Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD MPH on 6/23/2021
Methamphetamine Possession Laws in Arizona…
Although drug laws and penalties can differ slightly depending on the jurisdiction, meth possession can lead to significant legal repercussions anywhere in the United States. Both Arizona state drug laws and federal drug laws prohibit the possession and use of meth and its distribution and manufacture. But legal ramifications are not the only negative consequence of drug use.
Our guide will walk you through all you need to know.
If you have found yourself facing meth charges, or if you haven’t yet faced possession charges but are afraid that you may, drug and alcohol treatment can help you. Call (888) 906-0952 today to learn more.
Arizona State Methamphetamine Laws
The exact penalties for meth possession charges by the state may differ slightly from one another. In Arizona, meth falls under the Dangerous Drugs ARS code. Arizona state laws prohibit the possession, use, sale, and manufacture of any dangerous drug, including meth. Therefore, violation of Arizona state drug laws regarding meth typically results in a felony conviction. Under Arizona law, felonies are categorized into six different classes, ranging from the most serious crimes (Class 1) to the least serious (Class 6). Depending on the exact offense, meth-related convictions typically fall under classes 2-4. Thus, meth possession is a relatively serious offense in Arizona and accordingly bears serious consequences as well, including years-long prison terms and high fines.
However, even within a particular state, you can be charged with federal offenses. Federal laws differ slightly and can apply to any area in the United States.
Federal Meth Possession Laws
Under federal law, simple drug possession is generally a misdemeanor. Simple possession means having a small amount of an illegal substance to consume yourself without the intent to give or sell it to anyone else.
If you are charged with simple possession under federal drug laws, you can be sentenced to a one-year prison term at maximum, fined a minimum of $1,000, or both.
However, the penalties can become more severe with subsequent convictions. For instance, for a second conviction, the prison term raises to a maximum of 2 years and a minimum fine of $2,500.
Further convictions can result in up to 3 years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000.
Prior drug-related offenses may also lead to a charge of felony simple possession. Furthermore, those convicted of possession may be fined for the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the offense.
Drug Paraphernalia and Precursors
Federal laws also prohibit the possession and sale of drug paraphernalia. Paraphernalia is defined as any equipment, product, or material primarily intended for use in manufacturing, using, or concealing a drug.
People convicted of selling or transporting paraphernalia face penalties of up to 3 years in prison along with a fine. Possessing certain chemicals used in the manufacture of meth (known as precursors) can also lead to a conviction.
Common paraphernalia items include scales or balances. A variety of other items are also considered meth paraphernalia, including syringes, aluminum foil, glass pipes, and hollow pens or straws.
Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Laws
The penalties for meth possession become more severe with the intent to sell or distribute the drug. Several factors can affect the prison terms and fines associated with the offense. The larger the quantity of the drug in your possession, the more severe the punishment. Penalties also increase with multiple offenses.
If you are found with 5 to 49 grams of pure meth or 50 to 499 grams of a mixture of meth with the intent to distribute, the penalties are as follows.
If your first offense, you can be sentenced to a prison term between 5 and 40 years. If the offense involves death or serious injury, the prison term increases to 20 years to life. You can also be fined up to $2 million.
For a second offense, you can be sentenced to a prison term between 10 years and life. If the offense involves death or serious injury, you can be sentenced to life in prison. You may also be fined up to $4 million.
If you are found with 50 or more grams of pure meth or 500 or more grams of a mixture of meth with the intent to distribute, the penalties are as follows.
For a first offense, you can be sentenced to a prison term between 10 years and life. If the offense involves death or serious injury, the prison term increases to 20 years to life. You may also be fined up to $4 million.
If it is your second offense, you can be sentenced to a prison term between 20 years and life. If the offense involves death or serious injury, you can be sentenced to life in prison. You may also be fined up to $8 million.
A third offense can lead to a conviction of life in prison.
Forfeiture of Personal Property
The consequences of trafficking drugs go even beyond prison time. For example, anything gained as a result of drug trafficking may be seized by federal law enforcement. Suppose a person is convicted of a federal drug offense punishable by more than one year in prison. In that case, the government can seize any personal property related to the violation, including houses and cars. In such cases, police or government officials may seize property upon arrest.
