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Fentanyl Laws in Arizona

Fentanyl is an opioid drug usually prepared in pill or powder form which has grown massively in popularity in the United States in recent years. It has legitimate medical uses, but has become associated with recreational use. Unfortunately, fentanyl is often deadly, with AZDHS statistics pointing to the fact that over 1,500 people in Arizona died from opioid overdoses in 2022, which is likely underreported. The drug is easy to manufacture and more and more is being produced each year. Just in January 2023, 440lbs of chemicals used to manufacture fentanyl were seized in Tucson. The question is, how is fentanyl treated under Arizona law for use, possession, and distribution?

AZ Statute Against Narcotic Drugs

Arizona statute 13-3408 governs the laws against narcotic drugs in Arizona. “Narcotic drugs” is an umbrella of illegal drugs that are otherwise known as opioids, which includes heroin and fentanyl. Depending on the level of involvement with fentanyl, offenses can range from class 4 to class 2 felonies.

Differing Punishments

         The more directly involved the charged individual is with fentanyl, the more severe the punishment gets. Here is a full list of the legal consequences of fentanyl:

  • Possession or use: Class 4 felony- One to three years and nine months in prison, but could also be anywhere from 6-10-15 years in prison depending on prior convictions.
  • Possession for sale: Class 2 felony- Three to twelve and a half years in prison
  • Possession of equipment or chemicals to manufacture: Class 3 felony- 2 to 8.75 years in prison, without prior convictions. The person could face anywhere from 7.5-11.25-25 years in prison with prior convictions.
  • Manufacturing: Class 2 felony- Three to twelve and a half years in prison, or anywhere from 10.5-15.75-35 years in prison with prior convictions.
  • Administering to another person: Class 2 felony- Three to twelve and a half years in prison
  • Obtaining fraudulently: Class 3 Felony- Two to eight years and nine months in prison
  • Transport for sale: Class 2 Felony- Three to twelve and a half years in prison, or anywhere from 10.5-15.75-35 years in prison with prior convictions.

Each one of these sentences may vary depending on an individual’s criminal history. Those with extensive criminal histories, especially if it involves drug charges, may result in longer sentences if convicted. It is always possible however, with an experienced criminal defense attorney to get charges dismissed, obtain a not guilty verdict at trial, or negotiate some sort of favorable plea agreement.

Proposed New First Degree Murder Law

Due to the urgent nature of addressing the opioid epidemic, Arizona lawmakers have been pushing a bill that would have serious ramifications on the regulation of fentanyl.

SB 1029. The legislation proposed by Republican Sen. Anthony Kern would make a death attributed to fentanyl first degree murder for the distributor. This bill has been decried as too drastic, with Litwak Law’s own Timothy Sparling speaking out against it by providing an example of a cancer patient in Arizona legally using fentanyl being charged with first degree murder if one of their children uses it. Additionally, he pointed out that the law would only make Arizonans more fearful of reporting overdoses, which could lead to more deaths. The bill currently has passed through the House and is facing consideration in the Senate.

Get Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney to Fight Your Drug Charges

Litwak Law Group’s criminal defense attorneys pride themselves on fighting aggressively and professionally for the constitutional rights and freedoms of their clients. Should you be charged with a crime in Arizona, contact Litwak Law Group today.