All states regulate and control the possession for personal use of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for possession. Arizona classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as controlled substances, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
This article discusses possession of CDS for personal use only. The possession of CDS for sale or distribution carries different penalties. For more information on possession of CDS for sale or distribution, see Sale of Controlled Substances in Arizona.
Arizona divides its CDS into six groups, based on the type of substance the defendant possessed. The groups are:
If you’ve been arrested for possession of CDS, in order to know what charges you may be facing, you’ll need to consult the Arizona Codes that list precisely which drugs, and in what amounts, fit into each group. Those statutes are Arizona Code Sections 13.3401-13.3422.
Some CDS, such as codeine, a common painkiller, may be possessed legally so long as the holder has a valid prescription.
Arizona treats its CDS crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors (which result in less jail time and lower fines than felonies).
Each of the felony and misdemeanor classes has a punishment range, specifying incarceration and fines. Below, each of the CDS possession offenses is explained and placed in a felony or misdemeanor class, with the punishment range noted.
Possession of peyote is a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony is punishable by four months to two years in prison. Felony fines are determined by the court and can be assessed at up to $150,000. However, a defendant can defeat a charge of possession if he can prove the peyote was used for religious reasons during the course of a religious exercise and did not pose a threat to the community.
It is illegal to knowingly inhale or drink any substance that contains or emits toxic vapors. This includes substances such as glues, aerosol sprays, and isopropyl alcohol. Possession of a substance that emits toxic vapors is a Class 5 felony, but may be reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor by the court. A Class 5 felony is punishable by six months to two and a half years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000. If the conviction is sentenced as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the court can impose a six-month jail term and a fine of up to $2,500.
The punishment for possession of marijuana for personal use depends on the amount of the drug in the defendant’s possession:
Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony is punishable by four months to two years in prison and a fine of up to $ 150,000.
Class 5 felony. A Class 5 felony is punishable by six months to two and a half years in jail and a fine of up to $ 150,000.
Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony is punishable by one to 3