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Paying a High Price for Getting High: Criminal Defense Attorney Tip of the Week

By February 28, 2013Criminal Defense

What Does Not Work: Claiming that the excruciating pain from your inoperable cancer can only be helped by smoking a little marijuana — “This is medical marijuana, man — and if I lose my drivers license, how will I will I get to my chemo appointments? I probably do not have that long to live, anyway.”

What Works: Possession of marijuana is illegal in Utah, even if it was medically prescribed in another state. In 2011, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff voiced hissupport for making medical marijuana legal after undergoing treatment for colon cancer. But it is doubtful that the issue will gain legislative traction anytime soon.

Utah has some of the strictest drug laws and penalties in the nation. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana can mean a six-month jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, and six-month suspension of your drivers license. Possession of paraphernalia such as a pipe or bong is also illegal, and you can be charged if a blood or urine test reveals THC metabolites, which can remain in your system for more than a week after use. Even if you have never bought or used marijuana, you can be charged withconstructive possession if you were present when authorities discovered the drug in a car or residence.

If you are arrested for marijuana possession, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Intermountain Legal has effectively used several defense strategies to get charges reduced and make sure the charges are not in your permanent record.

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