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Drug possession and methamphetamine: Arizona's laws

Methamphetamine is a type of illicit drug. On the street, the most common form is crystal methamphetamine, often simply called "meth" or "crystal meth." This is only a single form of the drug, which can be taken in many ways.

Methamphetamine can be injected, snorted, smoked or eaten. It's known for making people feel a false sense of happiness and confidence, energy and hyperactivity. A typical dose lasts six to eight hours, but it has the potential to last 24 hours.

What is the problem with methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine's primary issue is that it is a potent, dangerous chemical with a high likelihood of addiction. It is a stimulant, which means it destroys the body piece by piece with each hit. It is common to find that patients who took methamphetamine now have heart or brain damage, are aggressive, have trouble with memory loss and may show signs of psychotic behavior. Since the drug is highly concentrated, it's not unusual to find that a person becomes addicted the first time they use meth.

What should you do if you're accused of using methamphetamine?

The first thing to know is that an arrest is a serious consequence of taking methamphetamine. If you're caught here in Arizona, you face a Class 4 felony if you haven't previously been convicted. The fine is at least $2,000, but it may be as much as three times the value of the substance in your possession. You also face up to a year in prison on a first offense if you're caught with this dangerous drug.

Also, keep in mind that the amount of the drug in your possession does make a difference. If you have 9 or more grams of methamphetamine, you've hit the threshold level for a presumption of sales. That means that the court has a right to assume you intend to sell the drug. If that isn't the case, you need to devise a defense very quickly to help counter the potential for a litany of additional charges and penalties that come with the accusations drug-dealing.

Getting the help you need is vital

Nobody sets out to become a drug addict. The reality is that many struggle with their addictions but have little ability to walk away from the drug. It's possible that your defense attorney could argue for the right for you to attend substance abuse counseling or in-patient rehabilitation instead of serving a prison sentence.

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