Arrested for the First Time for Personal Drug Possession in Arizona — What You Can Expect
By Zachary Mushkatel on February 17, 2014
If you have been arrested for personal possession or use of drug paraphernalia for the first time in Arizona, you may be eligible for drug treatment and probation and can avoid jail time.
As long as the amount of drugs you had in possession meets the thresholds set by the state of Arizona, you may be assigned to an adult diversion program called TASC (Treatment Assessment Screening Center). TASC is a non-profit organization that offers screening, counseling, drug education, and substance abuse support.
However, a first-time offense doesn’t automatically assure that you will receive deferred prosecution. TASC screens applicants for eligibility. If you do not meet the program’s qualifications, you may not be invited to participate.
Those who fail the drug program or refuse to participate can still face penalties under Arizona’s drug laws. Under Proposition 302, which was approved in 2002, the court has discretion to incarcerate a person who has violated probation, but only if that probation violation related to committing another drug-related offense or involved the violation of a court order relating to drug treatment.
Even if you are not eligible for probation under the personal possession or use laws, you still may be able to receive probation at the discretion of the court or by virtue of a well-negotiated plea agreement.
If a defendant passes the drug program successfully, the case will be dismissed. Once again, not passing the program means that a defendant’s case will be reinstated and a defendant will then endure the criminal justice process absent the benefits of TASC.
Whether it is the first time you have been charged with a drug offense in Arizona or not, it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney at the law firm of Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, in Phoenix. A conviction for even a minor drug offense can follow you for the rest of your life, so it is important that you seek the knowledgeable legal counsel that we offer. If you need help with your case, call us at (623) 889-0691 or contact us online today.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.