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Comparing State and Federal Drug Offenses

Last updated 6 years ago

Though drug laws may seem arbitrary, citizens are obliged to follow the rules. Yet making matters confusing is the fact that different kinds of offenses bring about different penalties. Here’s a brief comparison of how drug offenses are treated both in Arizona and at the federal level.

Drug Classification
Like many other states, Arizona uses a drug classification system that is based on the federal Controlled Substances Act, which breaks up the various drugs into categories, or “schedules,” numbered one to five. For example, schedule one drugs are those that have a high potential for abuse and are not used in medical treatment (LSD, heroin), while schedule five drugs do not have much risk of being abused, and can be obtained at the local pharmacy. Possession of a schedule one drug may carry a severe punishment, while possession of a schedule five drug does not.   

State Penalties
The state of Arizona covers all drug possession offenses within state lines. Judges may determine an individual’s sentence based on the amount of drugs involved, whether a minor was present, relevant prior convictions, and other factors. If an adult is caught with a small amount of marijuana, he may choose to undergo a special program in order to get his charges dropped and have his record expunged.  

Federal Penalties      
When an individual brings drugs into Arizona from another state or country, it becomes a federal drug offense, and the penalties are much harsher. Those convicted of trafficking risk losing their property through “criminal forfeiture,” and may be forced to pay fines that go as high as $20 million.

If you are currently facing state or federal drug charges, contact Blumberg & Associates. Our experienced lawyers will work hard to make sure that you don’t end up paying your entire life for one night of indiscretion. Call us at (602) 277-6180 to get started.   



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