Drug crimes are some of the most commonly charged yet carry some of the most severe penalties in North Salt Lake. Even possession of small amounts of drugs can result in devastating consequences.
Drug crimes are separated into various charges depending on the type of substance involved and several other factors. The charges in your case will turn on the Schedule classification of the drugs in your possession and whether it is your first offense. Those prosecuted by the state are also in potential danger of being prosecuted by the federal government.
Contact Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free review of your case with our drug crime attorneys.
Drug Crime Penalties in North Salt Lake
Drug crime penalties can be severe in North Salt Lake cases, depending on what crimes you were charged with. The best-case scenario, of course, is to stay out of jail completely. However, even minor drug crime charges can carry penalties that include some jail time, like Class A and B misdemeanors. Class B misdemeanors are the lowest charges a person could face and can be punished by up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor can include a jail sentence of up to a year and fines of around $2,500. However, if it is your first offense or there are other mitigating circumstances, you might be able to avoid jail with the right defense.
Felony charges for a drug crime are the most serious and range from first-degree to third-degree. First-degree felonies come with the harshest penalties, which can include between five years and life imprisonment and tens of thousands in fines. Second-degree felonies are punishable with prison sentences ranging from one year to 15 and up to $10,000 in fines and court costs. Third-degree felonies are the lowest grade, but those convicted can still face up to five years in prison and around $5,000 in fines.
In addition to the Utah penalties mentioned, defendants could also face consequences from the federal government. Utah and the federal government have what is known as “concurrent jurisdiction” over drug crime cases. This means that the federal government can also prosecute an individual for the same drug crime that they were prosecuted by the state for. There is no “double jeopardy” rule between state law enforcement and the federal government. For very serious drug crime cases, like those involving illegal guns, the federal government might file charges after your state case concludes. If convicted in both courts, you will need to serve out both sentences.
Drug Crime Classifications in North Salt Lake
“Drugs” is a term commonly used to describe numerous types of substances. For the purposes of law enforcement and drug crime cases, drugs are referred to as “controlled substances.” There are many types of controlled substances in Utah, which are contained in Utah Code § 58-37-4 as well as § 58-37-4.2. These substances are divided into “Schedules.” There are five Schedules, with Schedule I drugs being considered the most harmful and Schedule V being the least. The controlled substance that a person is found with will greatly impact the type of charges they face. Our drug crime lawyers can help you determine if you were charged with the appropriate Schedule classification in your case.
Schedule I Drugs
Schedule I substances are those determined by the state to be the most harmful. These substances have been determined to have the most potential for abuse, with no regularly accepted medical cause for their use. Most people have likely heard of Schedule I substances, as they include drugs like cocaine, heroin, opium, marijuana, and LSD.
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule II chemicals are considered slightly less dangerous but can still cause serious substance abuse. However, these substances are used for certain medical purposes in society. Schedule II substances include ketamine and GHB.
Schedule III Drugs
Schedule III drugs might be abused less than the first two listed but have some common medical uses. For instance, anabolic steroids are an example of a Schedule III substance but are used in many types of medical treatments. However, you must have a valid prescription for a Schedule III substance, otherwise, you could be charged with illegal possession.
Schedule IV Drugs
Schedule IV drugs also have less of a chance of leading to abuse, but this is where the law can be complex since these substances are commonly prescribed during medical treatment. Many Schedule IV substances include legal medications prescribed to a patient, like Xanax and Ambien. However, possessing these substances when you do not have a legal prescription for them is illegal.
Schedule V Drugs
Schedule V substances are those with the least potential for abuse and are commonly used for medical purposes. However, a prescription is still needed to legally possess these substances. A typical example includes medications with small amounts of opioids in the medicine.
Types of Drug Crimes Cases Handled by Our North Salt Lake Lawyers
Depending on the facts of your case and the drug you were in possession of, you could face several charges in North Salt Lake that our team can help you with. The most common type of drug case our firm handles is illegal possession cases. An individual is charged with possession when they are found with a certain amount of drugs, typically small, on their person. When the frisk you or search your vehicle pursuant to a legal stop, you could face possession charges if they find drugs during their search. If you were arrested for possessing Schedule I or II substances, Charges could range from second-degree to first-degree felonies depending on the Schedule classification of the substance you were in possession of. Charges will usually be lower if the Schedule classification of the drug is lower.
Possession with an intent to distribute (PWID) is also a common charge in North Salt Lake. PWID will usually be charged if the packaging on the narcotics, like stickers, names, or other branding. Distribution might also be charged if a substantial quantity of drugs were found or large amounts of cash were recovered during the arrest. While you will usually face a misdemeanor of a third-degree felony for PWID, the penalties can be upgraded if there are aggravating factors in the case. For instance, if it is not your first charge or conviction for PWID, the consequences will likely be harsher. First or second-degree felonies might also be charged if weapons were recovered during the arrest.
Our North Salt Lake Drug Crimes Attorneys Can Help
Call our drug crime lawyers today at Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free evaluation of your case.