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Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Arizona

“ Arizona, Drug Possession convictions, requires the defendant to have  “knowledge” of Possession.   If your criminal lawyer can raise reasonable doubt regarding “knowledge” of the drugs in their possession,  it can lead to a dismissal of your Possession charges.”

In order for the State of Arizona to get a conviction for illegal drug possession charges  they have the burden of proving that a defendant had “knowledge” that the illegal drugs were in their Possession. Illegal drugs include possession of Marijuana, Dangerous drugs, Narcotic drugs or any other drugs or substances defined Arizona law A.R.S. 34 13-3401:

  • A.R.S. 34 13-3402: A person shall not knowingly: possess, use, produce, sell, transport, distribute, manufacture, Marijuana, or any other illegal drugs;
  • A.R.S. 13-105. 10 (a), (b):   “Knowingly” with respect to drug offenses or violation of a drug laws, means that a person knows that the circumstances (illegal drugs) themselves exist in their possession;.
  • A.R.S.  13- 105. 34: “Possess” means knowingly having physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over property;
  • A.R.S.  13- 105. 35:  “Possession:” means a voluntary act if the defendant knowingly exercised dominion or control over the illegal drugs..

Under Arizona drug law, you must not only be in possession of the illegal drug, but you must “knowingly” be in possession of illegal or dangerous drug.  In other words for  purposes of conviction, it does not matter whether or not the person realized or knew that the drugs were illegal or that their conduct was unlawful.

Defending Your Future After a Drug Possession Arrest

The burden is with the prosecution to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a person had knowledge or should have reasonably had knowledge that drugs were in their possession. This is not always an easy task, and is often an area of defense, that can lead to a dismissal of the drug charges. Below are some common areas the criminal defense lawyers in Maricopa County that be used to challenge drug possession charges depending on circumstances of your case:

  • Lack of; or insufficient evidence;
  • Unlawful search and seizure;
  • Police Entrapment;
  • Violations in police procedure or protocol;
  • You did not know the drugs were in your possession;
  • Common areas are shared by others in the residence where you live;
  • You did not know drugs were in the back of a borrowed vehicle;
  • You did not know that a passenger in your vehicle possessed illegal drugs;
  • Other constitutional rights violations

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Law Office of James Novak

4500 S. Lakeshore Drive

Tempe AZ 85282

(480) 413-1499

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