Interviewer: So, let’s go through a quick list. Narcotic drugs are crack cocaine, cocaine, and what else are considered to be narcotic drugs?
Mike: Honestly, the list is too big. There are many, many, many drugs.
Mike: Dangerous drugs, same thing. Very, very long list, but the more popular ones are methamphetamine, heroine, things of that nature.
Mike: And then also another dangerous drug is ecstasy or MDMA is another one that’s common.
Interviewer: Do any of these drugs fall under multiple classifications or are they just charged as one type of drug. It’s either dangerous or its narcotic, for instance?
Mike: No, they’re not going to fall under two categories. They’re going to fall under one. Now, if someone is caught with substances that qualify as both, then they’ll charge them with both.
Mike: I’ll give you an example; if a person is arrested and they’re searched and they have cocaine and methamphetamine on the person, then they’re going to be arrested and charged for possession of a Class 4 dangerous drug as well as possession of a Class 4 narcotic drug.
Interviewer: I would guess that marijuana is the most common drug that people get hit for on possession charges?
Mike: I’d say marijuana is the most common because as the law changes in the western region of the United States, now they’re giving licenses out. Arizona is one of the newest states that people can get, for certain illnesses or disabilities, a license to use marijuana. So, marijuana is probably the most common drug you see people getting arrested for in terms of possession.
Interviewer: But even marijuana possession is still a felony. I mean, it’s the least severe level of felony, but still a felony, not a misdemeanor.
Mike: Yes, and that surprises a lot of people. Especially people who aren’t from Arizona, because in different states it’s not a felony. In the State of Arizona it is a Class 6 felony.
Mike: It’s very serious.
Interviewer: In marijuana possession do charges tend to stay as a felony or do they get knocked down to a misdemeanors frequently? How serious is this?
Mike: In terms of what are the penalties are if you are found or arrested for one of these offenses, as long as you don’t have any prior convictions of possession of drugs, in Arizona they have a law was passed roughly a decade ago called Proposition 200 that applied to possession of these illegal drugs. The intent of the law was not to fill up jails with people who only are possessing drugs.
So, what they did was they said they basically created a three strike rule for possession of drug cases. If you’re arrested on one of these offenses and you have no drug strikes or convictions then the law says you get mandatory probation. And what that means is you can’t go to jail or you cannot go to prison from these offenses. You can be convicted of the offense, but it’s going to be mandatory probation because the goal is rehabilitation in terms of drugs.
Now, specifically in Maricopa County, the most ideal situation that a good defense lawyer is going to try to get for a client is a program called TASC and TASC is a program that is a third party company that does drug rehabilitation and drug testing. So, in Arizona on your first offense for any of the drugs listed, methamphetamine, coke, ecstasy, any type of drug as long as you‘ve never had TASC before, we’re going to try to get TASC.
And essentially what TASC is, TASC is a drug diversion program for possession of illegal drugs and so what happens is any type of drugs you are arrested for, if you agree to do TASC, then you have to get drug testing, you have to be clean, you have to go to drug rehabilitation classes.
So long as a person successfully completes those classes, then all the drug charges, can be erased off their record like it never happened. In Maricopa County they only give you TASC one time. If you’ve done it once you cannot get it again in Maricopa County.