Arizona Marijuana Laws 2022

Arizona Marijuana Laws and Penalties Updated for 2022

While Arizonans have had more than a year to get used to legalized recreational marijuana laws in the state, many remain unaware of some of the legal changes that have accompanied its legalization. People need to understand the effect of recreational marijuana on various criminal laws and the differences between the laws surrounding recreational vs. medical marijuana.

Even though it is legal for adults 21 and up to possess and consume small amounts of marijuana, people can still be charged with marijuana offenses if they do not follow the laws. 

An experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Shah Law Firm can help you understand these laws and what you should avoid preventing yourself from being charged with a marijuana-related crime in 2022.

How Legalized Recreational Marijuana Laws have Changed in Arizona?

During the 2020 election, Arizona voters passed Proposition 207, which resulted in the legalization of recreational marijuana. This bill came 10 years after voters passed Proposition 203 in the Nov. 2010 election, which legalized medical marijuana. Like the earlier medical marijuana law, Proposition 207 caused numerous changes to how marijuana possession is treated in the state.

Before recreational marijuana was legalized, people caught with any amount of marijuana under two pounds could be charged with a class 6 felony under ARS 13-3405. However, Proposition 207 created a new chapter in Title 36 of the Arizona Revised Statutes called the Responsible Adult Use of Marijuana.

This chapter includes multiple statutes that govern the recreational use of marijuana, including where it can be used, who can use it, the amounts that people can legally possess, and others.

Under ARS 36-2852, for example, adults ages 21 and older can legally possess up to six plants, five grams of marijuana concentrate, or one ounce of cannabis.

However, if you possess more than the above-listed legal amounts of marijuana, you can still face charges as follows:

  • More than one but less than 2.5 ounces as a first offense – Civil offense with a fine of $100 under ARS 36-2853
  • More than one but less than 2.5 ounces as a second offense – Petty offense that could result in eight hours of mandatory drug education
  • More than one but less than 2.5 ounces as a third offense – Class 1 misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail
The Arizona marijuana laws are different if you are a certified medical marijuana user.

If you are caught with more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana but less than two pounds, you can still face Class 6 felony charges under ARS 13-3405. There are also restrictions on where you can smoke marijuana. Under these new laws, you are technically not allowed to smoke it in open public areas. While Arizonans can now legally grow marijuana plants, you must also follow the restrictions.

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Domestic Violence Charges During Holidays

Do Domestic Violence Charges Increase During the Holidays?

Many people think that incidents of domestic violence charges will spike during the holidays. The holidays can be stressful and cause people to take their anger out on those who are closest to them. Several factors can lead to domestic violence incidents during the holidays, including financial stress, unrealistic expectations, increased alcohol use, and being shut inside with immediate family members for extended periods.

During this holiday season, all of these factors are compounded by the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the added layers of stress and financial problems it has wrought. While domestic violence cases do happen, some people also lash out at their family members by filing false reports.

People who are facing domestic violence charges should talk to a domestic violence attorney at the Shah Law Firm as soon as possible.

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Increase in Domestic Violence Charges During the Holidays

The holidays bring a lot of added stress to families in Arizona. People can be overwhelmed when they have to plan holiday celebrations. They might also be facing increased financial stress and have unrealistic expectations of their experiences. Holidays can always be overwhelming. However, the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic has added even more stress. Many families are struggling financially and simply do not have the means to celebrate in the way in which they would like.

According to data from the Phoenix Police Department, domestic violence homicides increased by 180% year-over-year during the first eight months of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. This demonstrates that people were already under significant stress even before the holiday season got started.

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Driving Out of Arizona with Marijuana

Driving with Marijuana Out of Arizona

Medical marijuana has been legal in Arizona since it was approved by voters in 2010, and voters in the 2020 election also passed Proposition 207 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana among adults in the state in Nov. 2020.

Arizona is now one of 17 states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

While Arizona borders several states that have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, including California, Colorado, and Nevada, it does not mean that you can get on the road to travel out of state with marijuana purchased within Arizona.

More than 203,000 Arizonans are also registered medical cannabis users, comprising a little more than 3% of the state’s population. Even if you have a valid medical marijuana card in Arizona, that does not mean that you will be legally allowed to bring your medicine with you to another state.

Here is some information about the Arizona marijuana laws and traveling with marijuana within the state or out of state from a marijuana DUI lawyer at the Shah Law Firm.

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Arizona Justification Defense for Self-Defense

What Does Justification Defense Mean?

