Drug offenses are some of the most commonly charged crimes in Utah and the rest of the country. Although many drug crimes are nonviolent offenses, they come with very stiff penalties.
Drug offenses include a wide variety of controlled substances and prohibited behaviors. Controlled substances (i.e., drugs) are classified into five different Schedules. The precise penalties in your case depend on the Schedules that apply in your case. Common charges include illegal possession, possession with the intent to distribute, and producing or manufacturing controlled substances. Penalties may vary, but defendants can face misdemeanor or felony charges for certain drug offenses. An attorney can help you mount an effective defense and fight your charges.
The penalties for drug offenses are infamously harsh, especially considering the nonviolent nature of most drug offenses. If you are facing such charges, our Utah drug crimes lawyers can help. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation.
What Are Controlled Substances in Provo, UT?
While we often use the terms drugs and controlled substances interchangeably, there are some important distinctions. “Controlled substance” is a legal term that refers to specific kinds of drugs. A drug is considered a controlled substance if it is contained in the lists under Utah Code § 58-37-4, which refers to the different drug Schedules, and § 58-37-4.2, which refers to other controlled substances. Many over the counter drugs are not contained in these lists and are not considered controlled substances.
As mentioned in the above statutes, controlled substances are divided into five Schedule. Each Schedule contains different substances based on various factors, including their potential for abuse and addiction and whether they have any legitimate medical uses. The most severe controlled substances are in Schedule I, and Schedule V contains the least severe. Our Provo, UT drug crimes lawyers can help you determine what kind of penalties you might face based on the drug Schedule involved in your case.
The drug Schedules may contain both illegal and legal substances. For example, certain prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines are controlled substances. While these substances can be legally obtained and possessed, they are subject to strict restrictions.
Potential Charges for Drug Crimes in Provo, UT
While there are numerous drug offenses in Utah, some are more common than others. Perhaps some of the most common drug offenses are illegal possession, possession with the intent to distribute, and drug manufacturing, under Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(a). Our Provo, UT drug crimes lawyers have years of experience with these charges and can assist you with your case.
The crime of illegal possession involves having controlled substances in your control. Even defendants with relatively small amounts of drugs on their person may face possession charges. In many cases, the controlled substances are found pursuant to another search conducted by the police. If the police had a reason to frisk a suspect for weapons during an altercation and found a small baggie of drugs, the suspect might be charged with illegal possession.
The charges for illegal possession vary based on the substances involved. According to Utah Code § 58-37-8(1)(b), possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance may lead to charges for second-degree felonies. Subsequent offenses may be charged as first-degree felonies. If the controlled substances are of Schedule III or IV, the charges may be for third-degree felonies. Finally, if Schedule V drugs are present, the charges may be Class A misdemeanors.
Possession With the Intent to Distribute (PWID)
Possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) is similar to the crime of illegal possession but goes a step further. People can be charged with PWID if law enforcement believes they intend to sell or otherwise distribute the controlled substances.
PWID charges may be assessed based on numerous factors surrounding the case. For example, the amount of drugs in your possession, how they are packaged, and any other details pointing to an intent to sell or distribute may lead to PWID charges. Our Provo, UT drug crime attorneys can help you fight these charges or possibly reduce them to simple possession.
The charges for PWID are assessed in the same way as charges for simple possession. You may face charges ranging from Class A misdemeanors up to first-degree felonies. You might face additional charges or penalties if a firearm is involved.
Production and Manufacturing of Drugs
The production or manufacture of controlled substances is also punished similarly to the above two listed offenses. Defendants may face charges ranging from Class A misdemeanors up to first-degree felonies.
Defendants charged with crimes related to drug manufacturing often face additional charges for other related drug crimes. For example, a person who manufactures drugs is likely also to be charged with possession or PWID. In some cases, they face very harsh charges related to operating or participating in large drug rungs or criminal schemes.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Provo, UT
If you are convicted of one of the above-listed offenses, you may face a lengthy stay in jail or prison. Penalties for felony convictions can be found under Utah Code § 76-3-203. For a third-degree felony, a convicted defendant faces up to 5 years in prison. For a second-degree felony, a defendant faces a prison term of at least 1 year but no more than 15. First-degree felonies can be punished by at least 5 years in prison and up to life. A Class a misdemeanor is the lowest possible charge for these drug offenses and may be punished by a jail term of up to 364 days under Utah Code § 76-3-204.
If a firearm was found to be involved in the offense, the court may sentence the defendant to an additional year to be served consecutively. The court may also add an indeterminate sentence of up to 5 years to run consecutively with the other penalties. Our Provo, UT drug crimes lawyers can help you try to suppress evidence of the weapon to prevent any upgrade in penalties.
Call Our Provo, UT Drug Crimes Attorneys for Assistance
Our Provo, UT drug crimes lawyers can help you fight the charges if you have been charged with a drug-related offense. Contact our experienced team at Overson Law, PLLC for a free case review. Call us at (801) 758-2287.