“Drug Offenses” are a pretty big category, and we deal with federal drug trafficking offenses separately in another area of this website. Here I want to talk about what we’ve seen more and more of lately: “pills.” I also want to talk about everyone’s favorite—marijuana.
By “pills” I mean the modern alphabet of prescription drugs in everyone’s handbag—from Adderal to Zoloft—that police manage to recover from our clients these days—and turn into criminal cases. And it’s not just students popping addies to cram for the proverbial exam. Once recent client, a thirty-something consultant with his own business, was actually reporting for Pima County jury duty , when the court house metal detector security guards alerted and exhumed from his shoulder bag a bottle of pills backed by a European prescription—but they charged him with a crime anyway. In another, a nurse was charged. I can’t tell you how many calls we get on these pill cases. They demand a lot of attention and time—especially because they tend to be charged as felonies.
Then there’s marijuana. Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that Arizona now has now legalized medical marijuana, we see an increasing number of cases in two places: On campus and in cars.
On campus: the University police and the resident assistants have become very aggressive in dorm room searches. In fact I couldn’t think of a worse place to smoke marijuana than in the dorms. As a practical matter, I’m not sure what rights to privacy remain in the dorms, or are honored.
In cars: Ironically, we’ve seen a significant increase in DUI-marijuana cases in the last two years. No alcohol involved. Impaired by marijuana only. While there’s no threshold toxicity level yet for marijuana impairment as it relates to driving in Arizona, I think it’s coming.
Other Possessory Drug Offenses
Unfortunately we handle a lot of possessory meth and heroin cases, and a fair number of cocaine cases, most often for young people. We don’t like to see anyone with one of these cases on their record, and almost always counsel engaging an attorney.