Utah enforces strict anti-drug laws that criminalize the personal possession (“simple” possession) of controlled substances, the distribution, trafficking, and smuggling of controlled substances, and the possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. Every year, many passengers are arrested for drug possession at Salt Lake City International Airport and other major airports in Utah.
If you or one of your family members was arrested for drug possession at an airport in Utah, you need strategic and aggressive legal representation right away. Quality representation by an experienced defense attorney in Utah can make the difference between incarceration and a dismissal of your case, an acquittal, or a reduction in the penalties you face.
Do not wait to discuss your case with an airport drug possession lawyer in Utah. Contact Salt Lake defense lawyer Darwin Overson, who has over 16 years of experience handling felony and misdemeanor drug possession cases on behalf of adults and juveniles, for a free and confidential legal consultation at (801) 758-2287.
What is the TSA Marijuana Policy?
The TSA is the Transportation Security Administration. TSA officers search passengers and conduct other safety measures at airports, which can lead to the discovery of controlled substances.
Does TSA Search Passengers for Marijuana?
As of February 2017, official TSA policy is that TSA does not actively search for marijuana. However, discovery of marijuana in a passenger’s luggage or on a passenger’s person can result in criminal prosecution and potentially serious penalties. Official TSA policy draws no distinction between the treatment of medical marijuana and marijuana for personal or recreational use. The following quote is directly excerpted from the official TSA marijuana policy:
“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.
Whether or not marijuana is considered legal under local law is not relevant to TSA screening because TSA is governed by federal law. Federal law provides no basis to treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana.”
Utah Drug Laws and Penalties
Utah’s drug laws are contained under the Utah Controlled Substances Act, which is part of the Utah Code under Title 58. Utah Code § 58-37-8 criminalizes a wide array of drug offenses, including drug possession for personal use and drug possession with intent to distribute.
State and federal laws make a variety of controlled substances illegal to possess, including many prescription drugs without a valid prescription from a licensed physician. Prescription drugs and controlled substances that are illegal to possess at an airport in Utah, unless the person has the appropriate prescription, include:
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
- LSD (Acid)
- Marijuana (Cannabis, Pot, Weed)
- Psilocybin Mushrooms
Jail Time for Misdemeanor Drug Possession and Distribution
The following acts are misdemeanors under the Utah Controlled Substances Act:
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Distribute, or possess with intent to distribute, any Schedule V drug
- Possess or use any Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance (e.g. cocaine, OxyContin, LSD, heroin)
Penalties for a Class A misdemeanor may include:
- Up to $2,500 in fines
- Up to 1 year of jail time
Other crimes are Class B misdemeanors, described below.
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Possess marijuana (less than 100 pounds)
- Possess or use any Schedule III drug, Schedule IV drug, or Schedule V drug (e.g. ketamine, Xanax, Valium)
Penalties for a Class B misdemeanor may include:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Up to 6 months of jail time
Prison Sentence for Felony Possession of Controlled Substances
Other airport drug crimes are charged as felonies, which have more severe consequences. Felony drug crimes in Utah include:
- Second Degree Felony
- Distribute, or possess with intent to distribute, any Schedule I drug or Schedule II drug (e.g. heroin, LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, OxyContin)
- Possess 100 or more pounds of marijuana
The penalties for a second degree felony in Utah may include:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- A prison sentence ranging from 1 to 15 years in prison
The law also makes some airport controlled substance offenses third degree felonies.
- Third Degree Felony
- Distribute, or possess with intent to distribute, marijuana or any Schedule III drug or Schedule IV drug (e.g. Valium, ketamine, Xanax)
The penalties for a third degree felony in Utah may include:
- A fine of up to $5,000
- A prison sentence of up to 5 years
Contact a Utah Defense Lawyer if You Were Arrested for Drugs at Salt Lake City Airport
If you or a loved one was arrested for possession of narcotics or unauthorized prescription drugs at any airport in Utah, you need to contact an experienced drug crime lawyer in Salt Lake City for legal assistance. Utah criminal attorney Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience handling thousands of misdemeanor and felony cases, and is prepared to represent defendants charged with drug possession at airports throughout the state, including:
- Salt Lake City International Airport
- Wendover Airport
- St. George Regional Airport
- Provo Municipal Airport
- Ogden-Hinckley Airport
- Cedar City Regional Airport
- Vernal Regional Airport
- Canyonlands Field Airport
You deserve aggressive legal representation. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 immediately for a free and confidential consultation.