What is the Penalty for Possession of Drugs in Arizona?

Gavel, handcuffs & drugs

Gavel, handcuffs & drugs

It is important to understand the laws surrounding drug possession in Arizona. These laws can be complicated, and it is important to keep up with them. There are many different types of drugs, and each kind has its own set of laws. The penalties vary depending on the type of drug and the amount possessed. In this blog, we will provide an overview of what drug possession is, the types of controlled substances defined by the state, and the penalties associated with each type of drug possession charge.

What Is Drug Possession?

Drug possession is defined as the unlawful control of a dangerous drug, except marijuana, without a valid prescription. The different ways someone could “possess” drugs include actual possession, constructive possession, joint possession, and aggravated possession. Actual possession means that the person had the drug in their immediate possession, such as in their pockets or their purse. Constructive possession means that the person did not have the drug on their person but had it in an area under their control, such as in their car or their house. Joint possession means that two or more people had equal control over the drug, such as if it was found in a shared living space. Aggravated possession of drugs is an increased charge that depends on whether or not specific factors are involved. Examples of factors that make a drug possession charge aggravated include things like sale or delivery to a minor, indicated intent to sell, prior drug possession convictions, and more. Possession penalties are classified according to the classification of controlled substances.

What Are The Six Groups of Controlled Dangerous Substances In Arizona?

To protect the public and reduce risks associated with drug abuse, the state of Arizona has divided controlled dangerous substances (CDS) into six different groups: Peyote, Substances Emitting Toxic Vapors, Marijuana, Prescription Drugs, Dangerous Drugs, and Narcotic Drugs. The groupings are based on several factors, including the drug’s potential for abuse, its medical usefulness, and its harm to society.


Peyote is a small, spineless cactus that grows in desert regions of North America and is classified as a Schedule I drug in the state of Arizona. The plant is considered dangerous due to its psychoactive properties, which can lead to negative health consequences such as anxiety, delusions, and paranoia. Although peyote is legal for ceremonial use by certain Indigenous American groups, it remains illegal for recreational use in Arizona.

Substances Emitting Toxic Vapors

The drug group substances emitting toxic vapors, according to Arizona drug law, are those that release harmful fumes when used. Substances that emit toxic vapors include solvents, aerosols, gasses, nitrites, and some other substances that are ingested primarily by inhalation through the nose or mouth are dangerous because they can cause serious health problems, including respiratory problems and brain damage. The Arizona law is designed to protect people from the dangers of these substances by making it illegal to use them.


Although Marijuana was recently legalized for recreational use in Arizona, there are still some parameters in place to regulate its possession. Marijuana is a term used to describe the dried leaves, flowering tops, and twigs of the cannabis plant. When smoked or ingested, THC, the substance that produces the effects of Marijuana, produces feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and increased appetite. However, it can also have negative effects, such as memory loss and impaired coordination.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are medications that are prescribed by a medical professional for a specific individual. Possession of these drugs is only legal when the prescription is in the name of the person who is carrying the medication. If the prescription is not in the individual’s name, or if the individual does not have a prescription at all, then possession of the medication is illegal.

Dangerous Drugs

In the state of Arizona, dangerous drugs are classified as those that have a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of dangerous drugs in Arizona include methamphetamine, LSD, steroids, hallucinogenic substances, and more. In short, any drug that has the potential to be abused can be considered dangerous. Arizona takes a hard line when it comes to drugs and possession of even small amounts of a dangerous drug can result in felony charges.

Narcotic Drugs

Narcotic drugs are defined as any drug that has the potential to produce hallucinations, delusions, or altered states of consciousness. In the state of Arizona, narcotics are classified as Schedule I drugs, which means that they have a high potential for abuse and are not currently accepted for medical use. Common examples of Schedule I drugs include cocaine, heroin, opium, and more.

Drug use

What Are The Penalties For Possession Of Controlled Dangerous Substances?

The penalties for possession of controlled dangerous substances in the state of Arizona depend on the type and amount of drug involved. The penalties for these offenses can include long prison terms and large fines. As a result, it is important to be aware of the potential consequences before engaging in any drug activity.

Penalty for Possession of Peyote

In Arizona, the penalties for possession of peyote are based on whether the individual intends to use it for religious purposes. If the person is a member of the Native American Church and has peyote for religious reasons, then there is no penalty. However, if the person is not a member of the church and has peyote, then it is a felony offense. If you are charged with possession of peyote, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.

Penalty for Possession of Substances Emitting Toxic Vapers

In Arizona, it can be a felony to possess a substance that emits toxic vapors. The penalties for this offense depend on the amount of the substance involved. If convicted, you could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. If you are charged with this offense, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and protect your rights.

Penalty for Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana is legal to use recreationally in Arizona. However, there are certain circumstances where you can get in legal trouble. Similarly to alcohol, you must be 21 years or older to purchase and possess marijuana, and you cannot drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If THC metabolites are found in sufficient concentration in your blood, then you can be charged with a marijuana DUI.

Penalty for Possession of Prescription Drugs

Some prescription drug charges are considered class 1 misdemeanors, which generally bring with them six months of incarceration and fines. Some prescription drug charges are Class 4 felonies, which are punishable by up to three years in prison. In addition, those who are convicted of prescription drug possession in Arizona may also be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

Penalty for Possession of Dangerous Drugs

The penalty for possession of dangerous drugs charge will depend on the severity of the offense. If you are a first-time offender, the judge may reduce the offense to a class 1 misdemeanor under certain conditions. For the most part, however, possession of a dangerous drug carries a class 4 felony penalty and eighteen months to three years in prison.

Penalty for Possession of Narcotic Drugs

Like other drug possession offenses, the penalties for possessing a narcotic drug in Arizona depend on the amount of the drug involved and whether the person has any prior convictions. Possession of a narcotic drug is a class 4 felony and is punishable by eighteen months to up to three years in prison.

Get a Criminal Defense Lawyer In Your Corner

Drug possession charges are serious business, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help you navigate the legal system and achieve the best possible outcome for your drug possession case. Drug possession laws vary from state to state and even from city to city, so it’s important to have a local lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction.

Antol & Sherman is a Northern Arizona law firm with a heavy focus on drug possession cases. We have extensive experience handling drug possession cases and will work tirelessly to get you the best possible result. If you or someone you know has been charged with drug possession or DUI, call us today for a free consultation.

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