Drugs for Sale

Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyer Aggressively Defending Clients Throughout Maricopa County

While a conviction for any drug crime can have a major impact on your life, being convicted for selling drugs carries the potential of a lengthy prison sentence. If you face allegations that you had drugs for sale, it is imperative that you understand both the seriousness of the crime as well as the available defenses. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Tempe criminal defense attorney has decades of experience standing up for the rights of good people charged with serious crimes. We understand what’s at stake in narcotics cases and vow to take your case as seriously as you do.

Possessing Drugs for Sale

Under both state and federal law, it is illegal to possess certain controlled substances. In Arizona, the law prohibiting the possession and sale of narcotics is contained in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3407, which provides, “a person shall not knowingly … possess a dangerous drug for sale.” When the law uses the term “dangerous drug,” it means any of the hundreds of substances listed in A.R.S. § 13-3401, which includes all the common street drugs, such as:

  • Heroin,
  • Fentanyl,
  • Cocaine,
  • Crack,
  • LSD,
  • PCP,
  • Methamphetamine, and
  • Ketamine.

In addition, Arizona law considers prescription drugs as “dangerous drugs,” which means that you can end up facing drug dealing charges for selling any of the following:

  • Xanax,
  • Oxycontin,
  • Oxycodone,
  • Cough syrup containing codeine,
  • Morphine,
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax), and
  • Amphetamine (Adderall).

Generally speaking, the law doesn’t care which substance you were accused of selling. In other words, the maximum punishments do not vary based on the type of drug. The main exception to this pertains to possessing methamphetamine for sale, which carries harsher penalties than other drugs.

Generally, possessing drugs for sale is a Class 2 felony. Class 2 felonies are punishable by up to 12.5 years in jail. However, the presumptive sentence for a first-time offender is five years in jail.

What’s The Difference Between Simple Possession and Possession of Drugs for Sale?

A drug possession conviction, while still serious, often ends in a probationary sentence. On the other hand, a conviction for possession of drugs for sale is much more likely to result in a jail or prison sentence. Thus, it is imperative to understand the difference between these two charges. In fact, in some cases, admitting to possessing the drugs but arguing that they were for personal use is a good defense.

Arizona law doesn’t require prosecutors to prove you actually sold drugs to convict you of possessing drugs for sale, which allows them to charge you if they think you planned on selling drugs. Prosecutors, judges and juries all consider the same type of evidence when making this determination, such as:

  • Are you a drug user?
  • Did you have too many drugs on you to safely use within a short period of time?
  • Did you have any way to consume the drugs?
  • Did you have empty packaging or other drug-selling paraphernalia on you when you were arrested?
  • Did you have a large number of small bills at the time of your arrest?

Of course, all of these questions only provide circumstantial evidence of your intent, and it’s up to the prosecutor to convince the jury that you intended to sell drugs—if they can. A skilled Phoenix criminal defense attorney can help you by clearly explaining the many possible innocent explanations as to why you had the drugs on you and why the case is better seen as a drug possession case.

Are You Charged with Possessing Drugs for Sale?

If you were recently arrested and charged with a narcotics offense in Maricopa County, the Law Offices of James E. Novak should be your next call. Attorney Novak is an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands every aspect of the criminal justice system and what it takes to obtain the results his clients are looking for. We recognize that these cases are not cut-and-dry, and there is more to the story than whether you had the drugs on you. It’s our job—and our passion—to provide you with the compelling defense you need to beat the case and move on with your life. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Attorney James Novak at (480) 413-1499. The Law Office of James Novak proudly defends clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Scottsdale, Gilbert and other surrounding cities in Maricopa County.

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