Is Drug Distribution Considered To Be A Felony In Utah?
In Utah the classification of ‘felony’ depends on the type of drug involved and whether the convicted distributor is a known repeat offender—state and federal law will make this determination. Under federal law there is a separation of controlled substances that classifies them into many different categories based on specific characteristics. State law then prohibits the distribution and also determines the appropriate criminal classification, as well as the range of potential penalties that an offender may receive. It is important to note that Salt Lake City is subject to all the same controlled substances laws as the rest of the state of Utah.
Which Offenses Are Classified As Drug Distribution Felonies In Utah?
A felony is a crime that could possibly result in a year, or more, of imprisonment or capital punishment. A misdemeanor is a crime that is typically punishable by one year or less of imprisonment, or one that could result in alternative punishments such as probation and/or possible fines. The classification of felony or misdemeanor usually has a direct correlation with how the existing federal laws classify the particular substance in a case, and whether the individual has been convicted of this kind of offense previously.
In Utah, the Utah Controlled Substances Act (UCSA) regulates the penalties for controlled substance convictions. Utah makes the distinction between the various category classifications of capital, first degree, second degree, and third-degree felonies, and also between Class A, Class B, and Class C misdemeanors.
The current UCSA guidelines specifically prohibit the “knowing and intentional” manufacture, production, dispensing or distribution of controlled or counterfeit substances. In order for a conviction to be handed down for a controlled substances crime, the individual must ‘know or reasonably should know’ that she or he is distributing or dispensing the controlled substance and she or he must also intend to distribute that substance. Therefore a reasonable belief that the substance distributed is not in fact illegal may be insufficient to find the defendant guilty.
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), on the federal level, regulates all controlled substances. The recorded legislation currently divides all controlled substances into five distinct and separate categories known as ‘schedules.’ To fully understand the penalties under the UCSA one must have a general knowledge of these federal classifications, or ‘schedules.’
An Overview Of The Drug Schedules In Utah
Substances that are considered to have a high probability for abuse, have no currently accepted use in medical treatment, and/or cannot be made safe enough for use, or have not yet been made safe enough for use in medical treatment are considered to be Schedule 1 drugs. Schedule I offenses usually will carry harsher penalties, more severe than drugs on the other federal schedules. Subsequent schedules carry less severe penalties in a descending order based upon the severity of the controlled substances.
The Schedule II substances also have a high probability for abuse, but do have an accepted use in medical treatment with or without critical restrictions, and/or may possibly cause severe dependence if they are abused.
The Schedule III substances have a lower probability for abuse than Schedule I and II. They have an accepted use in some medical treatments, and/or may cause low to perhaps medium dependence if they are abused.
Schedule IV substances have a lower probability for abuse than any of the first three schedules listed above. Schedule IV substances do have an accepted use in medical treatment, and/or may cause a low dependence if they are abused.
Schedule V substances have a lower probability for abuse than all the other schedules. They also have an accepted use in some medical treatments, and/or may cause a low physical and/or possible psychological dependence if they are abused.
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