Charged with a Drug Crime in Utah? Here’s What to Expect

In Utah, all drug offenses are serious and treated as such. What you can expect after an arrest will depend on the type and quantity of the drug involved, as well as the alleged crime, which can range from a simple possession charge to the sale, distribution, and trafficking of illegal drugs. You may also face misdemeanor or felony charges, both of which impact your freedom and future prospects.

Marijuana

Unlike nearby states such as California and Colorado, Utah has strict marijuana laws, and if you are found with any quantity of cannabis on you, you will almost certainly be arrested. This is an especially traumatizing situation for visitors from out of state who have a prescription to use marijuana to treat a health condition.

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony will depend on how much marijuana was found in your possession. Possession of less than 100 lbs is technically a Class B misdemeanor, which can send you to jail for up to six months and require you to pay a $1000 fine. You could still be charged with a second degree felony, however, if the quantity is deemed to be too high for personal use. Selling any amount of marijuana is a second-degree felony that can result in five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Prescription Drugs

Recreational use of prescription drugs such as antidepressants and painkillers has exploded in recent years, so Utah law enforcement agencies are cracking down hard on prescription drug offenses. If you are caught in possession of drugs such as codeine, ketamine, and hydrocodone, you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor as a first offender. This means that even if you accept a prescription painkiller from a sympathetic friend to treat a headache, you could go to jail for up to six months.

If you are charged with possessing illegal prescription drugs for the purposes of selling or otherwise profiting from them, you could face prosecution for a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Schedule I and II Drugs

In Utah, Schedule I and II drugs include heroin, cocaine, morphine, opium, and methamphetamines. Even possession of these substances can result in third degree felony charges. If the authorities believe that you intend to distribute the drugs, you will be charged with a second degree felony, which can send you to prison for up to 15 years and require you to pay a $10,000 fine.

A conviction for any Utah drug offense will cause you to lose your driver’s license for at least six months. Even if you don’t go to jail, you will have a criminal record that can severely limit your school and career options, prevent you from getting certain types of professional licenses, and bar access to public benefits.

With so much hanging in the balance, the first thing you need to do if charged with a drug offense is call a Utah criminal defense attorney. The team at Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins has years of experience in defending drug charges, and will work tirelessly to minimize and even eliminate the impact of the arrest and its after-effects on your future.

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Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates