What are the Penalties for First Time Marijuana Possession in Utah?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense in Utah. The amount of marijuana you have in your possession will determine the crime and penalties that you will receive for a possession offense. Marijuana possession can earn you serious penalties if you are caught with a large amount of marijuana. If you or a family member was arrested for marijuana possession, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City drug possession lawyer today. Overson Law can help you understand what legal choices you have to deal with a marijuana possession offense. Darwin Overson is here to explain the penalties for first time marijuana possession in Utah. Call today at (801) 515-0883.

Utah Marijuana Possession Laws

The requirements to charge an individual with marijuana possession and other drug crimes are listed under Utah’s Controlled Substances Act. A combination of state and federal laws make it illegal to not only possess a certain amount of marijuana but also to possess any drug paraphernalia needed to use marijuana.

Marijuana possession, sometimes referred to as simple possession, is an offense that arises out of possession of marijuana for personal use. This contrasts with an offense for possession with intent to distribute (PWID), a crime that focuses on the offender manufacturing and distributing drugs.

The possession of marijuana is also referred to by terms like “actual possession” and “constructive possession,” depending on how law enforcement located the drugs. If an offender actually possessed marijuana when they were arrested, it means that they had it on their person or in an item that they were carrying. If an offender constructively possessed marijuana, it implies that they had knowledge of and control over the drugs found by law enforcement. For example, if you hid drugs in the trunk of your car or in a safe in your home, you will likely be charged with possession if law enforcement finds it, even if you did not have the drugs on your person.

To learn more about drug possession laws, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.

Penalties for First Offense Marijuana Possession

To reiterate, the penalties for marijuana possession are directly correlated to the amount of marijuana that you are discovered with. If the weight of the drugs in your possession is over a certain limit, you risk being charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, even if this was the first time you were arrested for possession.

If you are found with less than 100 pounds of marijuana, you will likely receive a class B misdemeanor charge. The penalties for a class B misdemeanor are a maximum of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in criminal fines.

If you receive a class B misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession, you may be given the option to perform compensatory service instead of paying a fine. The hours you will have to work typically depend on the amount of your criminal fine. If you were granted the option of compensatory service, you could volunteer with:

  • A charity
  • Utah state or local government agencies
  • A business or organization approved by a Utah court

If you are arrested with over 100 pounds of marijuana in your possession, you can be charged with a second degree felony. In Utah, second degree felonies carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Additionally, there are other factors that could make a possession charge even more severe. For example, if you are arrested with drugs in a school zone, the penalties for possession may be increased, or you may even be charged with an additional crime. However, it is important to note that if you are a nonviolent, juvenile or first time offender, you may be eligible for drug rehabilitation programs instead of being incarcerated.

Work with Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys to Explore Your Legal Options

If you or a family member was charged with marijuana possession, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Darwin Overson is here to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (801) 515-0883, or contact us online.