's case, but the statement was obtained through a violation of your Miranda rights, we may be able to have that statement thrown out. For example, if the police intimidated you into confessing or didn't provide you with a Miranda warning under the 5th Amendment, it may be possible to get the statement suppressed.
Sometimes there are constitutional violations associated with the search that turns up the cocaine. For example, if the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, it may be possible to get evidence found during a search conducted during the detention suppressed. Another potential defense could involve challenging flawed procedures in connection with fingerprint analysis.Consult a Phoenix Lawyer Regarding Cocaine Charges
You should take seriously any criminal charges arising from cocaine transportation. James E. Novak is a former prosecuting attorney who represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area including Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.