Things You Should Know About Drug Crimes in Utah
Due to the country’s strict drug laws, drug offenses in Utah can have serious and long-term consequences. As more states around Utah legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the criminal justice system is on the lookout for individuals who are illegally transporting marijuana across the state, even if it was legally grown or sold in other jurisdictions.
Is your loved one facing a drug offense in Utah? Having a drug possession lawyer in St. George, can help you navigate the legal complexities associated with drug crimes in Utah. Here is everything you need to know about drug offenses in Utah;
The Onset: Suspension Of Your Driver’s License For Six Months
Utah is strict regarding drug offenses – drug possession charges are just as serious. If you’re convicted of a drug offense, your driver’s license can be suspended for six months. In addition, drug offenses in state-designated drug-free zones such as parks, churches, shopping malls, or schools can result in more severe consequences (enhanced penalties).
Utah’s zero-tolerance policy can be problematic for drivers, as drug traces can remain in their system for days. Therefore, sobriety tests that detect such traces can lead to charges of driving under the influence. Utah laws are complicated and present several obstacles to overcome, which is why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can be helpful.
What Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers In Utah Cover
Utah laws are tough on drug offenses, from possessing drug paraphernalia to selling drugs resulting in death to taking prescription drugs without permission. An experienced drug crimes defense attorney can represent you for any of the following offenses:
1. Possession Of Drugs
If authorities catch you possessing less than one ounce of cannabis, it can qualify as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,950 fine and up to six months in jail. On the other hand, possession of up to 16 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a $4,875 fine and one year in jail. Moreover, possessing other prohibited drugs is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum fine of $9,750 and five years in prison.
Suppose law enforcement or prosecutors suspect that you intend to distribute the narcotics. In that case, they may increase the charge to “possession with intent to distribute.”
2. Drug Abuse
Drug abuse includes using illegal substances such as heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. It also includes the abuse of prescribed medications. Research shows that addicts commit most drug offenses. Therefore, Utah has established “drug courts” that provide rehabilitation and treatment services instead of punishment to reduce drug abuse and the incidence of drug offenses.
Utah criminal law makes no distinction between distributing drugs and possessing drugs with intent to distribute. Both are considered second-degree felonies and are punishable by a fine of $19,950 and up to 15 years in prison. You should note that “distribution” refers to anyone who gives, offers, or shares drugs with other parties, not exclusively dealers. Assuming that the possession or distribution occurs in drug-free areas, the offense is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by a fine of $19,950 or life imprisonment.
4. Drug Trafficking
Assuming significant quantities of narcotics are present. In that case, prosecutors may bring forth trafficking charges against you. The sentence for drug trafficking ranges from five years to life imprisonment, depending on the substance involved and whether it is a repeated offense.
Drug Courts: How Do They Function?
Criminal defense attorneys can advise you whether your case is eligible for a hearing in drug court rather than criminal court. You should know that drug courts prioritize the elimination of substance abuse over the long-term correction of criminal offenses. For this reason, your conviction depends on your participation in treatment programs, regular testing, and monitoring by the court. Adult, juvenile, and addiction drug courts are the three categories of drug courts in Utah.
The existence of adult drug crime courts varies by jurisdiction. Essentially, you cannot participate in a drug court under the following conditions;
Assuming you have a prior violent crime conviction. In that case, you cannot attend drug courts.
Suspects facing drug crimes of marijuana and alcohol cannot attend drug court.
Persons charged with and convicted of operating prohibited drug production facilities or drug distribution enterprises are not eligible for drug court.
In addition, you are not eligible for drug courts if you have disruptive habits or cannot manage organized recovery programs.
Drug courts allow qualified individuals to plead guilty to their crimes, similar to pretrial diversion. The sentence is deferred through a “guilty in absentia” plea while the offender participates in drug court. Upon completing the program, the court withdraws the guilty plea and drops all charges. However, if the offender fails to complete the treatment, they risk facing hefty fines and, in extreme cases, jail time.
Are The Services Of A Lawyer Necessary?
Are you facing charges of drug offenses in Utah? There are provisions in the law protecting your rights in case of severe drug felonies or drug possession offenses. A consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you determine your case’s best course of action. To help you through the regular court system and drug courts in Utah, you need an attorney with considerable experience handling drug issues. They should also have a strong understanding of relevant regulations.
Given the consequences of drug offenses, it is crucial to retain a competent, experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Aric Cramer can help you distinguish between felony and misdemeanor offenses and between probation and jail time. Need a free initial consultation? Call us at (435) 627-1565 or visit our website at https://www.ariccramer.com/criminal-defense-overview/drug-possession/ to learn more about our solutions. We have represented clients in Cedar City, St. George, Beaver, Kanab, Richfield, Fillmore and Panguitch, and other locations throughout southern Utah. We can also defend you and protect your rights throughout Washington County.
Name, Address and Phone
Aric Cramer, Attorney at Law,
132 W Tabernacle Building A St. George Utah 84770,
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