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266 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Salt Lake Marijuana Possession Attorney

Possession of Marijuana

The state of Utah has some of the nation's strictest rules regarding controlled substances, including marijuana. This is in spite of the widespread acceptance of the drug across the nation and the increasing adoption of medical marijuana and decriminalization by other states. The consequences for marijuana possession arrest can be dire, including hefty fines and jail time. With the widespread use of criminal background checks, this can also have unfortunate effects on employment and housing opportunities.

Salt Lake City Possession of Marijuana Defense Attorney

As a Salt Lake City marijuana defense attorney, Darren M. Levitt has worked hard to protect the futures of men, women, and youth charged with possession of marijuana. Darren M. Levitt is also an active member of the NORML Legal Committee, the nation's foremost marijuana law reform advocacy group. He is dedicated to reforming the current state and federal laws related to marijuana. Until these changes can be accomplished, he passionately defends clients in marijuana related cases.

To discuss your legal options with defense attorney Darren M. Levitt, call 801-455-1743 or send an online message. Your initial consultation is free and confidential. During this time, Darren M. Levitt will help you understand the charges you face and your most favorable defense strategies. The details you provide may also reveal constitutional right violations and failures in investigation procedure that can be used to your benefit. Contact Levitt Legal today to learn more.

Utah Possession of Marijuana Information Center

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Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Utah

Under Utah Code § 58-37-8, the penalties for marijuana possession include:

  • Class B Misdemeanor for first or second possession of marijuana offenses;

  • Class A misdemeanor for third possession of marijuana offenses;

  • Third-Degree Felony for fourth or subsequent marijuana possession offenses; and

  • Second-Degree Felony for possession of 100 pounds or more of marijuana.

The degree penalty may also be increased if the offense occurred in a "drug-free zone" or outside of a state or federal correctional facility.

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Utah's Sentencing for Possession of Marijuana

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you entirely avoid or minimize the sentencing associated with possession of marijuana. The sentencing includes:

  • Class B Misdemeanor — Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000;

  • Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500;

  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000; or

  • Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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Burden of Proof in Utah Marijuana Cases

Utah Code § 58-37-15 addresses the burden of proof responsibility in controlled substance related cases. Under this Section:

  • It isn't necessary for Utah to negate any exemption or exception in the Controlled Substance Act in complaint, information, indictment, pleading, trial, hearing, or proceeding. The burden of proof in such instances is on the person claiming the benefit of such an exception
  • In absence of proof that a person is the authorized holder of a license, registration, or prescription, he or she is presumed not to be the holder of the license, registration or prescription.
  • Authorized state and federal officers who are engage in enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act are not liable under any municipal ordinance or regulation related to controlled substances.

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Schedules of Controlled Substances Under Utah Code § 58-37-4

Controlled substances are categorized under different schedules. These groupings reflect the severity of the penalties of drug use for each respective category. Marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I drug, alongside other drugs such as morphine.

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Related Definitions under Utah Code § 58-37-2

Utah Code § 58-37-2 lays out various definitions related to the state Controlled Substance Act. Those related to possession of marijuana include:

  • "Consumption" refers to the ingestion of a controlled substance into a person's body or possessing any measureable amount of the controlled substance in the person's body. However, it does not include the metabolite of a controlled substance.
  • "Controlled substance" refers to a drug or substance:
    • Included in Schedules I, II, III, IV or V of Section 58-37-4 of Utah Code;
    • Included in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or V of the federal Controlled Substances Act, Title II, P.L. 91-513;
    • However, it does not include terms defined in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, drugs intended for lawful medical use, dietary supplements, or those that are not otherwise regulated by law.
  • "Conviction" refers to a determination of guilt by verdict from jury or bench. It also includes please of guilty or no contest for criminal offenses under state and federal law.
  • "Marijuana" refers to all species and parts of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not. It also includes the seeds, resin, and derived compounds, or preparation. The definition does not include mature cannabis stalks, fiber, oil, or cake made from the plant's seeds. It does include equivalent substances to cannabis or any other species of cannabis which are chemically indistinguishable and pharmacologically active.
  • "Possession" or "use" refers to any joint or individual ownership, control, occupancy, holding, retaining, belonging, maintaining, or the application, inhalation, swallowing, injection or consumption, as distinguished from distribution of controlled substances.
    To show that a person has possession of a controlled substance, it isn't required to show that he or she individually possessed or used the controlled substance. It's enough to show that the person jointly participated with one or more other people in the use, possession or control of any substance with the knowledge that the activity was occurring, or the controlled substance is found in a place or circumstances where the person had the ability and intent to exercise dominion and control over it.

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Levitt Legal, PLLC | Utah Marijuana Possession Defense Lawyer

Call 801-455-1743 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your alleged possession of marijuana offense. There are many tactics that a knowledgeable defense attorney can use to help eliminate the charges or reduce the penalties for a marijuana related offense. Levitt Legal can help you through this difficult and often-times confusing process. The Salt Lake City based criminal defense firm also represents clients in Park City, Layton, Morgan, and the surrounding communities.

Levitt Legal - Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah
266 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
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801-455-1743 (phone)

801-355-8658 (fax)

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.

The hiring of a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements, informational videos, a blog, or an internet website. Before you decide which attorney to hire for your case, ask us to send you free additional written information about our qualifications and experience.
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