A drug conviction has the power to negatively impact your entire life. Regardless of whether the charges are felony or misdemeanor, a conviction can lead to thousands of dollars in fines, months or years of incarceration, the suspension of your driver’s license, and the creation of a permanent criminal record which will continue to haunt you long after you are released from jail or prison. With a drug arrest in your history, you may be denied for jobs, loans, and even opportunities to buy or rent certain properties.
The bottom line is that if you’re facing drug charges, you need to act fast. Utah criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has more than 15 years of experience handling thousands of cases on behalf of juvenile and adult clients, and is ready to fight aggressively to protect your rights and challenge the allegations.
To set up a free and completely confidential case evaluation, call Darwin today at (801) 758-2287.
Factors that Influence Criminal Penalties for Drug Crimes in West Jordan
There are quite a few factors which can influence how drug offenses are criminally categorized in the state of Utah. These factors include:
- The quantity of the substance involved in the alleged offense. Generally speaking, as the quantity increases, the classification rises and the penalties become harsher.
- Whether the defendant was in possession of items which could indicate intent to sell or distribute narcotics, such as individual baggies, weighing scales, or mixing tools for preparing doses. Convictions which involve sales, distribution, trafficking, and transportation tend to be penalized more harshly than convictions involving strictly personal use. Drug possession for personal use is sometimes called “simple possession.”
- Whether the defendant has any previous drug convictions. The more offenses an individual has on his or her record, the less forgiving the courts are likely to be.
- Whether the offense involved an element of child endangerment, such as a marijuana DUI with a young child riding as a passenger. Similarly, crimes which occur in designated school zones can receive increased penalties.
- The scheduling number associated with scheduled substances. Substances are scheduled not by the state, but by the DEA or Drug Enforcement Administration. In many cases, the lower the number is, the greater the potential for harsh legal consequences. For example, Schedule IV substances include Xanax and Valium, while Schedule I substances include heroin and LSD.
Fines and Sentences for Utah Drug Convictions
Depending on the factors discussed above, you could be facing the following maximum fines and sentences.
- Class B
- Fine — $1,000
- Sentence — 6 months, jail
- Class A
- Fine — $2,500
- Sentence — 1 year, jail
- Third Degree
- Fine — $5,000
- Sentence — 5 years, prison
- Second Degree
- Fine — $10,000
- Sentence — 15 years, prison
- First Degree
- Fine — $10,000
- Sentence — Life in prison
Our Utah Defense Attorneys Handling Marijuana Charges
Reforms to long-standing marijuana legislation have become an increasingly controversial topic throughout the United States over the past several years. Colorado, for example, is one of several states to completely legalize the personal and recreational use of cannabis. But while Utah shares a border with Colorado, its own marijuana laws are far less relaxed.
On the contrary, Utah is known for taking a hard stance on drug-related prosecution — and for imposing tough penalties when defendants are convicted. Furthermore, since Utah happens to share a border with Colorado, many state police departments have become extremely vigilant and aggressive when it comes to stopping cars traveling along suspect interstate routes.
In short, recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Utah pending updates to the state’s current legislation. Possession in amounts up to one pound is a misdemeanor, while possession in amounts exceeding one pound is a felony. The class or degree of misdemeanor or felony depends on the precise amount of marijuana involved.
Is it Illegal to Possess Drug Paraphernalia in Utah?
In addition to making narcotic substances illegal, Utah’s laws also prohibit the possession and sale of drug paraphernalia. Under definitions supplied by the Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act (§58-37a-3), paraphernalia includes but is not limited to all of the following items:
- Any grow kits used for “planting… cultivating, growing, or harvesting” marijuana plants, or any other plants which are used to produce controlled substances.
- Any kits used for “manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing a controlled substance.”
- Any testing equipment meant to determine a drug’s quality or purity.
- Any balances or scales used to weigh out quantities.
- Any bowls, bongs, pipes, spoons, vials, or masks used to ingest or inhale controlled substances.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with drug possession, sales, cultivation, or related offenses, it’s a serious situation that demands attention from an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer. Don’t wait until it’s already too late and you’re facing the prosecutor in court — call Darwin at (801) 758-2287 right away to schedule your free and private case evaluation.