Being charged with any crime in Arizona can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. However, drug trafficking in Arizona is especially serious. Historically, Arizona has been a major source of narcotics coming into the country due in large part to the fact that the state shares a 370-mile border with Mexico.
State and federal law enforcement devote significant resources to investigating and prosecuting drug trafficking in Arizona. At the Salwin Law Group, our Scottsdale criminal defense lawyer aggressively represents clients facing drug trafficking charges.
As a former prosecutor, Attorney Stewart Salwin has an insider’s understanding of how police and prosecutors handle these complex cases. He puts this knowledge into each of his client’s cases in pursuit of the best possible resolution.
Arizona Drug Trafficking Laws?
When most people hear the term “drug trafficking,” they think of people smuggling narcotics across international borders. While this certainly meets the definition of drug trafficking, the crime is actually quite a bit broader.
While Arizona does not have a “drug trafficking” statute by name, there are several Arizona drug crimes that fall under what most would consider drug trafficking.
For example, under Arizona law, someone commits a drug trafficking offense if they have more than a certain amount of controlled substance in their possession. Mere possession of a certain amount of drugs is considered possession with intent to deliver, which is a type of drug trafficking crime.
It is also illegal to “transport for sale, import into this state or offer to transport for sale or import into this state, sell, transfer or offer to sell or transfer a dangerous drug.” This is what most consider to be drug trafficking.
When it comes to a drug trafficking offense, one of the most important facts is how much of the substance the prosecution claims you had on you. If you have more than the “threshold amount,” the court will assume you possessed the substance for sale.
Below is a list of the “threshold amounts” for a few of the most common types of narcotics:
- Heroin – one gram
- Cocaine – nine grams
- Crack – nine grams
- PCP – four grams or 50 milliliters
- Methamphetamine – nine grams
- Marijuana – two pounds
- LSD – .5 milliliter or 50 doses
If you possess more than the threshold amount of a drug, you may face drug trafficking charges. This is regardless of the facts surrounding your arrest. For example, the prosecution will not need to prove that you actually sold or tried to sell any of the drugs; it is enough that you possessed a sufficient quantity.
However, even if you have less than the threshold amount, you can still face possession with intent to distribute charges. It will depend whether there is other evidence that you were selling, intending to sell, transporting, or intending to transport the drugs.
For example, the presence of a scale or unused small baggies near the drugs may indicate that someone was selling.
Defenses in Drug Trafficking Cases
The defenses for drug trafficking in Arizona typically involve a motion to suppress evidence. A motion to suppress is a pre-trial hearing in which your attorney asks the judge to exclude certain evidence that law enforcement obtained in violation of your rights.
For example, if police officers pulled you over for no reason, yanked you out of the car, and searched the vehicle, the would violate your Constitutional rights. Generally, police officers need to either have a warrant, probable cause, or at least reasonable suspicion to stop and search you.
If a police officer cannot articulate a valid reason for a stop, the evidence they recovered cannot be used at trial.
Other possible defenses in an Arizona drug trafficking case are:
- Wiretap violations,
- Witness credibility,
- Police officer credibility,
- Lack of evidence of intent to sell,
- Challenging drug lab results,
- Challenging chain of custody, and
- Statements taken without Miranda rights.
The stakes are high in an Arizona drug trafficking case, and you can’t risk any misstep. If you are convicted, you could face a lengthy prison term, fines, probation, and other consequences. Thus, it is important that you reach out to an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to begin working on your defense.
Contact the Salwin Law Group Today to Discuss your Drug Trafficking Case
If you face charges related to drug trafficking in Arizona, pick up the phone and give the Salwin Law Group a call today. Attorney Stewart Salwin is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to advocating on behalf of his clients at every possible opportunity.
Whether he is litigating a pretrial motion to suppress, interviewing witnesses, cross-examining police officers or making a closing argument to a jury, Stewart is passionate about every aspect of his representation. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Stewart Salwin, give us a call. You can also connect with us through our online form.