1) They must prove that the person charged with possession; 2) did knowingly possess; 3) a usable quantity; 4) of a controlled substance.
That means that the State needs to obtain and present evidence that the person charged with the offense is precisely the same person who was either arrested or cited by police, that the individual in question knew they were in possession of a controlled substance, and that there was a usable quantity of that substance, and that the substance was actually illegal to possess under Arizona law.
In other words, the State must provide evidence that the person charged with possession knew they were in possession of drugs and that the drugs were illegal. The State doesn’t need to prove that someone actually knew they had possession of drugs, they can prove that a person had constructive possession by demonstrating dominion or control over an object.
A person has constructive possession of an object when they have power or dominion over it. For example, it would be difficult for a prosecutor to say that someone actually knew there was a bottle of pills in their medicine cabinet, but what they can do is they can show that a person had dominion over the medicine cabinet because it belonged to them and because they stored their belongings there. It is also possible for more than one person to have constructive possession over something.
In addition to possession charges, if there is a situation where a person is in possession of a certain amount of drugs, then the State can proceed to charge the individual with transportation or sale of drugs. This is referred to as the threshold amount, and the actual amount required for this charge varies depending on the substance:
If an unlawful substance is not listed in the table above, the threshold amount is any amount equal to a value of one thousand dollars or more.
The drug statutes in Arizona can prove to be very confusing for some. Below is a brief description of the various kinds of controlled substances.
When the law refers to Marijuana they are referring to any part of any marijuana plant, including but not limited to its seeds, from which the resin has not been extracted. A.R.S. § 13-3401(19)
Peyote means possession of any part of the peyote plant. A.R.S. § 13-3401(23).
Vapor releasing substances essentially refers to any substance that releases a toxic fume or vapor. Examples include: Acetone, nitrous, and propane. A.R.S. § 13-3401(38).
Narcotic drug includes most opiates and derived cannabis. Examples may include oxycodone, percocet, morphine, cannabinoid oil, and many more A.R.S. § 13-3401(20)(21).
Prescription drugs means any drug that requires a prescription from a medical professional in order to possess legally. A.R.S. § 13-3401(28).
Dangerous drugs include drugs such as methamphetamine, alprazolam, and testosterone. A.R.S. § 13-3401(6).
The penalties for crimes such as these truly depend on three things: type of drug, the amount of drugs, and the nature of the crime in question.
Possession or sale of peyote is considered a class 6 felony.
Vapor releasing substance:
Inhalation or consumption of a vapor-releasing substance is considered a class 5 felony.
Sale of a vapor-releasing substance to someone under the age of 18 is a class 5 felony.