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Utah Amends Sex Offender Registry

Representative Craig Hall saw eight of the 10 bills he was the chief sponsor on pass during the 2017 General Legislative Session in Utah. One success was the passage of House Bill (HB) 380, which Governor Gary Herbert signed on March 28. Hall’s website claims that individuals are required to register as sex offenders for 10 years or life (depending on the severity of the crime), but “defense attorneys and prosecutors have improperly made plea deals that have let some individuals be removed from the registry before their time is up.” “This bill makes clear that such agreements between prosecutors and defense attorneys… Read More →

Increased Penalties for HIV/AIDS Sex Offenders in Utah

On March 28, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill (HB) 369, adding a new section to the sentencing part of the punishments chapter of the Utah Code. HB 369 enacts Utah Code § 76-3-203.12, “Enhanced penalty for sexual offenses committed by a person with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS), hepatitis B, or hepatitis C.” The new statute states that a person convicted of a sexual offense described in Chapter 5, Part 4, Sexual Offenses, is subject to an enhanced penalty if at the time of the sexual offense the person was infected with HIV, AIDS, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C… Read More →

Utah Makes Rape Kit Testing Mandatory

Rape kits (also known as sexual assault forensic exams) frequently contain DNA evidence that can help police arrest and prosecutors convict the alleged offenders who commit sex crimes. Despite the hundreds of thousands of victims who have undergone the incredibly invasive tests that are part of rape kits, numerous such kits have been backlogged and remain untested in jurisdictions throughout the country. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported on March 25 that Utah’s statewide working group for sexual assault kits found an estimated 2,750 untested rape kits statewide in 2014. Under a new bill signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert… Read More →

Utah Adds Synthetic Drugs To Controlled Substances

Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill (HB) 110 on March 21, resulting in new additions to list of controlled substances under the Utah Controlled Substances Act. HB 110 added the following to the list of controlled substances under Schedule I: 3,4-dichloro-N-[2-(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl]-N-methylbenzamide (also known as U-47700, Pink, Pinky, or U4); Acetyl fentanyl: (N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide); Butyryl fentanyl: N-(1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperidinyl)-N-phenylbutyramide; and Furanyl fentanyl: N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)piperidin-4-yl]furan-2-carboxamide. The bill also made the following substances, their analogs, homologs, and synthetic equivalents listed controlled substances: ADB-CHMINACA: N-[(2S)-1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1-oxobutan-2-yl]-1-(cyclohexylmethyl)indazole-3-carboxamide; ADB-FUBINACA: (N-(1-amino-3,3-dimethyl-1oxobutan-2-yl)-1-(4-fluorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-caboxamide); and FUB-AMB; methyl (1-(4-fluorobenzyl)-1H-indazole-3-carbonyl)valinate. While the names of many of these controlled substances are completely foreign to most average people, all of the… Read More →

Threatening Certain People In Utah Can Be Assault

On March 17, Governor Gary Herbert signed Senate Bill (SB) 235, which modified assault offenses against certain persons to include a threat of violence. Utah statutes for assault against school employees, assault against peace officer or a military servicemember in uniform, and assault against health care provider and emergency medical service worker were amended such that an alleged offender now commits those offenses if he or she commits an assault or threat of violence against those protected classes. Utah Code § 76-5-102(1) defines an assault as “an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another” or “an act, committed… Read More →

Utah Passes Permanent Continuous Protective Orders

When introducing House Bill (HB) 248 in February, Representative LaVar Christensen said that the bill which would allow victims of domestic violence to seek permanent protective orders (commonly referred to as restraining orders) from individuals convicted of domestic violence would correct a “situation of immense risk of future harm that otherwise still exists.” “No victim should have to relive it all over again, have to go get an attorney, have to go file some type of legal action,” Christensen said, according to the Daily Herald. “There should be inherent in the criminal sentencing, and the criminal conviction, a provision for ongoing protection… Read More →

New Gun Restrictions For Domestic Abusers In Utah

“The state needs to be able to protect people from danger,” Representative Brian King said in a January 27 press release announcing his intention to House Bill (HB) 206, which amends provisions relating to certain weapons restrictions relating to domestic violence by expanding the scope of a Category II restricted person. “This bill puts teeth into an already existing federal law. We need to be able to enforce these laws. Domestic violence accounts for nearly one-third of all homicides in Utah. This includes children. That is unacceptable.” Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 206 on March 23, and the bill amends Utah… Read More →

Utah Legalizes Medical Marijuana Research

In 2014, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill (HB) 105, the Utah Industrial Hemp Research Act and Hemp Extract Registration Act. The bill—which exempted individuals with intractable epilepsy who use or possess extract from a cannabis plant, or a mixture or preparation containing cannabis plant material, that is composed of less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight, is composed of at least 15 percent cannabidiol (CBD) by weight, and contains no other psychoactive substance from the penalties related to possession or use of the hemp extract under the Controlled Substances Act—was named Charlee’s Law in honor of Charlee Nelson,… Read More →

Utah Sees Major Drug Busts

KSL.com reported on March 30 that Salt Lake City police officers seized almost 330,000 doses of drugs in 2016, an astonishing 82 percent increase from the previous year. An officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department told KSL, “We’ve got people coming from not just around the valley, but all over the adjoining counties because it’s so easy to buy dope here.” Dope can be slang for just about any illegal drug. It seems as though Utah has had no shortage of major arrests involving controlled substances in recent months. On March 23, the Desert News reported that Utah… Read More →

Utah Becomes First State To Lower BAC Limit To 0.05

Utah was the first state to lower the legal limit for blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) when driving from 0.10 to 0.08 in 1983, so perhaps it is not terribly surprising that the Beehive State appears poised to become the first state to once again further lower the limits. On March 23, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill (HB) 155, effectively reducing the BAC limits for driving under the influence (DUI) and other criminal offenses from 0.08 to 0.05. The move comes nearly four years after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that the states reduce the allowable BAC to 0.05.… Read More →