Ogden Drug Defense Attorney
Unfortunately for defendants, drug offenses are some of the most aggressively prosecuted and harshly penalized crimes in Utah and throughout the United States. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that as of 2011, narcotics convictions account for nearly half of the American prison population, while both state and federal laws, such as the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, mandate long sentences and expensive fines. Beyond the formal penalties imposed by the courts, drug allegations can also cause permanent reputation and career damage.
In the face of such serious criminal penalties, you need effective legal representation in your corner when dealing with drug charges in Ogden, UT. We have represented many defendants in drug crime cases, and we are ready to lend our experience to you. We can collect evidence, interact with prosecutors, and fight for you in court to get you the best possible outcome in your drug crimes case.
To schedule a completely confidential legal consultation free of charge, call our drug defense lawyers with Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287 right away.
Our Ogden Drug Crimes Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
If you have been charged with drug possession, trafficking, or other drug-related offenses in Ogden, it is absolutely critical that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you possibly can. Depending on the details of your charges, you could be facing years or even decades behind bars, in addition to thousands of dollars in fines. You could also lose your eligibility for certain jobs and professional certifications, have your driver’s license suspended, and lose your gun privileges. Don’t wait until it’s already too late: let’s start discussing your options.
The charges against you are serious, and a conviction has the power to negatively impact the rest of your life. After you serve your time, you will also have to contend with the ongoing challenges associated with having a criminal record on file. With so much on the line, you can’t afford to defend yourself against a trained prosecuting attorney. You need the support of our dedicated drug crime defense lawyers, who will strive toward the best possible outcome for you.
Our firm has represented thousands of clients, and attorney Darwin Overson is equipped with more than 15 years of practical experience to bring to your case. He regularly handles a wide variety of criminal drug charges, including but not limited to:
- Simple Possession (Personal Use)
- Possession with Intent to Distribute (Sales)
- Cultivation and Manufacture
- Possession of Paraphernalia
- Prescription Drug Charges
Drug Crime Charges in Ogdon, UT
There are a number of crimes that you could be charged with in Utah that are drug-related offenses. While the most common charge is possession, there are also other crimes you could be charged with, even if you did not “possess” the drugs in question. These offenses are outlined in Utah Code § 58-37-8.
Possessing illegal drugs is likely the most common drug charge in Utah. In law, possession generally requires two things. First, the defendant must know that they have the drugs on their person. For example, you possess illegal drugs if you are holding a brick of cocaine in your hands. This is called “actual possession.” A defendant’s “person” is more than just their body. For example, if you have a dime bag of cocaine in your pocket, you still possess it, even though you are not holding it in your hands. This is called “constructive possession.”
Second, possession requires that the defendant knows the substance they have is actually something illegal. If a reasonable person should have known the substance is illegal, then the defendant can be charged with possession even if they did not, in fact, know what they had was illegal. For example, if a friend gives you a bag of heroin, asking you to hold onto their heroin for them for a few days, you know that you possess an illegal drug. However, if that same friend gives you a labeled Tylenol bottle filled with a controlled substance, tells you it is Tylenol, and you truly do not know that there is something illegal in the bottle, you probably will not be deemed to know you possess a controlled substance.
Selling Controlled Substances
Another drug crime you can be charged with in Utah is selling controlled substances. Utah Code § 58-37-8(a)(ii) makes it illegal to “distribute” controlled substances. What is needed to prove the distribution of controlled substances is evidence that you actually gave or sold illegal drugs to another person. However, the prosecution must also show evidence that the defendant intended to assist with the distribution and sale of drugs in some way. This could mean something as simple as the defendant having a large amount of cash in a plastic bag or as comically obvious as a mountain of packaged marijuana labeled “for the boys” next to piles of money and firearms.
Manufacture of Controlled Substances
It is also a crime in Utah to manufacture controlled substances in Utah per Utah Code § 58-37-8(a)(i). Manufacture involves the growing or producing of drugs and other controlled substances. Utah has a separate statute outlining “clandestine laboratory operations” for controlled substances with more serious penalties attached.
