Drug Violations in a School Area
While Arizona generally takes a punitive approach toward the possession, sale or manufacturing of controlled substances, the law is particularly harsh toward any action that could conceivably expose children to illegal drugs. Many offenses, including simple possession of many substances, within a certain distance of a school can result in greater penalties.Tempe Drugs in a School Zone Lawyer
If you face charges involving illegal substances in a drug-free school zone, you should have skilled representation to fight what may be a very aggressive Maricopa County prosecutor. Contact an experienced Tempe drug lawyer at the Law Offices of James E. Novak. James Novak will fight for your rights. Call today at (480) 413-1499 to schedule a free consultation.
James Novak represents clients throughout Maricopa County, including Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Scotsdale, Mesa and Phoenix.
Information on Drug-Free Zone Offenses
Definition of a Drug-Free School Zone
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3411 lays out the laws and penalties for drug violations near a school. A school, for the purpose of the law, can include a public school, private school or parochial school. It can include a kindergarten program, common school or high school.
The drug free school zone includes any area within 300 feet of any school or the grounds of a school, meaning 300 feet from the edge of school property. It can also cover any public property within 1,000 feet of school property, a school bus stop or a bus under contract to take children to and from school.
This covers a significant amount of property, and it is possible for a person to not know he or she is in such a zone.
Penalties Associated with Drug Free School Zones
The following offenses have enhanced penalties associated with drug free school zones:
- Possession of use of a dangerous drug (including cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD and synthetic drugs), narcotic drugs (including heroin, morphine and oxycodone), marijuana and peyote
- Manufacturing a dangerous drug, including operating a meth lab
- Intentionally being a drug free school with the intent of selling or transferring dangerous drugs, narcotic drugs, prescription-only drugs, marijuana or peyote
If convicted of any these offenses in which prosecutors can prove the defendant engaged in the offense in a drug free school zone, the convicted person will face a presumptive sentence, minimum sentence and maximum sentence is increased by one year.
For example, possession of a dangerous drug for sale is a class 2 felony, punishable by a presumptive sentence of five years, a minimum sentence of four years and a maximum sentence of 10 years, for a first offense. If convicted of intentionally engaging in the same offense within a school zone, the presumptive sentence would be six years, the minimum sentence five years and the maximum 11 years.
Under ARS 13-3411, teachers, school security guards and all other personnel of a school who witness such an offense are required to immediately report the offense to school administrators, who are required to police. The failure of a school employee to do so is a class 3 misdemeanor.
If you face any type of offense related to the possession, sale or manufacture of a controlled substance in a drug free school zone, you should immediately contact an attorney to have the strongest defense possible against prosecution. Call Tempe drug defense lawyer James E. Novak today. Call (480) 413-1499 to set up a free consultation.