In a recent opinion coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant argued that the trial court made an error in determining the scope of her original convictions and sentences. Originally, the defendant was charged and convicted of several drug-related charges after a police officer found methamphetamine on her person in a routine traffic stop. Four of the convictions revolved specifically around the defendant’s possession of drug paraphernalia. On appeal, the defendant argued that these convictions for drug paraphernalia should have been merged into a single conviction, and she should not have been tried for four separate crimes. The court of appeals ended up agreeing with the defendant, and it modified the trial court’s decision to reflect only one conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant was pulled over one evening in 2018 for a traffic violation. The police officer conducting the traffic stop quickly suspected that the defendant had been drinking, and he arrested and searched her to confirm his suspicions. During the search, the officer found methamphetamine in the defendant’s clothing.
Once the defendant arrived at the station, she told officers that she routinely dealt drugs and that she had drugs at her residence. Officers searched her home and found marijuana, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and a gun. She was charged with several crimes, including two counts of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana for sale. She was subsequently found guilty at trial.
The defendant was originally charged and convicted for each of the drug-related crimes. The jury found her guilty of four counts of drug paraphernalia possession alone. On appeal, the defendant argued that each of these four convictions should be merged into one single conviction. Because the defendant possessed all of the drug paraphernalia at the same time, it made more sense for her to be found guilty of a single violation instead of four different violations associated with drug paraphernalia.
The court agreed with the defendant, finding that it was indeed more consistent with case law for her to be found guilty of one drug paraphernalia violation. According to the court, the State may not charge a defendant with separate counts of drug paraphernalia for simultaneously possessed objects. Given this fact, the court modified the original conviction by merging her convictions and sentences for drug paraphernalia into a single conviction and sentence.
Are You Facing Drug Charges in the State of Arizona?
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Arizona, give us a call at The Law Office of James E. Novak. Our defense strategy prioritizes what you want and need, and we recognize that every case brings its own set of circumstances for us to put front and center. For many defendants, drug charges can be daunting, but at The Law Office of James E. Novak, we pledge to be by your side every step of the way. For a free and confidential consultation, give us a call at 480-413-1499.