Being arrested and charged with possessing a controlled substance in Utah without a valid prescription can lead to devastating consequences. Your life can be turned upside down after a criminal conviction for these reasons. If you get caught with a prescription medication like Xanax, you may wonder if the criminal penalties you can face will be as severe as possessing an illegal “street drug” such as cocaine. As you will learn throughout this article, Utah’s strict laws punish those convicted for the possession of prescription medication without a prescription or the possession of an illegal substance. Our Salt Lake City drug possession attorney Darwin Overson explains.
Will I go to Jail for Having Xanax in Utah?
The possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription in Utah is a serious criminal offense. Many people believe that possession of a controlled substance that is not a “street drug” such as cocaine, or crystal meth, will not lead to severe consequences. It is crucial to understand that the possession of a controlled substance such as Xanax can lead to severe penalties. Suppose you are with a friend, and he gives you a Xanax pill for your condition. If a police officer sees you and catches you in possession of the Xanax pill without a valid prescription, you can face criminal charges. This comes to show how stringent Utah drug possession laws are.
Utah is known for its high rate of drug abuse cases, and the state handles every drug possession case with the utmost seriousness. As a matter of fact, Utah has very strict laws punishing those convicted of possession of controlled substances. For instance, a police officer doesn’t need to know all of the details surrounding your possession of Xanax to proceed with an arrest. Moreover, if you keep your pills in a recipient other than the original container, you can also face charges.
If you get charged and convicted for the possession of a controlled substance such as Xanax in Utah, you can face jail time and hefty criminal fines. It is essential to hire a drug crime lawyer if you were charged with the possession of controlled substances in Utah.
Criminal Penalties for Xanax Possession in Utah: Jail, Prison, and Fines
In order to understand the penalties for the possession of Xanax or any other controlled prescription medication, it is essential to understand how Utah classifies controlled dangerous substances (CDS). Utah – like the federal government – divides the possession of CDS into schedules. The lower the number of the schedule scale, the more dangerous the controlled substance, and by default, the more severe the criminal consequences for its possession.
Utah divides crimes into misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are known as the lesser kind of criminal offense you can face. Typically, the penalties for misdemeanors are relatively mild, especially compared to felonies, which carry more severe penalties.
Your criminal penalties will change depending on the kind of illegal substance with which you are caught. For instance, if you are caught with possession of a Schedule I or II substance, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. Typically, if you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you can face up to ten years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
For many other cases of CDS possession, you can be charged with a class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Xanax is a Schedule IV illegal substance, which can lead to Class B misdemeanor charges.
While the criminal penalties for this type of criminal offense may not seem “as bad” as the penalties for a felony, these are cases that should be handled with the utmost care. In addition to the criminal penalties you can face, your conviction will remain in your criminal record. This can make your situation challenging even years after your incarceration.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help with my Xanax Possession Case in Utah?
Facing criminal charges for the possession of a controlled substance or prescription medication without a valid permit in Utah can be challenging. However, it is possible to fight your charges. It is critical to get assistance from a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in these situations.
When it comes to drug possession and charges, the police must follow established protocols. In other words, their arrest must be lawful. Under our Constitution, you are protected against unlawful searches and seizures. For an arrest to be legal, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion, and they must have a valid warrant to perform an arrest, search, or seizure. Any evidence collected in an illegal search or seizure cannot be used against you.
Another potential defense to drug possession charges is that the drugs belong to someone else. For instance, after a gathering at home, someone else left an illegal substance behind, which can now be presumed to be yours since they are in your immediate control inside your premises. However, you are innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the illegal substance in your apartment is yours.
If the prosecutor cannot present the alleged illegal drugs seized from you or your property, they may risk having their case dismissed by the court. When a police officer seizes a controlled substance, it must go through different processes and different hands before being placed in a locker. The prosecution must be able to establish a “chain of custody,” or they may risk their case. For instance, if your alleged illegal substance was tampered, lost, or replaced anywhere it the chain of custody, it cannot be used against you.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Handling Xanax Possession Cases
If you or a loved one was charged with the possession of an illegal substance in Utah, there is no time to waste. It is critical to retain an experienced, skilled, and committed Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense attorney. At Overson Law PLLC, we can help you fight against your drug possession charges and defend your rights aggressively throughout your criminal process. Call our law offices today and schedule your free, confidential consultation. Our phone number is (801) 758-2287.