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Salt Lake City Drug Charges

Drug and Narcotics Charges

Drug Crimes in Salt Lake City

Drug crimes in Salt Lake City, Utah can include many offenses, ranging from misdemeanors with minimal sentences to felonies with very harsh punishments. Many drug crimes can be charged as a federal offense under the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 807 et seq.), state offense or both a federal and state offense. Federal charges usually incur more serious penalties and consequences than state charges. A few commonly charged drug offenses in Utah are:

Your criminal defense attorney will attempt to find defenses or mitigating circumstances to help you find the best possible outcome for your situation. For example, if the arresting officer did not read you Miranda Warnings, or your charge was the product of an illegal search or seizure, your Salt Lake City defense attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.

Salt Lake City Drug Charge Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug offense in Salt Lake City, call Levitt Legal at (801) 531-1030 for a consultation today, or fill out the online form. It is very important to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable about Utah’s drug laws, and experienced in representing those accused of drug crimes. Darren Levitt of Levitt Legal will make every effort to help you avoid harsh punishments and severe repercussions for your drug offense in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Salt Lake City Drug Crimes Information Center


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Utah Drug Acts

Utah has various acts governing drug violations, prohibited offenses associated with controlled substances, and penalties for these crimes in the state. Although the primary drug act is the Utah Controlled Substances Act, the following is a list of the various acts that control Utah’s miscellaneous and niche drug charges and penalties:

  • Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act – Utah Code § 58-37a – This act was enacted to eliminate paraphernalia associated with the use of controlled substances. This act contains definitions, offenses and penalties.
  • Imitation Controlled Substances Act – Utah Code § 58-37b – This act contains definitions, unlawful acts and penalties for various offenses.
  • Utah Controlled Substance Precursor Act - Utah Code § 58-37c – This act was enacted to regulate the licensure of professionals, distribution, and use of precursor chemicals for controlled substances. The act contains definitions, licensing requirements, regulations of lawful use, offenses and penalties for unlawful use.
  • Clandestine Drug Lab Act - Utah Code § 58-37d – This act was enacted for the prosecution of specific illegal drug laboratory operations. It contains definitions, offenses and penalties.

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Utah Controlled Substances Act

The Utah Controlled Substances Act, codified in Chapter 37 of Title 58 of the Utah Code, governs most state charges associated with controlled substances in Utah. The Act defines all prohibited drug offenses and penalties for drug crimes in Utah, in addition to listing controlled substances in Utah. Section 8 (Utah Code § 58-37-8) lists acts that are criminal offenses in the Act, including:

  • The Manufacture of Controlled Substances - The production, manufacture, dispensing or possession with intent to produce, manufacture or dispense a controlled or counterfeit substance by a person knowingly and intentionally. A violation of this statute can be a class A misdemeanor, third degree felony, second degree felony, or first degree felony, depend on the schedule the controlled substance is classified in and whether it is a first or subsequent conviction.
  • The Distribution of Controlled Substances - To distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance or to agree, offer, arrange, or consent to distribute the substance by a person knowingly and intentionally. A violation of this statute can be a class A misdemeanor, third degree felony, second degree felony, or first degree felony, depend on the schedule the controlled substance is classified in and whether it is a first or subsequent conviction.
  • The Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute – To possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute by a person knowingly and intentionally. A violation of this statute can be a class A misdemeanor, third degree felony, second degree felony, or first degree felony, depend on the schedule the controlled substance is classified in and whether it is a first or subsequent conviction.
  • Drug Trafficking - To engage in a criminal enterprise where the person participates, directs or engages in conduct that is a felony under the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act, Imitation Controlled Substances Act, Utah Controlled Substance Precursor Act, or Clandestine Drug Lab Act. A violation of this law is a first degree felony, with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven years to life.
  • The Possession of a Controlled Substance – It is unlawful for any person who knowingly and intentionally possess or uses a controlled substance that was not validly obtained by a prescription; who possesses an unlawfully obtained prescription; or a building owner who knowingly and intentionally permits a tenant to occupy the building who is unlawfully possessing, distributing or using a controlled substance. This offense is punishable as a class B misdemeanor, class A misdemeanor, third degree felony or second degree felony, depending on the controlled substance, the amount possessed, and whether the offender has previously been convicted.

