A Guide to Controlled Substances in Utah

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Controlled substances may include a wide variety of illicit drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medicine. Many controlled substances are illegal to possess, but some substances may be legal under the right conditions.

Controlled substances are grouped into different Schedules. These Schedules classify substances based on how dangerous they are and whether they have any recognized medical or therapeutic uses. Some controlled substances, though heavily restricted, are not necessarily illegal. However, some commonly known illicit drugs are always illegal. You may be charged with possession if you have control over a controlled substance unless there is some legal reason for you to have them. Call an attorney immediately if you find yourself charged with possession or other drug offenses.

If you have been charged with a drug offense like possession, call our Salt Lake City drug crimes defense attorneys for help right away. You may be facing dire penalties, including incarceration. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation.

Schedules of Controlled Substances in Utah

Controlled substances are grouped into different Schedules. You can find a list of these Schedules and the many controlled substances contained therein under Utah Code § 58-37-4. Controlled substances may fall under Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V. Our Utah drug crime defense attorneys can help you with any charges related to any of these Scheduled controlled substance.

Generally, Schedule I is considered the most dangerous and contains controlled substances with high potential for abuse and dependency and little or no medical use. Schedule V, although still serious, is the least severe of the Schedules. Many Schedule V controlled substances have recognized medical uses and tend to be less dangerous overall – enough so that many are found in over-the-counter medication.

The Schedule of any controlled substance involved in your case is extremely important because the Schedule often determines the degree of your charges. For example, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance is typically more severe than possession of a Schedule IV or V controlled substance.

Are Controlled Substances Ever Legal in Utah?

Not all controlled substances are the same. People often think of controlled substances as illegal street drugs, but that is not entirely correct. Many prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs are also classified as controlled substances, and many of these substances can be possessed lawfully. If you are charged with the illegal possession of prescription medicine, our Ogden drug crime defense lawyers can help.

Prescription medicines are usually controlled substances. These medications cannot be obtained over the counter because they are too strong or dangerous for people to use without the advice of a doctor. Even so, if a controlled substance is also legally available with a prescription, it may be lawfully obtained as long as you have a valid prescription in your name.

Over-the-counter medications are like prescriptions in that they have recognized medical uses and are available in pharmacies. However, you do not need a prescription to obtain them. That does not mean they are not subject to any restrictions. While many over-the-counter medications are not classified as controlled substances, those that are may only be purchased in certain quantities.

For example, according to Utah Code § 58-37-4(2)(e), you may not have more than 200 milligrams of codeine, a common painkiller, per 100 grams of medicine. Codeine is a common ingredient in cough medicines, but it can leave someone feeling high or intoxicated if consumed in large quantities.

Sales might also be restricted as to the amount you can buy at once. You may also be required to show ID to purchase some drugs. These restrictions are sometimes used not only because of the danger of the product itself but also because chemicals in some over-the-counter medications can be used in drug manufacturing.

Common Controlled Substances That Are Always Illegal in Utah

While some controlled substances can be lawfully purchased, prescribed, and possessed, others are illegal no matter what. Many of these substances are illicit controlled substances, sometimes referred to as “street drugs.” You should check with our Utah drug crime defense attorneys about your case if you have been charged with a drug-related offense.

Common controlled substances that are always illegal include but are not limited to the following:

  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Crack-cocaine
  • PCP
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD/Acid
  • Peyote

Marijuana is illegal, but changing societal norms have made it more acceptable. In Utah, marijuana is legal under certain circumstances – primarily for medicinal purposes. However, there are still restrictions on how much marijuana you can have at any given time, plus restrictions against the unlicensed distribution of prescription marijuana.

Charges for Possession of Controlled Substances in Utah

Charges for possession of a controlled substance can be found under Utah Code § 58-37-8(2). Under the law, you can be charged with simple possession if you have a controlled substance without a valid prescription or did not otherwise obtain it lawfully. To be charged, your possession must be knowing and intentional. Our Park City drug crime defense attorneys can help if you face criminal possession charges.

You can also be charged with possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) under Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a). This is similar to simple possession, but the authorities believe you intended to sell or distribute the controlled substance to others. The police may use a number of factors to prove your intent, including the amount of the substance, how it was packaged, and any other circumstances involved in your case.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged with a Drug Crime in Utah?

If you are charged with a drug crime, contact our West Jordan drug crime defense lawyers for help immediately. Drug crimes tend to come with very harsh punishments, and you may be facing several years in jail or state prison.

Your precise charges may depend on several important details, including what kind of drug was allegedly in your possession. We can help you argue that you were unaware of the drugs or that you had valid and legal reasons to have the substances in your possession.

Call Our Utah Drug Crimes Attorneys

Drug charges are quite serious, and you should speak to a lawyer about your case as soon as possible. Our West Valley drug crime defense lawyers are here to assist you in any way you need. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation.