Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich

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Applicable Laws For Prosecution

Senate Bill 1427

A number of laws, including drug laws, environmental laws and, where children are involved, child abuse laws, apply to the operation of meth labs. Like many other states, Arizona law holds that methamphetamine production is an inherently dangerous crime and carries stiff criminal penalties. Manufacturing dangerous drugs in the presence of children, especially young children, can dramatically increase the penalties incurred from the drug charges.

In July 2000, Arizona’s child abuse law, A.R.S. § 13-3623, was expanded to add a provision that provides a presumption of endangerment when children or vulnerable adults are found at meth labs. This addition to Arizona law essentially creates strict liability when a person places a child in a location where a meth lab exists.

Child Abuse Law

A.R.S. § 13-3623(C) provides: For the purposes of subsections A and B of this section, the terms endangered and abuse include but are not limited to circumstances in which a child or vulnerable adult is permitted to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3407, subsection A, paragraph 4.

Environmental Law

Effective July 1, 2003, A.R.S. § 12-1000 indirectly supports the child abuse law. In summary, this law makes it unlawful for any person other than the owner, landlord or manager to enter the property where dangerous drugs were being manufactured until it is cleaned of residual contamination by a state approved drug laboratory site remediation firm. This law ensures that DES CPS will not be returning a child to a residence that operated as a drug lab, at least until it is determined safe by strict standards. This law also protects the public, who knowingly or otherwise would become residents of a former drug lab where residual contamination from the manufacturing of dangerous drugs remained.

Drug Law

A.R.S. § 13-712, Sentence for certain drug offenses
A. A person who stands convicted of a violation of section 13-3407, subsection A, paragraph 2, 3, 4 or 7 involving methamphetamine shall be sentenced to a presumptive term of ten calendar years. The presumptive term imposed pursuant to this subsection may be mitigated or aggravated by up to five years pursuant to section 13-702, subsections C and D.

B. A person who stands convicted of a violation of section 13-3407, subsection A, paragraph 2, 3, 4 or 7 involving methamphetamine and who has previously been convicted of a violation of section 13-3407, subsection A, paragraph 2, 3, 4 or 7 involving methamphetamine or section 13-3407.01 shall be sentenced to a presumptive term of fifteen calendar years. The presumptive term imposed pursuant to this subsection may be mitigated or aggravated by up to five years pursuant to section 13-702, subsections C and D.

A.R.S. § 13-3401, Drug Offenses, Definitions, provides definitions for drugs and substances and other related terminology, including the definition for manufacture.

A.R.S. § 13-3404.01, Possession or sale of precursor chemicals, regulated chemicals, substances or equipment: exceptions and classifications defines the class of felony related to precursor chemicals and related items. Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical to the manufacture of methamphetamine.

A.R.S. § 13-3407, Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs; classification, defines the class of felony for a variety of drug related crimes.

To see the full text of Arizona Revised Statutes, go to the Arizona Legislative Information System ALIS ONLINE.