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Utah’s Drug Schedule

The Utah Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs, prescription medications, street drugs, and controlled substances into schedules, from Schedule I to Schedule V. The schedules categorize the controlled substances based on the addictive nature of the drugs, likelihood for abuse, and known medical use. Schedule I drugs are more addictive with severe penalties for drug offenses, and Schedule V drugs are less addictive, and carry less serious punishments for drug offenses.

  • Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no commonly accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples are Marijuana, Peyote, heroin, cocaine, opium and LSD.
  • Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but can be used for some medical purposes in the United States. Common examples are GHB and Ketamine.
  • Schedule III drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs, and have commonly accepted medical uses in the United States. An example is anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and are commonly used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples include Xanax and Ambien.
  • Schedule V drugs have the least potential for abuse and are frequently used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples include medicines with small quantities of codeine or opium.

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Examples of Controlled Substances in Utah

Controlled substances can be a variety of street drugs, medications with or without prescriptions, any precursor or derivative or base of drugs, or controlled substances. Some examples and commonly used names of controlled substances are:

Prescription Pills / Medications

  • Alprazolam, also known as Xanax
  • Zolpidem, also known as Ambien
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Codeine or Hydrocodone with an NSAID or acetaminophen, also known as Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet
  • Dextropropoxyphene, also known as Darvon, Darvocet
  • Methadone, also known as Dolophine, Methadose
  • Morphine, also known as Roxanol, Kapanol
  • Oxycodone, also known as OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan
  • Oxymorphone, also known as Opana, Numorphan, Numorphone
  • Pure Codeine
  • Pure Hydrocodone

Street Drugs

  • Amphetamines, also known as Uppers, Speed, Black Beauties, Bennies
  • Ecgonine, also known as Cocaine, Powder, White Lady, Blow, Coke, Coca
  • Cathinone, also known as Bath Salts
  • Heroin, also known as Smack, Black Tar
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB, the Date Rape Drug
  • Ketamine, also known as Special K, K
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD, Acid
  • Mescaline, also known as Peyote, San Pedro, Achuma, Peruvian Torch cacti
  • Methamphetamine, also known as Meth, Speed
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as Ecstasy, MDMA
  • Opium, also known as Poppy, Poppy Seeds, Opiates
  • Psilocybin, also known as Psilocyn, Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms
  • Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), also known as Cannabis, Marijuana, Pot, Weed, Ganja, Bud, Chronic

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Penalties for Drug Crimes in Salt Lake City, Utah

The potential punishments you will face for a drug offense depend on a variety of factors, including the offense you are convicted of, what schedule the controlled substance is in, the amount of the controlled substance, the number of prior convictions, where the act took place, if the act involved a minor, and if harm or serious bodily injured occurred to another person during commission of the offense.

Examples of reasons for increased punishments can include: if the drug crime occurred in the vicinity of an elementary school, public park, house of worship, correctional facility, or in the vicinity of someone under the age of 18 can result in greater punishments. Additional reasons for increased punishments are if the offender carried a firearm during commission of the offense, has incurred previous convictions, or causes serious bodily injury or death to another person while the crime is committed. The following list describes minimum basic punishment ranges in Utah:

  • Class B Misdemeanors – Imprisonment up to six months, and/or fines not more than $1,000;
  • Class A Misdemeanors – Imprisonment up to one year, and/or a fine not more than $2,500;
  • Third Degree Felonies – Imprisonment up to five years, and/or fines up to $5,000;
  • Second Degree Felonies – Imprisonment up to 15 years, and/or fines up to $10,000; and
  • First Degree Felonies – Imprisonment from five years to life, and/or fines not more than $10,000.

