Use or Possession of Dangerous Drugs

In Arizona, laws regarding the use and possession of dangerous drugs are both strict and very specific. Getting caught with drugs in your possession can lead to harsh jail time and serious fines. But we're here to listen to your case and come up with the best defense strategy.


From illegally possessing prescription medications to illicit substances like cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine, Arizona's legal framework pertains to a wide spectrum of different substances.


From understanding the legal definitions of dangerous drugs and narcotics to comprehending the potential penalties you might face, and finally, learning about effective defense strategies, Kolsrud Law Offices are here to help.


 In Arizona, nearly 60% of drug-related arrests pertain to charges related to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics. This statistic underscores the pressing need for individuals to be well-versed in the nuances of the law and to seek adept legal counsel when confronted with such charges.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

dangerous drug possession charges

What are Considered Dangerous Drugs In Arizona?

Under Arizona law, dangerous drugs and narcotics encompass a wide range of substances that are controlled due to their potential for abuse and harm. The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) provide a comprehensive list of these substances, classifying them based on their chemical composition and effects.


Below are the key points to understand:


Controlled Substances

Arizona law categorizes substances into different schedules based on their potential for abuse, medical uses, and safety. These schedules range from Schedule I to Schedule V, with Schedule I substances being considered the most dangerous and having a high potential for abuse.


  • Criteria for Classification: The classification of a substance as a dangerous drug or narcotic is determined by factors such as its chemical structure, potential for abuse, and recognized medical uses. Substances that are found to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use are often classified as dangerous drugs.


  • Examples of Dangerous Drugs: Substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD are examples of dangerous drugs that are commonly associated with criminal offenses. Additionally, prescription medications that are misused or obtained illegally can also be classified as dangerous drugs under certain circumstances.


Understanding what constitutes dangerous drugs or narcotics according to Arizona law is crucial for individuals involved in cases related to drug offenses.


The classification of substances as dangerous drugs is determined by various factors, and being charged with offenses related to these substances can lead to severe legal repercussions.


If you find yourself in such a situation, seeking the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney is paramount to protect your rights and navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Dangerous Drugs

Penalties for Possession of Dangerous Drugs

When it comes to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics, having a clear grasp of the potential penalties is essential. Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) § 13-3407 outlines the legal consequences associated with these charges. The penalties can vary based on several factors, so let's explore the intricacies of these penalties to better understand the potential outcomes of such cases:


Overview of Penalties According to ARS § 13-3407:

  • Possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics is classified as a felony offense in Arizona.
  • The severity of the penalties can range from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 2 felony, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
  • Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, probation, mandatory drug treatment, and community service.

Factors Influencing the Severity of Penalties:

  • The type and quantity of the substance in possession play a significant role in determining the severity of penalties.
  • Prior criminal history, including any previous drug-related convictions, can lead to enhanced penalties.
  • Possession in proximity to schools or other protected areas can result in more severe penalties.

Distinctions Between First-Time Offenses and Repeat Offenses:

  • First-time offenders might have the opportunity to participate in diversion programs or alternative sentencing options.
  • Repeat offenders may face harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences and larger fines.
  • Previous drug-related convictions can result in mandatory minimum sentences for subsequent offenses.

It's crucial to recognize that understanding the potential penalties for possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics is the first step in developing a strategic defense strategy.


If you or a loved one are facing charges related to drug possession, getting expert legal advice is important to help navigate the legal process effectively and create a winning defense strategy for the best possible outcome.


Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Personal Use Class 1 Misdemeanor (or Class 2 Felony for certain substances)
Imprisonment, fines, probation, drug treatment
Possession of Dangerous Drugs with Intent to Sell Class 2 Felony (or higher based on quantity and circumstances)
Imprisonment, substantial fines, probation, mandatory drug treatment
Repeat Offense of Possession with Prior Convictions Mandatory minimum sentences for subsequent offenses
Enhanced penalties, longer prison terms
Participation in Diversion Program Charges may be dismissed or reduced upon successful completion
Opportunity to address underlying issues and avoid permanent record
Alternative Sentencing Options Probation, house arrest, electronic monitoring, community service
Focus on rehabilitation while minimizing traditional penalties
Possession of Dangerous Druges Charges

Possession for Personal Use vs. Possession for Sale

In the world of Arizona's drug laws, a critical distinction exists between possession for personal use and possession with intent to sell. This differentiation hinges on the intent behind the possession, and it can significantly impact the legal consequences you might face. Understanding these distinctions is vital when learning about these charges related to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics.


Legal Implications of Possessing Substances for Personal Use

  • When an individual is found in possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics for personal use, the legal consequences are primarily focused on the act of possession itself.
  • Arizona law defines possession as knowingly having control over the substance. The penalties for possession of substances for personal use can vary based on factors such as the type and quantity of the substance, prior criminal history, and the presence of any aggravating factors. However, the primary focus remains on the act of possessing the substance rather than the intent to distribute it.


Legal Implications of Possessing Substances with Intent to Sell:

  • Possession with intent to sell is a more serious offense and comes with harsher penalties under Arizona law. To prove possession with intent to sell, the prosecution must demonstrate that you had not only control over the substance but also the intent to distribute it to others.
  • Factors that might indicate intent to sell include the presence of packaging materials, large quantities of the substance, or evidence of transactions. A conviction for possession with intent to sell can lead to more severe prison sentences, larger fines, and other significant consequences.


Factors Influencing the Determination of Intent

  • The determination of intent in cases of possession for sale can be complex and may involve various factors. These factors can include the quantity of the substance, the presence of paraphernalia associated with drug distribution, communication-related to drug transactions, transportation of dangerous drugs, manufacturing a dangerous drug, and the defendant's criminal history.
  • It's important to note that intent is a crucial element that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney can challenge the evidence presented and work to cast doubt on the prosecution's case by examining the specific circumstances surrounding your situation.


Understanding the difference between possession for personal use and possession with intent to sell is very important when building a defense strategy. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal nuances, assess the evidence against you, and develop a defense tailored to your case's unique circumstances.

Dangerous Drugs

Defenses To Dangerous Drug Possession Charges

Building a strong defense is our top priority when facing charges related to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics. There are several potential defense strategies that can be used to challenge these charges effectively. During our free consultation, we can go over these strategies to find the best ways to significantly impact the outcome of your case.


Challenging the Legality of Search and Seizure

  • One powerful defense strategy involves challenging the legality of the search and seizure that led to the discovery of the alleged dangerous drugs or narcotics. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • If law enforcement conducted a search without a valid warrant or without probable cause, any evidence obtained through that search may be deemed inadmissible in court. Your attorney can meticulously examine the circumstances surrounding the search to determine whether your Fourth Amendment rights were violated.


Lack of Knowledge or Control as a Defense

  • Another potential defense is asserting that you lacked knowledge or control over the presence of dangerous drugs or narcotics. This defense is particularly relevant in cases where the substance was found in a shared space, such as a vehicle or a residence, where multiple individuals had access.
  • To establish this defense, you and your attorney would need to demonstrate that you were unaware of the presence of the substance and did not have control over it.


Disputing the Accuracy of Evidence Presented

  • Disputing the accuracy and reliability of the evidence presented by the prosecution can be a compelling defense strategy. This could involve questioning the authenticity of the substances in question, challenging the chain of custody of the evidence, or highlighting potential mishandling or contamination.
  • Your attorney can work with experts, such as forensic analysts, to scrutinize the evidence and identify any weaknesses that could cast doubt on the prosecution's case.


In criminal charges of possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics, a strategic defense can make a significant difference in the outcome. That is where the many years of experience and over 3,500 criminal cases attorney Josh Kolsrud has handled becomes crucial. His knowledge as both a former prosecutor and winning defense attorney provides an enormous advantage to winning your case.

