Flagstaff felony lawyer discusses Arizona felony drug laws including drug transportation on Interstate 40 and Interstate 17

Arizona has a detailed set of felony drug laws.

See Arizona Revised Statutes, section 13-3401 et seq.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) is well-aware of Arizona’s relatively high-volume drug trafficking on I-40 across Northern Arizona and I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, including marijuana, hydroponic marijuana, mushrooms, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base or hydrolyzed cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, and even methamphetamine. Drug paraphernalia (anything used to contain, conceal, package, smoke, inject or otherwise possess or use the drug) also comes with felony and misdemeanor charges.

Transporting drugs intended for sale is such a serious crime that a first-time felony often requires a prison sentence under Arizona law, even if the person has a clean driving history and no criminal record.

Drug courier profiling in Arizona has been the subject of litigation and argument. Trained officers are aware of many telltale signs of drug trafficking, but Arizona law does not permit officers to pull people over on a “hunch.” They need reasonable suspicion of drug trafficking, a felony, or any crime – or, of course, they need to observe a traffic violation, such as speeding, failure to control vehicle, excessive speeding, criminal speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following a vehicle too closely, or other Arizona traffic violations.

See Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Arizona felony drug cases are charged based on several factors:

  • the type of controlled substance / drugs;
  • the amount of the controlled substance / drugs;
  • whether controlled substance / drugs are possessed, manufactured, produced, intended for sale,
  • transported, or transported for sale;
  • and other factors.

Major drug offenses in Arizona must be defended swiftly and with the full force of the Arizona Constitution and U.S. Constitution. The following issues have been raised in previous cases and may be raised in your case which can lead to suppression of evidence, dismissal of charges and not guilty verdicts:

  • Illegal basis for the traffic stop;
  • Illegal detention or unlawful arrest;
  • No probable cause to justify a warrantless search;
  • The drug detection dog or K9 was not certified and/or reliable;
  • Invalid search warrant based on material omissions, misrepresentations and/or unspecific and vague information
  • Violation of Miranda rights (right to remain silent, speak with an attorney, etc.);
  • Racial profiling;
  • Violation of right to due process if government fails to preserve evidence;
  • No knowledge that drugs were present; and
  • The drugs that were possessed were for personal use and not for sale.

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