Drug Crimes

Drug Crimes

This page deals first with drug distribution charges, second with drug possession charges, third with imitation controlled substance charges, and fourth with paraphernalia charges.

What is a Controlled Substance

In order to be convicted of either drug possession or drug distribution, there must be a “controlled substance” involved in the crime.

All substances listed here and here are controlled substances for purposes of Utah drug crimes.

Even if a substance is not specifically listed under one of the above schedules, it may still be considered a “controlled substance analog,” and therefore the substance would still be considered “controlled” for purposes of Utah law.  A controlled substance analog is a substance that has a chemical structure substantially similar to the chemical structure of one of the substances listed in the above schedules.

Drug Distribution & Possession with Intent to Distribute

Drug distribution charges may arise when any individual knowingly and intentionally produces, manufactures, agrees to distribute (even if they haven’t actually taken action to distribute), offers to distribute, arranges to distribute, or actually distributes, any controlled or counterfeit substance, or possesses any controlled or counterfeit substance with the intent to distribute it.

Penalties
  • First Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of the above crime is guilty of a first degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is a Schedule I or II controlled substance (Heroin, MDMA or Ecstasy, Cocaine, LSD, Mushrooms, Methamphetamine or Meth, Raw Opium, Morphine, Oxycodone, and OxyContin.  For a full list, click here).
  • Second Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of the above crime is guilty of a second degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is a Schedule III or IV controlled substance (anabolic steroids), or the controlled substance is Marijuana.
  • Third Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of the above crime is guilty of a third degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is a Schedule V controlled substance.  However, if the defendant has been previously convicted, the defendant is guilty of a second degree felony.
  • Third Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of the above crime is guilty of a third degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is one listed under 58-37-4.2, unless the defendant has been previously convicted, then the defendant is guilty of a second degree felony.
Enhancements
  • Possession of a FirearmIf a firearm was used, carried, possessed, or in the immediate possession of the defendant during the commission of either of the following crimes, the defendant will have one to five years added to his/her sentence:
    1. Distributed a controlled or counterfeit substance, agreed to, consented to, offered to, or arranged to distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance.
    2. Possessed a controlled or counterfeit substance with the intent to distribute.
  • Prior Conviction.  Any person who is convicted of the above crime, and also has a prior conviction of distribution or possession with intent to distribute, will have his/her crime enhanced by one degree (e.g. third degree felony to a second degree felony).
  • Drug Free Zone.  If any person is found to have the above crimes, and the crime amounts to a first degree felony, the defendant’s presence in a drug free zone elevates the defendant’s penalties to a term of imprisonment for not less than five years, and the charge is still a first degree felony.  If the crime what was committed was not a first degree felony, then the penalty attached to the crime will be elevated by one degree (e.g. second degree felony to a first degree felony, or a Class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony).

An individual is in a drug free zone if he/she is within the grounds of a school, grounds being used for an activity sponsored by or though a school, in or on the grounds of a daycare, public park, amusement park, arcade, recreation center, house of worship, shopping mall, movie house, sports facility, library, in the presence of someone younger than 18 years old, or within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, church, shopping mall, sports facility, movie house, or playhouse.

Drug Possession & Drug Use

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally possess or use a controlled substance (or analog) unless it was obtained lawfully.  It is also illegal for any individual in control of a building, room, or vehicle to knowingly and intentionally allow another individual to enter when that individual is unlawfully possessing, using, or distributing a controlled substance.

