Phoenix Drug Crime Lawyers

Silva & Fontes is the experienced, Phoenix criminal drug defense firm that always goes the extra mile to help you achieve the best result when you are facing a drug charge.

Prosecutors in Arizona are zealously prosecuting drug charges, pointing to data from the American Medical Association (AMA) showing that the pandemic has drastically increased the number of overdoses. Even if you don’t serve time, a conviction on drug charges can turn your life upside down, limiting your ability to obtain employment, professional licenses, credit and if you are not a U.S. citizen, your ability to live or even visit the U.S. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced Phoenix drug crime attorney to begin preparing your defenses as soon as possible after you’re arrested or charged. Silva & Fontes are the Phoenix drug charge defense attorneys that take the time to get to know you and personalize your defense, increasing your ability to avoid jail time and a criminal record.

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42 years of experience.
Fluent Spanish speaking attorneys. 

Silva & Fontes is a trusted firm in Arizona that will mount a strong defense to your criminal charges.

Marijuana Charges in Arizona

It’s legal in Arizona to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or six plants for non-commercial purposes if you’re over the age of 21, but it remains a misdemeanor to possess higher amounts and a felony to sell it. Further, the federal government (and thus immigration) still does not recognize Arizona’s marijuana law. The Arizona penalties for marijuana possession, sales and manufacture are now lower than for “dangerous drugs,” but they can still result in a conviction with life altering implications. It’s also important to keep in mind that you may be charged with a felony under federal law for distribution, trafficking, importation and smuggling of marijuana that crosses state or international lines, so it’s important to get legal advice immediately for any type of drug charge, especially if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Dangerous Drugs Charges In Arizona

Arizona law defines a “dangerous drug” to refer to both prescription drugs and “street drugs” that are possessed, distributed and/or manufactured illegally such as:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Crack
  • Fentanyl
  • Methamphetamine
  • PCP
  • Oxycodone and
  • Xanax

For the above and similar drugs, Arizona prosecutes the following types of activities:


  • Administering to another person;
  • Possession (even if it “belongs” to another person);
  • Possession with intent to sell;
  • Fraudulent obtaining of a prescription
  • Distribution;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Trafficking
  • Importation and
  • Smuggling.

It is important to keep in mind that any drug charge for a “dangerous drug” is a felony with a minimum sentence of four months in prison, even for a first offense. That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced Phoenix drug charge defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

Possession vs. Possession with Intent to Sell

The line between these two crimes is not as clear as you may think. An Arizona prosecutor may charge someone with “intent to sell” based upon “circumstantial evidence,” thus increasing the charges and penalties they may otherwise face. Circumstantial evidence of “intent to sell” may include:

  • Large amounts in possession;
  • Manner of packaging;
  • Statements made by the person charged;
  • Possession of pipes, needles or other user paraphernalia;
  • Possession of scales, packaging or other sales paraphernalia and
  • Possession of large amounts of cash, especially small bills
  • Possession of drug “ledgers” or notes that track purported sales.

In addition, intent to sell is implied under Arizona law for “over the threshold” amounts of drugs. These are some of the thresholds:

  • Nine grams of cocaine or methamphetamine;
  • 750 milligrams of hydrolyzed cocaine or cocaine base (crack);
  • One gram of heroin:
  • Four grams of PCP and
  • Half a milliliter or 50 blotter doses of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD);
  • Two pounds of marijuana or
  • For other types of drugs, a street value of $1,000 or more.

If you’re found in possession of any of the above drugs “above the threshold,” intent to sell is implied. This means for all drugs except marijuana, you’re facing prosecution for a Class 2 felony with penalties of up to twelve and a half years in prison for a first offense and more for additional offenses. If you’ve been caught with a large amount of drugs, your future is in jeopardy, so it’s important to hire an experienced Phoenix drug charge defense attorney as soon as possible to begin preparing your defense.

Alternative Sentencing For Drug Crimes In Arizona

Even though many drug charges in Arizona have minimum sentencing guidelines that mandate prison time, an experienced Phoenix drug charges attorney may help you avoid incarceration. If you’re a drug user, you may be eligible to attend a drug treatment or diversion program that helps you manage your substance abuse problems in lieu of jail time. Home arrest with continuous electronic monitoring may be an option that will allow you to continue to live with your family while being monitored by the court at the same time.

Phoenix Drug Charge Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a drug offense in Phoenix, you should never waive your right to legal counsel by speaking to investigators until you speak to an attorney. Silva & Fontes is the Phoenix drug charge defense attorney that’s trusted by more people in Arizona because we provide each and every client with a strong and personalized defense.

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