Synthetic Drug Possession

Criminal Defense Lawyer Based in the Phoenix Area

Since many drugs are illegal, people have sought out alternatives. There has been an uptick in synthetic drugs. Some are cannabinoids that are meant to mimic the impact of marijuana. Others are cathinones, intended to mimic the impact of meth and cocaine. If you are charged with synthetic drug possession, you should consult a skillful criminal defense attorney. James E. Novak is an experienced Phoenix drug crime lawyer who puts insights gained in his previous work as a prosecutor to work in developing strong defense strategies for people accused of synthetic drug possession in Arizona.

Synthetic Drug Possession

It is illegal to use, possess, make, or traffic in synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs are often known under other names like bath salts, Spice, Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave, or K2. Some of these drugs have been marketed as legal alternatives to marijuana, leading to significant confusion. These drugs used to be packaged brightly to entice teens and young adults and were available at head shops, smoke shops, and convenience stores; as a result, some people may be unaware that drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts have been banned in Arizona. The product would change constantly to avoid law enforcement, since drug makers could quickly change the chemical composition to respond to outlawed substances. Many high schoolers have tried synthetic drugs, and use by teenagers was one motivation for lawmakers to take action.

A bill was passed in 2013 banning any compound, material, mixture, or preparation that includes a quantity of cannabimimetic substances and their isomers, salts, and salts of isomers. The law avoided earlier difficulties with enforcement by banning certain basic chemical structures on which the products are based. Under this law, people in possession of synthetic drugs are treated as if they were in possession of marijuana. Synthetic drug ingredients often change so that makers can avoid having them deemed illegal.


If you are charged with synthetic drug possession, you can be eligible for probation and drug treatment, but only if you have not been arrested on federal drug charges before being charged with synthetic drug possession. If you have two or more prior felony drug convictions, you face heightened penalties. Selling, distributing, making, or delivering synthetic drugs can carry harsher penalties, and these will be similar to the penalties faced for doing the same activities with marijuana.


If you are charged with synthetic drug possession, you should consult a skillful criminal defense attorney who understands the types of defenses that may be available to you. These defenses can include looking for constitutional violations committed by police officers when they stopped and searched you or interrogated you. When a police officer stops an individual without a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, it may be possible to get evidence obtained during the unlawful detention suppressed. Thus, for example, if you were caught with synthetic drugs after being pulled over on a hunch, it may be possible to bring a motion to suppress the evidence of synthetic drugs found during the stop. Another viable defense may be lack of knowledge. We may be able to argue that you did not knowingly possess the synthetic drug, depending on the circumstances under which you were caught. We also might be able to argue that you did not know that the synthetic drugs that you possessed were regulated as dangerous drugs.

Consult an Experienced Drug Crime Lawyer in Phoenix

A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, get a loan, or rent a home. Arizona, like other states, has made a big push to stop the circulation of synthetic drugs. Often, synthetic drug consumption results in visits to the emergency room or even death. If you are charged with synthetic drug possession in Arizona, call experienced criminal defense attorney James E. Novak. Mr. Novak represents people accused of drug crimes throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, and elsewhere in Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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