Interviewer: What about paraphernalia? Is that a ride-along charge when people get arrested for possession?
Michael Munoz: Yes, it is. Paraphernalia is charged with almost every single illegal drug. If you’re charged or arrested for possessing any illegal drug, they’re almost always going to add a possession of drug paraphernalia charge.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class Six felony, and with paraphernalia, they can allege that almost anything is the paraphernalia. For example, it can be anything used to store your drugs, hold your drugs, smoke your drugs, or inject your drugs. Anything that can be used to essentially use the drug itself they can allege is paraphernalia. One good example is if you get caught with a bag of marijuana, they can allege that the bag is drug paraphernalia, because you use it to hold the marijuana.
Definition of Class Six Felony Status in Arizona
Interviewer: What is Class Six felony? What’s the possible penalty? It sounds like even with a simple possession case people will often be charged with possession as a Class Six felony, and paraphernalia as a Class Six felony, right?
Michael Munoz: Yes. A Class Six felony is the lowest felony that Arizona has. It’s one level above a Class One misdemeanor. It is still a felony. If you’re convicted of a Class Six felony, and it’s your first felony conviction, then it’s possible that you could get probation for that offense.
If a court decides that you’re not eligible for probation and wants to send you to prison, then there’s a sentencing range on a Class Six felony that you would have to be sentenced according to. The range on a Class Six is essentially one year in prison. One and a half years is the max, and a half a year is the minimum, and the super max is two years, and the super minimum is a third of a year.
Prop 200 is a Law that was Passed in the 1990s that Provides for Mandatory Probation in Possession Cases
There is something called Prop 200 that was passed in the 1990’s. Prop 200 was essentially that the voters said on drug cases, “We don’t want people to be incarcerated for simple possession of drug cases.” If you get convicted of possession of marijuana, then Prop 200 says it’s mandatory probation, so you would not go to prison. The judge would have to sentence you to probation.
For a Third Possession Offense Prop 200 is No longer Applicable
There is a type of three strikes rule with Prop 200. On your third offense you’re no longer protected by the mandatory probation of Prop 200.
All illegal drugs are covered under Prop 200, except for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine was exempted from Prop 200 about five years ago. Now when people get caught with methamphetamine on their person and are in possession of it, they no longer get the protection of Prop 200.