Penalties
  • Second Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of possessing a controlled substance is guilty of a second degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is marijuana and the amount in possession is 100 pounds or more.
  • Third Degree Felony.  Any individual convicted of possessing a controlled substance is guilty of a third degree felony if the controlled substance at issue is a Schedule I or II controlled substance or marijuana and the amount possessed is more than 16 ounces but less than 100 pounds (Schedule I or II controlled substances include Heroin, MDMA or Ecstasy, Cocaine, LSD, Mushrooms, Methamphetamine or Meth, Raw Opium, Morphine, Oxycodone, and OxyContin.  For a full list, click here).
  • Class B Misdemeanor.  Any individual convicted of possessing or using a controlled substance is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if the controlled substance at issue is a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance, a substance listed in 58-37.42, or the defendant was possessing less than one ounce of marijuana.  However, if this is the defendant’s second conviction, the defendant is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.  If this is the defendant’s third (or more) conviction, the defendant is guilty of a third degree felony.
  • Second Degree Felony.  Any individual who has a Schedule I or II controlled substance found in their body (e.g. found in a test of their blood) is guilty of a second degree felony.  However, marijuana, tetrahdrocannabinols, or substances listed in 58-37-4.2 is guilty of a third degree felony.
  • Class A Misdemeanor.  Any individual who has a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance in their body is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
  • Class B misdemeanor.  Any individual convicted of knowingly and intentionally allowing another to enter their building, room, or vehicle while that person is possessing, using, or distributing a controlled substance is guilty of a class B misdemeanor for a first offense, a class A misdemeanor for a second offense, and a third degree felony for a third offense.
Enhancements
  • Possession in a Correctional Facility.  If an individual is convicted of possession of a controlled substance (or analog) while in a correctional facility, the defendant’s charge will be enhanced by one degree (e.g. third degree felony to a second degree felony).
  • Drug Free Zone.  If any person is found to have committed any of the above crimes, and the crime amounts to a first degree felony, the defendant’s presence in a drug free zone elevates the defendant’s penalties to a term of imprisonment for a term not less than five years, and the charge is still a first degree felony.  If the crime what was committed was not a first degree felony, then the penalty attached to the crime will be elevated by one degree (e.g. second degree felony to a first degree felony, or a Class A misdemeanor to a third degree felony).

An individual is in a drug free zone if he/she is within the grounds of a school, grounds being used for an activity sponsored by or though a school, in or on the grounds of a daycare, public park, amusement park, arcade, recreation center, house of worship, shopping mall, movie house, sports facility, library, in the presence of someone younger than 18 years old, or within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, church, shopping mall, sports facility, movie house, or playhouse.

Imitation Controlled Substances

Manufacture, Distribution, or Possession of Imitation Controlled Substance

Any individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses with the intent to distribute, an imitation controlled substance is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Use of an Imitation Controlled Substance

Any individual who uses, or possesses with intent to use, an imitation controlled substance is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

Advertisement of Imitation Controlled Substance

Any individual who places or posts an advertisement or solicitation in any kind of newspaper, magazine, other publication, or other public place, with reasonable knowledge that the purpose of the post or advertisement is to promote the distribution of imitation controlled substances is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Drug Paraphernalia

What is Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia means any “equipment, product, or material used, or intended for use, to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, package, repackage, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or to otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body.” (Utah Code 58-37a-3).

Specific types of equipment and material are described by statute here, and include scales, blenders, bowls, containers, mixing devices, balloons, capsules, syringes, needles, pipes, and bongs.

Determining Whether Something is Drug Paraphernalia

Of course, not all blenders, bowls, and scales can be considered drug paraphernalia.  In determining whether an object should be considered drug paraphernalia for the purposes of convicting someone of a crime, there are a variety of factors to be considered:

  • Statements by the owner of the object concerning its use;
  • Prior convictions of the owner of the object relating to a controlled substance;
  • Proximity of the object to controlled substances;
  • Existence of any residue of a controlled substance on the object;
Paraphernalia Crimes

Use and Possession of ParaphernaliaIt is unlawful for any person to use, or possess with intent to use,  drug paraphernalia to “plant, propagate, cultivate grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body.” (Utah Code 58-37a-5).

Delivery of Paraphernalia.  It is unlawful for an individual to deliver paraphernalia, possess paraphernalia with the intent to deliver it, or manufacture paraphernalia with the intent to deliver it, knowing that the paraphernalia would be used to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body.” (Utah Code 58-37a-5).

Penalties

Use or possession of drug paraphernalia is a class B misdemeanor.

Delivery of paraphernalia is a class A misdemeanor.  However, if the defendant is 18 years or older delivering paraphernalia to a person younger than 18 years old, and there is at least a three year difference between the ages of the two individuals, the defendant is guilty of a third degree felony.