Flagstaff Felony Defense Lawyer: drug sales in school zones

I’ve had a lot of questions recently regarding the sale of drugs on or near school property, and whether that matters for their cases. The answer is yes, it does matter. It matters a lot.

Possession of drugs, such as marijuana, “for sale” comes with far more severe consequences than simple possession. And the actual sale of drugs, such as when the METRO undercover task force does a drug sting in Flagstaff or in Northern Arizona, is even more serious that possession “for sale.”

All Arizona drug crimes involving the sale of drugs are felony offenses. Arizona drug laws define “sale” or “sell” as the “exchange for anything of value or advantage, present or prospective.” A.R.S. section 13-3401.

Now, what about offenses committed in a school safety zone, like when a high school senior sells marijuana to his friends while at school? It’s not a different crime than the ones I’ve discussed above, but it is a different sentencing scheme. First of all, what is a “school”? It’s “any public or nonpublic kindergarten program, common school or high school.” A.R.S. section 13-709(D)(1).

A “school safety zone” under Arizona law means any of the following:

(a) The area within 300 feet of a school or its accompanying grounds;

(b) Any public property within 1000 feet of a school or its accompanying grounds;

(c) Any school bus;

(d) A bus contracted to transport students for school;

(e) A school bus stop; or

(f) Any bus stop where children wait to be transported by bus to or from school.

A.R.S. section 13-3401(D)(2)(a)-(f).

Thus, selling drugs at a school bus stop anywhere in Flagstaff, even if the nearest school is miles away, brings you under the enhanced sentencing structure of A.R.S. section 13-709. So why does this matter so much?

Because if you are convicted of a drug crime in a school zone or school safety zone in Arizona you face up to a YEAR longer in prison (if non-gang member) and up to FIVE YEARS longer if you are a gang member.

Plus your minimum fine is $2,000. Know your rights. Defend your freedom.

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