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Federal Controlled Substances Act

The federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 807 et seq.) outlines federal drug offenses and the potential punishments for each offense. Federal drug charges can arise when a drug offense is committed across state borders, or from drug offenses that occurred while crossing national borders. Most Utah drug offenses can also be federal offenses, as drug crimes in the state may have arisen from drugs that were brought across state borders.

The federal Controlled Substance Act similarly classifies controlled substances into schedules like the Utah Controlled Substances Act, where Schedule I drugs are considered the most likely to be abused with no recognized medical use, and Schedule V drugs as the least likely to be abused with commonly used medical purposes.

Penalties for a conviction of federal drug charges are usually much harsher than penalties for state drug convictions for both misdemeanors and felonies. Federal drug sentences typically incur longer prison sentences and greater fines.


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Utah’s Drug Court and Federal First Time Offender Act

Certain Utah courts and federal laws provide methods for non-violent first time drug offenders to avoid jail or prison time.

Utah’s Drug Courts – These courts are available in state courts throughout Utah for non-violent drug offenders that have been charged with a felony drug offense. The alleged offender can have one previous drug conviction for which a sentence was given, and must be in the country legally. Offenders typically have charges such as forged prescriptions, possession with intent, and felony possession of a controlled substance. The drug court usually involves regular treatment sessions, random urinalysis and frequent court appearances. Drug charges and the guilty plea in abeyance will be dismissed after the drug court has been successfully completed.

Federal First Time Offender Act – This act applies to first time federal drug offenders who have been charged under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and have not previously had a federal drug charge dismissed under the Federal First Time Offender Act. Eligible offenders may be permitted probation up to one year, and after successfully completing the requirements of their probation their drug charges will likely be dismissed. Eligible offenders typically have not committed serious drug offenses or those with heightened punishment factors, such as causing bodily injury to another during commission of the offense.


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Drug Resources in Salt Lake City

Greater Salt Lake Unified Police – Neighborhood Narcotics Unit – The Neighborhood Narcotics Unit is a branch of the Investigations Division of the Unified Police Department. The Unit focuses on drug activity in all of the communities around the Salt Lake area, including unincorporated counties and contract cities. The Unit’s goal is to target and eliminate drug dealers, from street range to mid-level dealers, from local communities. The unit can be contacted at:

Neighborhood Drug Unit
3365 South 900 W.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119
Phone: (801) 743-5919

DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force – This local branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enforces federal, state and local drug laws in Utah, and seeks to dismantle drug trafficking organizations and clandestine lab operators in Utah. The DEA is a national governmental agency that enforces the United State’s laws and regulations regarding street drugs, prescription drugs and controlled substances.

Utah Drug Penalties – This link is to the various penalties for violating provisions of Utah’s Drug Act in the Utah Code § 58-37-8. Penalties can vary, depending on the type of act committed, the controlled substance, the number of prior offenses, where the act took place, if the act involved a minor, where harm or serious bodily injured occurred during commission of the offense, and the amount of the controlled substance.

Federal Drug Penalties – This link is to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s resources pertaining to specific federal drug charges and penalties for the offenses, including prison sentences and fines for possessing, trafficking and distributing controlled substances.

Utah Drug Courts – The following link is to information about the drug courts used in state courts throughout Utah. The website has the background of the drug courts, list of Utah drug courts, and frequently asked questions about the drug courts.

Narcotics Anonymous – Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, is a national non-profit organization created for those suffering from a drug addiction as a means to meet and support others recovering from drug addictions in order to stay drug-free. The website contains more information and where meetings are held in Salt Lake City, Utah.


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Levitt Legal, PLLC | Salt Lake City Drug Charge Defense Attorney

Contact Levitt Legal today for a consultation about your drug charge in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to hear the facts of your particular case, and help you find any possible defenses or exceptions to the charges against you. Contact Darren Levitt of Levitt Legal at (801) 531-1030 for a consultation about your drug offense in Salt Lake County and the surrounding counties, including Box Elder, Toole, Utah, Cache, Weber, Summit, Davis and Wasatch Counties in Utah.

Levitt Legal - Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah
266 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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The information provided on this site is for general information purposes only. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your own individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Use of this website or submission of an online form, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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