If you have been charged with a crime in Arizona, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney for help with defending against your charges. While you might think that you will be convicted as charged, it is possible to successfully defend against criminal charges. Defense attorney Arja Shah might use several different types of defense strategies on your behalf to show the court that you are either not guilty or should not face the most serious penalties because of the circumstances and facts of what occurred.

In some cases, people who are charged with crimes might either have justification or excuse defenses available to them.

A justification defense exists when an act occurred, but certain circumstances existed at the time to justify the defendant’s actions.

By contrast, excuse defenses exist when a defendant committed an offense but did not have the mental capacity or required belief at the time of the conduct, providing the jury or judge an opportunity to excuse what he or she did. Here is some more information about justification and excuse defenses from the Shah Law Firm.

Speak to Arizona Defense Lawyer Arja Shah Now

We are Open and Available to answer any questions. Free consultations by phone or video chat. Shah Law has successfully defended over 2,700 clients. We are on your side!

What are the Different Types of Justification Defenses?

A justification defense might be asserted when the incident occurred, but the defendant had a justifiable reason for committing the act. The justification defenses include the following:

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Defense of property
  • Necessity
  • Excuse defenses

Justification defenses can be asserted as affirmative defenses to criminal charges when the benefits of what happened outweigh the negatives. When a defendant’s actions that would otherwise be criminal in nature were warranted, his or her conduct might be considered justified. While the prosecution generally has the burden of proof to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you will have the burden of proof when you assert a justification defense.

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Disorderly Conduct Lawyer

10 Strange Types of Disorderly Conduct Charges in Arizona

One of the most commonly charged offenses in Arizona is disorderly conduct. This offense is also known as disturbing the peace and is used by the police as a type of catch-all offense when someone engages in behavior that others find disturbing.

While this charge is very common, it is also a criminal offense. Here are 10 strange examples of disorderly conduct charges followed by a discussion of the penalties you might face if you are convicted of disorderly conduct.

Charged with pulling fire alarm

1. Pulling a fire alarm.

Pulling a fire alarm is a juvenile type of prank that has been popularized in many movies. However, if you pull a fire alarm at a school or business, you could end up facing disorderly conduct charges.

Illegally Brandishing a Firearm

2. Brandishing a gun/firearm.

While many people in Arizona love their guns, behaving in a manner deemed to be irresponsible with a firearm can get you in trouble. Unless you are defending yourself, it is illegal to recklessly display, discharge, or handle a gun in a manner that disturbs your family, friends, or neighborhood.
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Arizona Marijuana DUI driving while high

New Arizona Recreational Marijuana DUI Laws in 2022

The DUI statute in Arizona is found at ARS 28-1381. Under this law, there are two different ways that people can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Under 28-1381(A)(1), it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of any drug, alcohol, or inhalant when you are impaired to the slightest degree.

If you consume marijuana and then drive your vehicle while impaired by it, you can be charged with a marijuana DUI under this law.

Under ARS 28-1381(A)(3), people can be charged with DUIs when they operate motor vehicles with any drug listed in ARS 13-3401 or its metabolite. This subsection is a zero-tolerance law because you can be arrested if you have any amount of a listed drug in your system, even if you are not impaired. Marijuana is one of the listed drugs, along with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and prescription drugs when you do not have a valid prescription.

While marijuana is a listed drug for a DUI charge under ARS 13-1381(A)(3), ARS 36-2852(B) specifically states that a person who has marijuana or its metabolites in their system cannot be convicted of a DUI under this subsection unless they are impaired to the slightest degree.

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Stacked Charges in Criminal Case

What Does Stacking Charges in a Criminal Case Mean?

Stacking charges, or what can be perceived as “combining charges,” occurs when a prosecutor treats separate offenses as prior convictions to treat a defendant as a repeat offender even if he or she does not have any prior convictions. Repeat felony offenders face enhanced sentencing in Arizona as compared to first-time offenders for the same offenses.

If a prosecutor can prove that the offenses were committed at separate times, the defendant may be sentenced more harshly than others.

For example, if someone is charged with three burglaries on subsequent days and is prosecuted for them in a single trial, he or she may be treated as a repeat offender if the prosecutor is stacking charges and is able to prove all three criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why Stacking Charges is a Real Problem

Prosecutors often use charge stacking as a way to convince defendants to accept plea offers that might otherwise be unfavorable. For example, a prosecutor might tell a defendant that he or she will ask for an enhanced sentence if the defendant takes the case against him or her to trial. This might happen even when it is unclear that the offenses would normally be considered separate.

Because the defendant might be frightened at the prospect of facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence, he or she may feel like there is no other choice than to accept the plea offer.

