Intermountain Legal is a criminal defense practice serving Salt Lake City and the State of Utah. Our attorneys have experience representing clients across a range of drug use matters, including possession of marijuana.
Facing Marijuana Possession Charges in Utah
Utah law states that it is illegal for a person to “knowingly and intentionally” possess any controlled substance unless it is through a lawful medical prescription. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, and use of medical marijuana is still criminalized in Utah. Drug possession can also include what is called “constructive possession,” which usually happens when a person has an illegal substance in a car or home, and other people in the car or home know about it and do not specifically disclaim it. In these cases, a person can be charged with marijuana possession even if he or she never bought, used, or actually possessed the drug.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Although classified as a Schedule I drug, marijuana is treated differently than other drugs in this category. Rather than automatically being classified as a felony, possession of marijuana may be charged as a misdemeanor if the amount is less than one pound and not intended for sale or distribution. This does not mean, however, that the potential consequences of a marijuana possession charge are not severe.
Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is classified as a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. For possession of one ounce or more, the charge becomes a class A misdemeanor, and the penalty increases to up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. Amounts of one pound or more are classified as a third degree felony, carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Possession of greater than 100 pounds is classified as a second degree felony punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Along with stiff criminal penalties, there are various collateral consequences that may result from the conviction going onto your criminal record, such as:
- Losing your job or not getting a job or promotion because of a background check
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Loss of student financial aid
- Loss of reputation or community responsibilities
- Loss of hunting license and right to own a gun
- Loss of ability to volunteer at certain non-profit agencies
With experienced defense representation on your side, you increase the likelihood of avoiding the serious ramifications of a marijuana possession conviction. Our attorneys have handled thousands of drug possession cases with broad success. If the best strategy is to negotiate to reduce the charges or arrange for the conviction to stay off your record, we will help you get the best deal. If it is better to fight the case in court, we will represent you passionately and skillfully.
Seek Experienced, Intelligent Defense Representation
If you or someone you love has been arrested for marijuana possession, you need effective criminal defense representation to protect your rights and your future. Contact Intermountain Legal today for a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney.