Drug Crimes

Utah has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. Even the casual user can face tough penalties for simply possessing a controlled substance. If you are charged with any type of drug crime in Salt Lake City or throughout Utah, you need a lawyer who will aggressively fight for your rights and the best possible result in the case.

Attorneys for Drug Crimes in Salt Lake City, UT

The criminal defense attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP, represent clients accused of the illegal use, possession, control, delivery, production, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances under Utah code 58-37-2. For more information, you can review a small sampling of case results for search, seizure, and interrogations

Additional Information about Utah Drug Crimes

  • Types of Drug Crimes in Utah
  • Drug Searches by the Utah Highway Patrol
  • Utah Law on Drug Possession
  • Possession of Club Drugs in Utah
  • Drug Courts in Salt Lake County
  • Additional Resources

Types of Drug Crimes in Utah

Our drug crime attorneys have successfully resolved many drug cases for clients charged with a variety of drug crimes prosecuted in Utah including the following:

  • Possession
  • Marijuana Possession
  • Possession of Paraphernalia
  • Possession of Cocaine
  • Possession of Heroin
  • Possession of Meth
  • Possession of Ecstasy
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Cultivation
  • Production of a Controlled Substance
  • Illegal Drug Lab
  • Traffic Stop Drug Bust
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Prescription Forgery
  • Prescription Drug Crimes
  • Distribution/Sales/Trafficking
  • Drug Manufacture and Cultivation Charges

Drug Searches by the Utah Highway Patrol

Utah has seen an increase in drug cases as the Utah Highway Patrol and other agencies have stepped up their efforts. Particularly on Utah interstate highways, motorists are stopped for no reason and required to answer endless questions about their travels and their lives.

Dogs are often at the scene, and cars are searched without a legal basis. It is important that you know your rights on the roadside. Although the Constitution does not always win on the roadway, it is often a different result in the courtroom. Detentions involving drug investigations are often illegal, but it is only through the efforts of a good lawyer that you can require the police to answer for their conduct.

The State of Utah is cracking down on people they believe might be trafficking marijuana and cash between Utah and other states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana. Law enforcement officers in Utah take a very tough approach to trafficking marijuana.

One way the State of Utah is enforcing their no-marijuana-trafficking position is through the forfeiture and seizure of cars and assets from drivers passing through with lots of cash on their way to buy marijuana. Utah takes an ultra-conservative approach to prosecuting the use and purchase of illegal substances like marijuana.

Despite these ultra-conservative law enforcement approaches, the Utah legislature has enacted laws trying to curb the government’s ability to seize the assets of drivers suspected of going to other states for marijuana purchases. Nonetheless, the state government—in the form of the highway patrol—still acts aggressively to seize related assets.

When troopers with the Utah Highway Patrol see drivers that meet the profile they are looking for, they often perform traffic stops without a valid legal basis for the stop. After the traffic stop, these troopers are finding cash and/or marijuana. It takes an experienced criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City to fight these cases to suppress evidence illegally obtained.

Utah Law on Drug Possession

For the prosecutor to prove "Possession or Use of a Controlled Substance," the prosecutor must prove that the defendant possessed the controlled substance. Possession can include both actual and constructive possession.

To find that the defendant had constructive possession of the controlled substance, the evidence must establish a sufficient nexus or connection between the accused and the controlled substance to permit a reasonable inference that the defendant had both the power and the intent to exercise dominion and control over the controlled substance.

Factors relevant to deciding whether the defendant constructively possessed the controlled substance, include, but are not limited to the following:

  • ownership and/or occupancy of the residence, vehicle, or property where the controlled substance was found
  • whether that ownership and/or occupancy was exclusive
  • presence of the defendant at the time the controlled substance was found
  • defendant’s proximity to the controlled substance
  • previous drug use
  • incriminating statements or behavior
  • presence of the controlled substance in a location where the defendant had control
  • other people who also had access to the location of the drugs

The general definition of possession of a controlled substance under Utah code 58-37-2 include the following:

  • owning
  • controlling
  • holding
  • retaining
  • maintaining
  • applying
  • inhaling
  • swallowing
  • injecting
  • consuming

The prosecution can also attempt to prove "joint possession," because under Utah law, for a person to possess a controlled substance, it is not required that the person individually possess it. Instead, the law provides it is sufficient if the person participated with one or more persons in the possession of a controlled substance with the knowledge that the activity was occurring, or the controlled substance is found in a place or under circumstances indicating constructive possession.

Possession of Club Drugs in Utah

The term “club drugs” refers to a variety of drugs that are popular at all-night dance parties such as raves, dance clubs, and bars. The harmful effects of the drugs can be increased if they are used in combination with alcohol or marijuana.

The most common club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol, Ecstasy, and Ketamine.

Drug Courts in Salt Lake County

The Third District has the following drug courts located throughout Salt Lake County:

  • Salt Lake City Adult Felony Drug Court
  • Salt Lake City Adult Misdemeanor Drug Court
  • Taylorsville Misdemeanor Substance Abuse within Justice Court
  • Tooele Juvenile Delinquency Drug Court
  • Salt Lake County Misdemeanor Adult Drug Court within Justice Court
  • Salt Lake Juvenile Drug Court

Additional Resources

Salt Lake Narcotics Diversion Unit - The Unified Police Department Narcotics Diversion Unit in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a specialty group of detectives who act as compliance and probation officers for participants in Salt Lake County Felony Drug Courts. The Narcotics Diversion Unit represents the law enforcement arm of drug court. The detectives communicate directly with the judges and legislators to advocate for passing effective controlled substance laws. The Unit for Narcotics Diversion in Salt Lake City also interacts with other members of the drug court community including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and drug treatment providers while making sure drug court participants adhere to the drug court agreement.

Find a Drug Crime Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

At Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, we are very proud of our record in protecting clients' rights. We defend drug cases in Salt Lake City, Utah, and understand the issues involved. Whether you are charged with simple possession, or more serious charges such as cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, distribution, sale, delivery or trafficking, contact us to discuss your case.

Our Salt Lake City drug defense lawyers can help you understand the charges pending against you, possible defenses that can be used to fight your case, and ways to avoid the typical penalties for those charges.

Contact us at (801) 532-5297 to discuss your case.

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