Drug crimes are some of the most typically charged in Bountiful. Even relatively small drug crime charges can negatively affect a person’s life for years to come.
Fortunately, our firm can help you with a wide range of drug cases. The charges applied in your case will depend on what Schedule Utah law lists the drug under, how much you were in possession of, and many more factors. Consequences can be harsh, but it is possible to have the charges reduced with mitigating circumstances.
For a free case review, speak with our drug crime attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC by calling us at (801) 758-2287 today.
The Legal Definition of “Drugs” for Drug Crimes Are Defined in Bountiful, UT
Many people in Utah a familiar with the term “drugs” but likely use it interchangeably to describe a variety of different substances, both legal and illegal. When the law refers to drugs, they use a legal term of art to describe them: “controlled substances.” Controlled substances are divided into five distinct categories called “schedules.” Per Utah Code § 58-37-4 and § 58-37-4.2, Schedule I substances are classified as the most serious to Schedule V as the least dangerous substances. These lists contain both traditional illegal drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, but also include legal prescription medications, as well.
Each schedule is divided based on the potential dangers of the drug and whether it has any legitimate medical benefits to its use. Dangers can typically include how addictive a substance is and its potential for being abused. For instance, Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous for abuse and with no commonly accepted medical use in Utah. Examples include heroin, cocaine, and opium. By comparison, Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse but do have some recognized medical uses. Schedules III, IV, and V all have a lower potential for abuse and are typically used in medical treatment. These schedules include many legal prescription medications with low amounts of opium or codeine in them.
It is important to note that while prescription drugs are legal, they are heavily regulated. Prescriptions are made out to a particular person, and that person is the only one who can legally possess it. If you are in possession of medications that were not prescribed to you, you could be charged with a drug crime.
Drug Crimes Charges in Bountiful, UT
Utah has several drug crimes that a person can be charged with. The drug charge will depend on several factors, but the more in your possession, the more charges you are likely to receive. Typical charges include possession, possession with the intent to distribute, and manufacturing. Our drug crimes attorneys can review your case to determine if you were properly charged and identify weaknesses in the state’s evidence against you.
Illegal possession charges are the least severe a person can receive if they are stopped by the police with drugs on them. Illegal possession charges are more likely to come about when a person is suspected and investigated for another crime. For instance, if a person is pulled over for speeding but is smoking marijuana at the time, the officers might notice the smell and search the car. If the police find a small amount of marijuana, you will likely be charged with illegal possession.
The severity of the possession charges can vary depending on the facts of the case. A person might face second-degree felony charges if in possession of a Schedule I or II substance. Charges can also be graded lower at third-degree felonies and Class A misdemeanors for possession of Schedule V substances.
Possession with the Intent to Distribute
Possession with the intent to distribute, commonly referred to as PWID, is a more serious charge than possession because the police have reason to suspect that the drugs are meant to be sold or dealt further up the trafficking chain. While PWID is charged similarly to other possession crimes, charges can be harsher if a gun was recovered during the arrest. Minor PWID cases might only be charged as a Class A misdemeanor.
To charge PWID, the officers must have recovered evidence that shows the likelihood of intent to actually sell the drugs. Common factors include the amount of drugs the person was in possession of, how the drugs were packaged, whether large amounts of cash were found with the drugs and other evidence that might indicate an intent to sell.
Production and Manufacturing of Drugs
A common drug crime that is typically charged when the other two charges mentioned above are present is the production and manufacturing of a controlled substance. Production and manufacturing charges can also span from Class A misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, depending on the circumstances.
The penalties for a conviction of production and manufacturing can be severe. If it can be shown that the defendant was part of a larger criminal organization or was in possession of illegal firearms, additional charges can be included that can add significant prison time to a person’s sentence.
Potential Consequences for Drug Crimes in Bountiful, UT
Virtually all drug crimes are serious in Bountiful. The potential consequences a person could face if convicted of any of the charges mentioned above could result in several penalties, including lengthy prison sentences. Felony convictions are the most serious and typically include some prison time. A conviction for a third-degree felony, the least severe grading, still carries a potential prison sentence of up to five years. A defendant convicted of a second-degree felony can face between one and fifteen years in prison, along with many other fines and penalties. First-degree felonies are punished the most harshly, with prison sentences ranging from at least five years to life.
Even Class A misdemeanors, the least serious grade on the list, can still carry harsh penalties. While defendants will usually face fines and court costs, they could also be sentenced to up to a year in jail for a conviction of this kind.
Because drug crimes are not just punishable by Utah but also by the federal government, individuals charged with a drug crime could face consequences in two court systems. There is no rule against the federal government charging you for drug crimes that you have already been convicted of in Utah. If a drug arrest involved a high-level member of a criminal organization or the possession of illegal firearms, the federal government might decide to file charges in addition to the state charges.
Our Bountiful, UT Drug Crimes Lawyers Can Help
Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case consultation with our drug crimes attorneys.