Although it seems as though a drug paraphernalia charge may not be the most serious of offenses, the state of Arizona has continued to uphold a harsh outlook with regard to these laws. Not only is this an offense that can result in an arrest, anyone who violates this statute will be charged with a class 6 felony. Considering the serious classification of this offense as a felony, if you have been arrested on a drug paraphernalia charge, you need to focus on finding a criminal defense attorney who has the experience and legal knowledge to help you fight the charges and achieve a favorable outcome.Mesa Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Lawyer
James Novak of The Law Office of James E. Novak has the experience necessary to help you fight to avoid charges for possession of drug paraphernalia. He strives for the most favorable outcome and not the easiest, which includes case dismissal, not guilty verdicts, minimum consequences, and other outcomes. His clients come from all backgrounds throughout the East Valley area, including Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and surrounding areas. Consultations are free and honest. Call James Novak today at (480) 413-1499 or send us an online message.
Definition of Drug Paraphernalia in Arizona
With regard to drug paraphernalia laws, the Arizona Revised Statute § 13.3415 states that:
It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to:
- Or otherwise introduce into the human body.
Considering this statute is very wide-ranging in its wording, almost any item can be classified as paraphernalia, covering a broad variety of objects, from typical household items to novelty objects found in specialty stores. This includes bongs, pipes, syringes, baggies, and scales, among others. With this overarching interpretation, law enforcement has a lot of ways to charge you with this crime. Basically, if an officer has suspicion that you were using something to allow for drug use, you can be charged with a criminal offense.
Determining Drug Paraphernalia in Mesa
In order to convict an alleged offender with possession of paraphernalia, the state prosecutor will examine a variety of factors to determine if the alleged offender was in possession of drug paraphernalia. Section 13.3415 of the Arizona Revised Statutes states the prosecutor can look at any of the following to determine if the item was considered paraphernalia (object):
- Statements by an owner of the object concerning its use.
- Prior convictions relating to any drug.
- The proximity of the object to a direct violation
- The proximity of the object to drugs.
- The existence of drug residue on the object.
- Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner of the object, to deliver it to someone he knows, with intent to use the object illegally
- Instructions provided with the object concerning its use.
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain its use.
- National and local advertising concerning its use.
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale.
- Whether the owner is a legitimate supplier of related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products.
- Expert testimony concerning its use.
Tempe Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Drug Paraphernalia offenses can result in a class 6 felony conviction, which can incur stiff penalties. This means if anyone was charged with any of the following offenses, they can receive a class 6 felony conviction:
- Drug paraphernalia possession
- Manufacture of drug paraphernalia
- Delivery of drug paraphernalia
- Drug paraphernalia advertisement
Specifically, a class 6 felony:
- Is punishable by up to 2 years in prison if the alleged offender has no prior criminal convictions,
- Is punishable by up to 6 years if the alleged offender has previously been convicted of a criminal offense.
Although a class 6 felony is the lowest ranking felony offense, it is still a felony and should be dealt with accordingly.
Arizona does provide a small amount of leeway for some of the less serious cases. According to Title 13 of the Arizona Criminal Code, if the elements surrounding a particular class 6 felony offense do not justify the harsh sentence typically imposed on felony offenders, the court may sometimes enter a conviction for a class 1 misdemeanor instead. The decision to lessen a class 6 felony offense to a misdemeanor is based on the nature of the crime and the history and character of the defendant.
Alternative Punishment to Drug Paraphernalia Charges in Mesa
For those dealing with their first drug offense, a probationary period may be granted for an individual who has not had a prior felony offense. An alleged offender is generally required to participate in a diversion program during this probation period. After the diversion program has been successfully completed, the criminal charges would most likely be dropped. Probation may also be applicable to second offenses, but the diversion program is not available for many second offenses.
Maricopa County offers a Drug Court program that focuses on the rehabilitation of the offender, as opposed to punishment. This gives first time drug offenders that chance to defer fines, learn about drug education and treatment, work on pro-social activities and move on with their life without going to jail or having a conviction on their permanent record. After graduation, these offenders may also be eligible to expunge the arrest record itself from their criminal history.
Law Office of James E. Novak, PLLC | Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorney in Tempe, AZ
Even though police officers can arrest you for a variety of reasons, you do have options with regard to fighting the charges. A qualified and experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Arizona legal system will get you the best chance for reduced, or even dismissed, charges. James E. Novak, a Mesa drug defense lawyer, has over 20 years of experience helping those who have been arrested due to drug paraphernalia and will draw on this insight to give you the representation you deserve.
Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak today for a consultation about your alleged controlled substance possession charges throughout Maricopa County in Arizona, including Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, and Phoenix. James Novak is an experienced Tempe drug defense attorney who will make every effort to fight the allegations against you and help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499 for a consultation about your alleged drug paraphernalia offense throughout Maricopa County.