About Utah Crimes Drug Possession and Distribution of Controlled Substances Under Code 58-37-8

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Utah’s strict drug laws make it illegal to use, possess, sell, grow, manufacture, produce, or distribute various controlled substances.  These substances include, but are not limited to:

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • PCP
  • Acid/LSD
  • Psilocybin Mushrooms

Utah marijuana gavel criminal sentencing

This article describes common drug crimes in Utah, and explains some of the penalties a defendant may face if convicted. If you or a family member has been arrested for an offense involving controlled substances, it is in your best interests to seek help from a criminal attorney who has experience handling drug charges.

Do You Need a Defense Lawyer if You Were Arrested on Drug Charges in Utah?

If you were charged with drug possession or got arrested for selling drugs in Salt Lake City, it is crucial that you have legal support from a knowledgeable attorney.  Drug convictions can result in prison time, steep fines, the loss of your driver’s license, and other major penalties, especially for defendants who have a history of prior offenses.  A conviction can have especially severe financial consequences for teenagers, who risk losing valuable scholarships or student loan eligibility for college.

If you or one of your children was charged with drug crimes in Utah, you need aggressive defense on your side as soon as possible.  Criminal lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience handling thousands of cases, ranging from misdemeanors to extremely serious felonies.  For a free and confidential legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 733-1308 right away.

Criminal Sentencing for Controlled Substances: Possession, Distribution, Manufacturing, and DUI

In Utah, drug offenses and their criminal penalties are governed by Utah Code § 58-37-8.  These offenses, and the potential jail or prison sentences for defendants who are convicted, are described below.

prescription drug distribution charges
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a)(i) — Criminalizes the production or manufacture of controlled substances, as well as possession with intent to produce or manufacture.
    • Classification — Class A misdemeanor (Schedule V); third degree felony (Schedule IV, Schedule III, marijuana); second degree felony (Schedule II, Schedule I).
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail (Class A misdemeanor); up to 5 years in prison (third degree felony); up to 15 years in prison (second degree felony).
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a)(ii) — Criminalizes the distribution of controlled substances.
    • Classification — See above.
    • Sentence — See above. Additional time may be added to a sentence if the defendant used a firearm to commit the offense.
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a)(iii) — Criminalizes drug possession with intent to distribute.
    • Classification — See above.
    • Sentence — See above.
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a)(iv) — Criminalizes participating in a gang or other organized criminal enterprise in a role that involves committing certain drug-related offenses.
    • Classification — First degree felony.
    • Sentence — 7 years to life in prison.
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(2)(a)(i) — Criminalizes drug possession for personal use, which is also called simple possession, without a valid prescription.
    • Classification — Class B misdemeanor (Schedule V, Schedule IV, Schedule III, marijuana); Class A misdemeanor (Schedule II, Schedule I); second degree felony (100 pounds or more of marijuana).
    • Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail (Class B misdemeanor); up to 1 year in jail (Class A misdemeanor); up to 15 years in prison (second degree felony). Additional time may be sentenced if the offense occurs on jail property.
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(2)(a)(ii) — Makes it illegal for a landlord, building owner, vehicle owner, or other property owner to allow drug use, drug sales, or drug possession on or in the property.
    • Classification — Class B misdemeanor (first offense); Class A misdemeanor (second offense); third degree felony (third or subsequent offense).
    • Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail (Class B misdemeanor); up to 1 year in jail (Class A misdemeanor); up to 5 years in prison (third degree felony).
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(2)(a)(iii) — Makes it illegal to intentionally obtain a forged drug prescription, such as a fake prescription for OxyContin (oxycodone).
    • Classification — See above.
    • Sentence — See above.
  • Utah Code § 58-37-8(2)(g) — Makes it illegal to drive a car or otherwise operate a motor vehicle, while intentionally and knowingly having any amount of a controlled substance in your body, resulting in death or serious injury.
    • Classification — Class A misdemeanor (Schedule V, Schedule IV, Schedule III); third degree felony (marijuana); second degree felony (Schedule II, Schedule I).
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail (Class A misdemeanor); up to 5 years in prison (third degree felony); up to 15 years in prison (second degree felony).

With regard to the last charge on the above list, the statute provides that “[A] person is guilty of a separate offense for each victim suffering serious bodily injury or death as a result of the person’s negligent driving… whether or not the injuries arise from the same episode of driving.”

Contact a Salt Lake Drug Charges Attorney

If you or one of your family members was charged with selling drugs, possessing drugs, growing marijuana, driving under the influence of drugs, or other crimes involving narcotics, it is vital that you contact an experienced defense attorney immediately.  Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 733-1308 today to set up a free legal consultation.  We are proud to serve communities throughout Utah.

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