Will I Go to Jail for Possession of Edibles in Utah?
Facing drug possession charges in Utah is a serious matter. Your criminal charges can put you at risk of going to jail and facing steep fines. It is essential to understand that of an illegal substance like marijuana-laced brownies might automatically land you behind bars and could involve other serious penalties. You should seek the assistance of an experienced Salt Lake City drug possession defense lawyer right away. Darwin Overson, from Overson Law, PLLC, invites you to keep reading as we discuss this critical matter.
Will I Spend Time in Jail for Possession of Edibles in Utah?
Utah’s controlled substances laws are strict. Both the state and federal governments make it illegal to own, use, sell, or distribute controlled substances within Utah’s borders. All controlled substances are divided into different categories called “schedules,” each with its own set of penalties. Each schedule is assigned a number in order of danger and potential for abuse. The lower the number of scheduled drugs, the more serious the penalties associated with it.
The government divides illegal drugs into Schedule I, II, III, IV, and V. Marijuana (cannabis) and its derivatives – the most common drugs used in edibles – are considered Schedule I illegal substances. This means that the illegal use, sale, possession, or distribution of controlled substances in Utah can lead to severe criminal penalties, including prison time and hefty fines. If you are caught with marijuana edibles in Utah, you will likely spend time behind bars.
Utah law is clear when referring to marijuana and its derivatives as illegal. According to Utah Code § 57-37-2(1)(aa)(i), the term marijuana refers to all species of cannabis and various parts, including seeds and resin.
However, it is necessary to make an essential distinction regarding illegal drugs such as marijuana and its use for medical reasons. As you may know, there has been heated debate regarding the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. According to the Utah Medical Cannabis Statute, individuals with a qualifying condition and with a state-issued permit are allowed to use marijuana, potentially in edible form. Any individual caught with cannabis for recreational purposes, however, may be charged and convicted.
What Happens if I Get Caught with Marijuana Edibles in Utah?
As mentioned, Utah laws regarding marijuana are strict. The penalties you can expect if you are found in possession of cannabis or any of its derivatives can vary depending on the amount of marijuana you are in possession of. For instance, if you are caught with less than 100 pounds of marijuana, you can face penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine (Class B misdemeanor).
If you get caught with 100 pounds or more of marijuana, you can be charged with a felony. Under these circumstances, your second-degree felony charges can carry 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
When determining how much of a drug you have by weight, the authorities will use the total weight of whatever the drugs are contained in, not just the weight of the marijuana itself. That means, for instance, weighing a whole brownie. Typically, this will not change the weight enough to jump you over the 100-pound threshold for higher charges.
Can I Fight Charges for Possession of Edibles in Utah?
If you have been charged with possession of edibles in Utah, you need immediate assistance from an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can help you determine which defense can work for your case, depending on your circumstances. Some defense strategies are aimed at challenging the evidence against you, while others attack procedural errors that may affect your constitutional rights.
Challenging Searches and Seizure
A defense strategy you can use to defend yourself is to show that you were a victim of illegal search and seizure. You are protected against this unlawful action under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A law enforcement official has to have probable cause to search you or your home and seize anything on your person or property. Generally, they are required to have a judged-issued warrant based on their probable cause and containing the specific person to be searched and the items to be seized. Any evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights will not be admissible in court and can be “suppressed.”
Another potential defense strategy is “entrapment.” Entrapment happens when a law enforcement official induces a suspect to commit a crime in order to arrest them. Imagine for a moment an undercover cop poses as a drug dealer and tells “John Doe” he must bring some drugs to his house at noon or else there will be grave consequences. John brings the drugs to the undercover cop’s house and is immediately arrested. In this situation, John brought the drugs only because the undercover cop enticed him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have brought them. This may be an available defense because it is likely you wouldn’t have committed the alleged crime but for the undercover police officer’s actions.
One of the most effective defenses is to claim that your marijuana was medicinal. However, it is essential to understand that the law only allows the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes with a prescription, and you can only possess a limited amount. Your Park City criminal defense lawyer can help you with all these legal matters.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was charged with possession of edibles or you face any other drug charges in Utah, we can help. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can help you defend yourself against possession of edibles charges. We know that facing Utah’s criminal justice system on your own can be scary and overwhelming. We represent defendants all over Utah, and we will fight aggressively to protect their Constitutional rights. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.