Speak Up! - View Question #528
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Question: Is it actually legal to be under the influence of drugs? [Not alcohol, but Ecstasy, or LSD... and not while driving?
The answer to your question is short and sweet: NO.
If you were to quickly look through all of the crimes that relate to drugs, you might not find a specific crime for USING drugs. You will, however, find a lot of crimes for POSSESSION of drugs.
Take a closer look at the POSSESSION of drugs laws - they include USING the drugs! If you think about it, it makes sense. If you are high on drugs, then you are obviously POSSESSING the drug on or in your body somewhere.
Arizona laws are pretty detailed in the sense that different drugs warrant different degrees of punishment. For instance, there are crimes differentiating between possessing and using marijuana from other 'dangerous drugs', and from 'narcotics'. A.R.S. § 13-3401 describes the differences between 'dangerous' drugs from 'narcotics' drugs. The descriptions of each are very detailed, and consist of a list of all potential drugs [this last lasts for 4 pages]. The basic difference in their definitions is that dangerous drugs include any drug at all, manmade or created, regardless of its name, that includes any hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants, or anabolic steroids. Narcotics is defined by a long list of drugs that qualify as a narcotic, whether natural or man-made. Some examples are: methadone, cannabis, and opium [this list includes at least 82 types of drugs].
A.R.S. § 13-3405 is the statute that makes possessing, using, producing, selling, or transporting marijuana a crime. This statute specifically states that a person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana. If you use marijuana, you can be charged with anywhere from a class 4 to a class 6 felony [depending on how much marijuana is involved] *please refer to earlier response addressing the differences in felony charges
A.R.S. § 13-3407 is the statute that makes possessing, using, administering, acquiring, selling, manufacturing, or transporting dangerous drugs illegal. This statue specifically states that a person shall not knowingly possess or use a dangerous drug. If you use a dangerous drug, you can be charged with a class 4 felony.
A.R.S. § 13-3408 is the statute that makes possessing, using, administering, acquiring, selling, manufacturing, or transporting narcotic drugs illegal. This statue specifically states that a person shall not knowingly possess or use a narcotics drug. If you use a dangerous drug, you can be charged with a class 4 felony.
Keep in mind that there are many more crimes that involved drugs, and many more ways to charge someone who is using drugs. For example, a person who is high on drugs out in public could very easily also be charged with 'disorderly conduct', a crime defined in A.R.S. § 13-2904.
Now that you know using drugs is a crime, I can point out that it is a crime to KNOWINGLY use drugs. What that means is, if you are slipped a drug without any knowledge that you are being slipped that drug, then you may either not be charged with that crime, or have a good defense to it should you be charged with it.