Although marijuana legalization efforts are expanding across the nation, it is still illegal to possess, use, sell, or produce marijuana in the state of Arizona. To limit the amount of marijuana in the state, Arizona takes violations of A.R.S. §13-3405(A)(3), which prohibits the cultivation of marijuana, very seriously. Whether growing marijuana in a sophisticated indoor hydroponic setup or casually in a backyard garden, the penalties for growing marijuana in Arizona are severe, and having a criminal defense attorney to fight the charges is a must.
Penalties for Cultivation or Growing Marijuana in Arizona
The penalties for growing marijuana can greatly impact your life; even cultivation of marijuana in an amount of less than two (2) pounds results in a class five (5) felony. That charge carries a penalty of between six (6) months in prison to two years, six months (2.5 years) in prison, or “probation” with up to a year in jail. Having one prior felony conviction increases the potential prison sentence to between one (1) year and three years, nine months (3.75 years). Two prior felony convictions further increases the potential prison term to between three (3) years and seven years, six months (7.5 years).
Growing marijuana in an amount of between two (2) and four (4) pounds results in a class four (4) felony. A first offense of this nature carries a potential penalty of between one (1) year and three years, nine months (3.75 years) in prison. Having one prior felony conviction increases the prison range to a minimum of two years, three months (2.25 years), and a maximum of seven years, six months (7.5 years). Having two prior felony convictions results in a potential prison sentence of at least six (6) years and up to fifteen (15) years.
If the dried weight of the marijuana grown is more than four (4) pounds, the conviction is a class three (3) felony, which subjects defendants to a minimum of two (2) years in prison, and a maximum of eight years, nine months (8.75 years). One prior felony conviction increases the minimum term to three years, six months (3.5 years) and the maximum term to sixteen years, three months (16.25 years). Two prior felony convictions increases the minimum sentence to seven years, six months (7.5 years) and the maximum sentence to twenty five (25) years.
In addition to incarceration, convictions of growing marijuana carry a fine of $750.
Possible Defenses for Cultivation of Marijuana in Arizona
Despite being a serious charge, it is possible to assert effective defenses against the cultivation of marijuana. One such defense is “lack of knowledge”, which would arise where the defendant was unaware of marijuana being grown on his or her property, possibly due to it being hidden in a large garden or abandoned greenhouse. Lack of knowledge can also arise in the context of rental houses, or when one family member is cultivating marijuana without the knowledge of the rest of the family. A defense can also be raised based on improper drying and clearing of dirt prior to weighing the marijuana.
In addition to specific defenses, our firm can assert more general defenses such as denial of the right to counsel, in which police refuse to allow you to speak to an attorney but simply question you continuously. We can also assert a defense of Miranda rights violation, which arises when police force or trick you into making a confession against your will. If this defense is successful, we can suppress the evidence or statement that resulted from the police’s behavior.
Our firm can also analyze police work to find damaging errors, such as improper photo lineups; erroneous DNA, blood, or urine testing; sloppy police reports; false statements; and flawed crime scene reconstruction. Such errors can help our firm exclude evidence to assist in fighting your charge.
A skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial for a positive outcome in court. DM Cantor has earned the highest Martindale Hubbell® rating for law firms, AV®. All of the lawyers at the firm are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and David Michael Cantor has been designated by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Most of our attorneys are former prosecutors, which imparts unparalleled insight into the criminal justice system.
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