The loss of personal property after a drug conviction can negatively affect others besides the offender. If your personal property were to be seized by law enforcement upon your conviction, it could mean the loss of a home for your family. This is what it means to say that drug abuse and addiction have the potential to affect every aspect of your life.
Why is Meth Possession So Serious?
The manufacture, possession, and use of substances like meth are regulated by law because they pose significant health and safety risks due to their high potential for abuse.
Under the Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies all drugs into different categories (schedules) based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. There are 5 different schedules into which controlled substances can be categorized. Schedule I includes substances with a very high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, and no currently accepted medical use. Meanwhile, Schedule V substances have widely accepted medical uses and lower potential for abuse.
Meth is a Schedule II substance, which means although it does have some limited accepted medical uses, it still has a very high potential for abuse and is illegal in most forms. The only legal form of meth currently available is the prescription medication Desoxyn, sometimes used to treat obesity, ADHD, and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. In this form, it is prescribed in a far lower dose than is typically abused.
Meth’s Further risks
The legal risks of meth use are severe on their own, but whether or not it leads to legal penalties, meth can still have serious health consequences. Meth is a highly addictive drug. It floods the brain with excessive dopamine levels, a chemical messenger in the brain involved in reinforcing rewarding behaviors. So, your brain quickly associates taking the drug with good feelings, even despite any negative effects. Research suggests that prolonged meth use has the potential to damage half the dopamine-producing cells in the brain.
Even in small amounts, meth can have negative effects on the body, including:
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
At high doses, meth can raise body temperatures to dangerous levels and may result in a stroke or heart attack.
Long-term meth users can experience further complications such as:
- Violent behavior
- Hallucinations and delusions
Other health consequences include extreme weight loss and severe dental problems. Tooth decay associated with meth use is so common, the effect has been termed “meth mouth.”
When you abuse meth, it’s not just your legal freedom you are putting at risk, but every aspect of your life. Substance abuse can, for instance, affect your health, your family relationships, and even your ability to feel pleasure from anything else besides the drug. This is why getting comprehensive treatment as soon as possible is so crucial. Treatment professionals can work with you to stop your drug use and heal other facets of your life that have been affected.
How to Seek Treatment for Meth Addiction (Before or After Charges)
Violating drug laws, whether at the state or federal level, can have grave consequences. Drugs like meth are highly dangerous, and using them could put your safety and the safety of others at risk. Thus, simple possession could mean lengthy prison terms and hefty fines.
Penalties are even more severe if you are distributing the drug to others. Meth use can lead to addiction, but even short-term use can have major health consequences.
Even if law enforcement does not punish you, your body still might. Getting away with drug use does not mean escaping all the negative consequences.
But addiction makes it hard to stop even when you understand all the risks. We know it’s not a matter of simply choosing to quit.
Additionally, the stigma surrounding drug use, due largely to its effects and legal consequences, makes it even more difficult to admit the problem and reach out for help.
However, treatment is not meant to punish you. In fact, it strives to keep you away from punishment and steer you toward better choices.
Getting treatment for substance abuse does not mean that you are weak or that you have failed.
Most people can’t overcome addiction on their own. Seeking help means you believe in your ability to change. Change can be daunting and complex, though, so we are here to guide you toward the appropriate assistance.
Addictions need long-term, thorough treatment to improve. Fortunately, there are amazing treatment options that can save your life. We can help you discover and understand all your possibilities for recovery.
If you’re seeking treatment options, please give us a call at (888) 906-0952, and we can direct you to lifesaving drug and alcohol treatment. No matter your financial circumstances, there are options available to you.
About the Author
Alina Gonzalez is a seasoned writer whose love for language led her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Arizona University. Her work has been featured in blogs and magazines, and she is pleased to now put it to use helping others on their journey to recovery.
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There is No Happy Ending to Meth Addiction
Choosing to enter into drug and alcohol treatment for meth addiction is always the best course of action. Perhaps you’re looking up these laws because you’re worried about being caught with methamphetamine on you. It’s natural to be afraid of arrest and facing the consequences of your use. Maybe you’ve already been charged with methamphetamine possession and you’re trying to figure out the next step to take before sentencing. No matter the situation, completing a rehabilitation program may make a positive impact on the outcome of your case.
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