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    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?

    Answer:

    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.


    Comments
    11 thru 15 of 16 comments     1   2  [ 3 ]  4    
    On 01/11/03
    Matt from CA said:
    All drug use should be legalized, yet regulated. The government pumps enormous amounts of propaganda about drugs and I think that people need to stop being ignorant and know the truth. For example, the gateway drug theory about marijuana leading to other drugs is extremely biased. Obviously, in poverty stricken areas such as ghettos, marijuana use is prevalent, and many of those people use harder drugs as well such as cocaine and heroin. This does not mean that middle class users of marijuana will use harder drugs. Tens of millions of people in the U.S.A. use marijuana, and if the gateway
    On 06/04/02
    Law for Kids Volunteer from AZ said:
    I believe that the posted answer does respond to that question. Pay attention: it explains that "possession" is the legal way to address "using" or being "high" on a drug.
    On 02/12/02
    Blinky from UT said:
    All Drugs Have A Different Purpose &/or Effect. Some Are Good & Some Are Bad, All Can Kill You...If You Take Excessive Amounts Of It or Them All At One Time. Teens and Kids Do Experiment With Drugs & Alcohol, But If You Tell Them No, No, No To Drugs & Stuff, They Are Just Going To Continue Using Them For The Heck Of It. So Instead Of Hiding Us From THEM, Talk To Us About It All. If You Do Use Drugs, You Should Limit Yourself, But It's Your Problem If You Get Caught....
    On 02/06/02
    DM from TX said:
    I believe the real question here was. Is it illegal to be under the influence. Not is it illegal to have the drug in your possession. Or use it while your driving. But whether you could get a ticket for being under the influence of extacy.
    On 11/29/01
    Carrie from WA said:
    Don't you know that all drugs are illegal whether you are driving or not. LSD and Ecstacy are illegal. Why would you ever think that they would be okay if you aren't driving. A drug is a drug and the punishment is the same whether you're driving or not.
    11 thru 15 of 16 comments     1   2  [ 3 ]  4    



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