One of the most common crimes committed in Arizona is drug possession. It is a crime to knowingly possess any number of drugs including marijuana, “dangerous drugs” (i.e. meth), “narcotic drugs” (i.e. cocaine), and “controlled substances.” In addition, it is also illegal to possess “drug paraphernalia” which is defined as any item that one might use to: “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale or otherwise introduce into the human body” drugs. In layman’s terms, drug paraphernalia usually boils down to plastic baggies used to store and transport drugs as well as glass pipes used to ingest drugs.
By 1996, drug possession had been so rampant in Arizona that the Legislature decided we were wasting too much money putting drug users behind bars. Therefore, the Legislature passed the “Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act of 1996.” More commonly known as “Prop 200,” this act generally mandated that defendants convicted of FIRST and SECOND time personal possession crimes (e.g. Possession of Marijuana) MUST be placed on probation rather than serve jail or prison sentences. It is important to note, however, that Prop 200 specifically excludes people who have been convicted of particular crimes in the past.
In addition to Prop 200, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office also runs a “diversion program” for those accused of certain personal drug possession crimes. If qualified for the program, your case may be outright dismissed if you participate in drug counseling and rehabilitation programs.
Interested in learning whether you qualify under Prop 200 or MCAO’s diversion program? We are currently offering free consultations for a limited time, so schedule an appointment today!
Adam Roberts is an Associate Attorney with Tarascio & Del Vecchio. Prior to his position, he served as Deputy County Attorney for Maricopa County. To schedule an appointment call: 480-649-2905