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Out of state DUI in Arizona

Out of State DUI when Living Outside of Arizona

In the state of Arizona, law enforcement takes DUI offenses very seriously and has a “zero-tolerance” law. When you are driving in from out of state and are pulled over for a DUI, the standard protocol is to give a field sobriety test, as well as a breathalyzer so the officer can get your BAC number. Additionally, if you refuse a breath test during the stop, you will be taken to the local police station to have your blood drawn.

If you happen to live out of the state of Arizona and have been charged with an out-of-state DUI, this can have some serious, not to mention expensive, consequences. The most important is that if you chose to represent yourself in the matter, not only will you be responsible for any fees, but also for your own travel expenses.

Not to mention that the process can last on average of 3-4 months and you would be required to appear in person at each of the pre-trial conferences.

 

Let’s discuss the laws when it comes to DUI. In Arizona, if your blood alcohol count is over .08 and under .15, you will be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. If you have a BAC level between .15 and .20, you will be charged with an Extreme DUI. Following an Extreme DUI is what is known as a Super Extreme DUI, meaning a BAC level of .20 and greater. Finally, the most severe type of Arizona DUI is a Felony Aggravated DUI.

A felony aggravated DUI charge usually depends on whether you have previous DUI charges within the last 7 years, if there was a minor under the age of 15 present in the vehicle if your license was suspended at the time of the stop, and if someone else was seriously injured as a result of a DUI.

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Criminal Defense Lawyer Arja Shah

How can an Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Your Case?

The criminal justice system is very complex and is confusing for most people when they are charged with crimes. Learning how to navigate through the processes and rules can be difficult for people who are not represented by a criminal defense lawyer.

Within the court system, criminal defense attorneys offer guidance to their clients to help them understand each step of the process from bond hearings to jury trials. Throughout their representation, a defense lawyer works to protect their clients’ interests and serve as their confidants.

Criminal defense lawyers fall into two main groups, including those who are appointed by the court and paid for their services by the government and those who are privately retained by people who are facing criminal charges.

At the Shah Law Firm, we offer private criminal defense representation to people who are facing all levels of criminal charges.

Private Criminal Defense Lawyer vs. Court-Appointed Public Defender

People who can afford to hire attorneys for their defenses retain private criminal defense lawyers. Those who are unable to pay for an attorney are not left to navigate the criminal court process alone, however. Indigent defendants can ask the court to appoint public defenders to represent them. A very small percentage of defendants opt to represent themselves and are known as pro se defendants.

Private criminal defense attorneys are directly contacted by the defendant while public defenders are assigned cases by the court. Public defenders are lawyers who are paid for their services by the public defender’s office on a salary basis. These lawyers often have large caseloads and are paid lower salaries than what private criminal defense attorneys earn.

Because of the fact that a majority of criminal defendants are indigent and the court referral process, public defenders often do not have as much time at their disposal to spend on each case.

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Arizona Police use dog to search vehicle

Do Police Need a Search Warrant to Search a Car in AZ?

In Arizona, people are protected against an unlawful vehicle search or seizure by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While the Fourth Amendment requires officers to get search warrants before they search your property, there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement that allow them to search without a search warrant.

Vehicle searches are treated differently than searches of your home,and police are generally allowed to conduct warrantless searches of vehicles as long as they have probable cause.

Several other exceptions also allow police to search vehicles without warrants, including consent, searches incident to an arrest, inventory searches, plain view searches,and searches based on reasonable suspicion. We’ll take a brief look at each of these exceptions below.

Warrantless Searches Based on Probable Cause

In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court established the mobile conveyance exception to the search warrant requirement in Carroll v. United States. In their decision, Supreme Court distinguished vehicles from homes, noting that vehicles can easily be moved away from a traffic stop, and evidence could be destroyed.

As long as police have probable cause, they can search your car without a warrant under the mobile conveyance exception without it being considered an unlawful search.

An officer has probable cause when a reasonably prudent person in the same situation would believe that evidence of a crime is likely located inside of a vehicle. However, only the areas in which the suspected evidence would likely be located can be searched.

For example, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you stole your neighbor’s 60-inch television and that it is likely hidden in your car, he or she can search your vehicle’s trunk. However, the officer would not have probable cause to search your glove box since a television would not fit inside.

If a police officer pulled you over for a minor traffic violation, he or she will generally not have probable cause to support a warrantless search of your vehicle. However, if your conduct following the stop allows the officer to develop probable cause that evidence might be located in your vehicle, he or she can search without a warrant.

Consider this, if you are stopped for speeding, the officer will not be able to search your car based only on that. However, if he or she smells alcohol on your breath, he or she can search your car for open containers of alcohol.

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