Possession of dangerous drugs in Arizona

Diversion Programs For Dangerous Drug Charges

In Arizona, the legal system recognizes the potential for rehabilitation and offers alternative paths for individuals facing charges related to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics.


Diversion programs and sentencing alternatives provide ways for addressing underlying issues while potentially avoiding more severe consequences.


Understanding these options is crucial for individuals seeking to navigate the legal process effectively.


Overview of Diversion Programs for Drug-Related Offenses

  • Diversion programs are designed to offer individuals facing drug-related charges an opportunity to address the root causes of their behavior and avoid traditional criminal penalties. These programs typically involve a combination of drug treatment, counseling, education, and community service.
  • Successful completion of a diversion program can result in charges being dismissed or reduced, offering participants a chance to move forward with a clean record.
  • Eligibility criteria and program requirements can vary, and your attorney can guide you through the process of determining whether you qualify for a diversion program.


Potential Benefits of Participating in Diversion Programs

  • Participating in a diversion program can offer several benefits, including the opportunity to address substance abuse issues, access to counseling and support services, and the chance to avoid a permanent criminal record.
  • Completion of a diversion program demonstrates a commitment to rehabilitation and can positively impact your future prospects, including employment opportunities. 
  • it's important to note that successful completion of a diversion program is not guaranteed and requires dedication to the program's requirements.


Alternative Sentencing Options for Eligible Individuals

  • In addition to diversion programs, alternative sentencing options may be available for eligible individuals facing drug-related charges. These alternatives could include probation, house arrest, electronic monitoring, or participation in community service projects.
  • The goal of these options is to provide an opportunity for rehabilitation while minimizing the impact of traditional criminal penalties.
  • Your attorney can advocate for the most suitable alternative sentencing option based on your individual circumstances and the details of your case.


Consulting with an experienced drug crimes attorney is essential to assess your eligibility, explore available options, and develop a strategic approach that aligns with your best interests.

Why Choose Kolsrud Law Offices to Defend You

How a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

When facing charges related to the use or possession of dangerous drugs or narcotics in Arizona, enlisting the expertise of a seasoned criminal defense attorney from Kolsrud Law Offices can be your lifeline. The intricate legal landscape of drug-related offenses demands a deep understanding of Arizona's laws and a strategic approach tailored to your case. With our experienced legal team on your side, we can fight this challenging journey with confidence.


Expertise in Arizona's Drug Laws

  • At Kolsrud Law Offices, we specialize in navigating the complex realm of criminal defense, including charges related to using or possessing dangerous drugs or narcotics.
  • Our in-depth knowledge of Arizona's drug laws allows us to provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your case. We understand the distinctions between personal use and possession for sale, the potential penalties associated with each, and the various defense strategies that can be employed.
  • By choosing our dedicated team, you are aligning yourself with professionals equipped to tackle even the most intricate legal challenges.


The Urgency of Seeking Legal Counsel

  • Time is of the essence when it comes to addressing charges related to dangerous drugs or narcotics. The consequences of such charges can be severe, potentially affecting your freedom, finances, and future prospects.
  • Waiting to take action could result in missed opportunities for effective defense strategies or alternative resolutions.
  • We understand the urgency of your situation and the stress it can bring. That's why we urge you to take action now. Speak with a skilled attorney who can provide the guidance and support you need to make informed decisions about your case.


Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

  • If you or a loved one are facing charges related to using or possessing dangerous drugs or narcotics, we are here to help.
  • Our team at Kolsrud Law Offices offers a free consultation to assess the details of your case, discuss your options, and outline a tailored defense strategy. Don't navigate this challenging journey alone. You can call us at (480) 999-9444 to schedule your free consultation.
  • Your future deserves the best possible defense, and we are here to provide it. Take the first step toward protecting your rights and securing a favorable outcome today.

Contact us today to schedule
A FREE CONSULTANT and learn more
about how we can help you.

An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

Get a Free Initial Consultation:

Please complete our form below to get a free initial consultation
or call us at (480) 999-9444.