The “Clandestine Drug Lab Act”
Utah has a special statute for drug-making operations and associated punishments called the “Clandestine Drug Lab Act.” This act covers the production of highly addictive and dangerous drugs like meth, cocaine, opioids, and “crack” cocaine. Acts covered under this law are all felonies in Utah.
Second-Degree Clandestine Drug Lab Act Felonies
Under Utah Code § 58-37d-4, it is illegal to possess chemicals or equipment used to manufacture controlled substances with the intent to make drugs in a “clandestine lab,” This act is designed to criminalize hidden drug manufacturing operations that could release dangerous chemicals, act as fire hazards or, in extremely rare cases, explode.
These acts are second-degree felonies with a penalty of prison for no less than three years and no more than 15 years.
First-Degree Clandestine Drug Lab Act Felonies
Conduct that constitutes more serious drug lab offenses is covered in Utah Code § 58-37d-5. Culpable acts fall under this section if the conduct that would be a second-degree felony involved possession of a firearm, use of a “booby trap,” or a “substantial risk” to the health and safety of people and/or the environment.
Additionally, this section criminalizes acts done within 500 feet of places like homes, businesses, churches, or schools. If the clandestine drug operation actually produces any drugs instead of just holding onto the component parts and paraphernalia, it also falls under this section.
A trier of fact must find that the defendant has done two of the things listed in this section to be found guilty.
First-degree felonies are punishable by prison terms of no less than five years. There is a possibility that first-degree felonies are punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Ogdon, UT
In Utah, definitions and penalties for drug offenses are addressed by Title 58, Chapter 37, Section 8 (58-37-8) of the State Legislature. Narcotics crimes encompass a broad range of offenses, and the penalties can vary dramatically based on variables like:
- Aggravating/Mitigating Factors
- Drug Scheduling
Drugs are numerically “scheduled” by the DEA, or the Drug Enforcement Administration. Generally speaking, the lower the scheduling number, the more severe the consequences can be. A few common examples include:
- Schedule V: Maximum 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 grams or 100 milliliters, maximum 100 milligrams of opium per 100 grams or 100 milliliters, Tramadol
- Schedule IV: Xanax, Valium
- Schedule III: Ketamine, Anabolic Steroids, Vicodin
- Schedule II: Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Methadone, OxyContin, Adderall, Fentanyl
- Schedule I: Marijuana, LSD, Heroin, Ecstasy, Peyote, Mescaline
Special Sentencing for Marijuana
While marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, its sentencing laws are somewhat unique from other Schedule I drugs. Under 58-37-8:
- Possession, less than 1 ounce: B Misdemeanor, six months, $1,000
- Possession, 1 ounce to 1 pound: A Misdemeanor, one year, $2,500
- Possession, 1 pound to 100 pounds: 3rd Degree Felony, five years, $5,000
- Possession, more than 100 pounds: 2nd Degree Felony, 15 years, $10,000
However, the sale of marijuana is always classified as a felony. If the sale occurs within 1,000 feet of a designated school zone, the standard penalties can increase dramatically. Additionally, marijuana convictions can result in a license suspension of up to six months.
Utah Drug Paraphernalia Penalties
In some instances, a defendant does not even have to be in possession of any controlled substances: the possession or sale of drug paraphernalia is also sufficient to trigger charges. Under Title 58, Chapter 37a, also known as the Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act, all of the following items may be considered paraphernalia:
- Kits used (or intended for use) in “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived.”
- Kits used (or intended for use) in “manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing a controlled substance.”
- Scales and balances.
- Pipes and bongs.
- Needles, hypodermic syringes, spoons, and vials.
- Capsules, balloons, and envelopes.
Paraphernalia charges can be graded as a Class B or Class A misdemeanor, with sentences ranging from six months to one year and fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
Speak With Our Ogdon, UT Drug Defense Lawyers Today
For your free and confidential case evaluation, call our drug defense attorneys with Overson Law, PLLC, right away at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online today.