Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute

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Utah's drug possession with intent to distribute laws punish the sale, transport, and unlawful importation of controlled narcotics. While these rules are intended to punish criminals, law enforcement agents frequently go after personal users.

Even if there is no other evidence of distribution, you could be charged with intent to sell or distribute if you possess a dose of a restricted drug that Utah believes overreaches the amount one individual can ingest.

The dose of narcotics that advances the allegation from possession to distribution is entirely up to law enforcement or the prosecution.

What Are the Utah Controlled Substances?

Schedules are drug classifications used by the state of Utah. Schedule severity varies, with lower schedule numbers holding more dangerous medications. Below, we outline each schedule and the medicines that may be present.

  • Schedule I: This drug list contains the most harmful compounds. Ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, and marijuana are among the narcotics on this list.
  • Schedule II: Drugs on this schedule are less overused, but they still pose a significant risk. This list includes codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and other opiate derivatives.
  • Schedule III: Schedule III substances are less misused than those on Schedules I and II, but they are more regularly utilized for medicinal purposes. This list includes medicines such as testosterone and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV: This list focuses on the intake of chemicals and compounds such as Ambien and Xanax.
  • Schedule V: The final schedule contains the least harmful chemicals, which are largely medically used medications. Medicines containing trace quantities of codeine or opium, for example, are included here.

These schedules assist in describing how likely a drug is to be abused, but the amount of a substance found may change the facts of a drug-related offense.

Marijuana, for example, is a Schedule I substance in Utah, but the amount in possession and the number of times the offense is committed might affect the punishment.

Penalties for Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possessing a substance to sell or distribute is normally a 2nd-degree felony in Utah, with a potential prison sentence of 1-15 years and a fine of up to $10k.

Marijuana possession to sell or distribute is an exception, and it is classified as a 3rd-degree felony penalized with up to 5 years in jail and up to $5k in penalties.

Selling in the company of a juvenile or 1,000 ft from a public park, recreation center, amusement park, school, church, synagogue, sports stadium, or movie theater raises the crime level.

The law office of Douglas D. Terry & Associates has extensive expertise defending drug distribution offenses and will toil fearlessly to secure a favorable result for you.

Sometimes, we can work with the prosecutor to lessen the distribution conviction to a minor possession charge.

Violations of the arrest procedure, such as illegal seizures and searches, may result in the dismissal of charges against you.

Which Possession Offenses in Utah Are Felonies?

Drug possession offenses in Utah vary depending on the circumstances.

For starters, the substance you possess alters the severity of the crime in several cases. More dangerous drugs are subject to harsher punishments.

Next, the amount of substance in your possession significantly impacts the charges.

Finally, you could encounter additional penalties based on how you possessed the substances (where you were or what you intended to do with them).

Utah Code 58-37-8 addresses drug offenses. The general framework of the law is to specify specific violations with enhanced punishments, then penalize the other offenses in the same standard manner.

Possession of Schedule I or II narcotics is considered a felony. However, possessing other drugs (including marijuana) is considered a misdemeanor.

The quantity of marijuana possessed is an essential aspect of marijuana possession.

States have responded to the growing drive for marijuana legalization for medical and recreational intents by decreasing marijuana possession penalties.

Even though marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance by the federal government, possessing it is only felonious if you have 100 pounds or more.

Earlier rules made possessing more than a pound of marijuana a crime; however, any amount less than 100 lbs of marijuana is now a misdemeanor.

One of the most important elements is the way you possess the drug. There's a significant difference between having drugs for private use and having them with the aim of selling them.

Possession with the intent to sell is a felony for all narcotics except those in Schedule V.

It also matters where you have the substances. Many offenses are elevated to felonies if they occur in specific places. This includes narcotics:

  • Found on public/private school grounds (between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.);
  • On the grounds of a daycare or preschool
  • In a public park, theme park, arcade, or recreation center;
  • In a church or other place of worship; or
  • In an open library

Other conditions make it criminal to perpetrate drug possession or use offenses with inmates or within 100 ft of churches, schools, and other locations listed above.

If you are already convicted of a felony, a judge may enhance your sentence.

Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute vs. Simple Drug Possession

Unless the substance is a Schedule V drug, possession with intent to deliver is always a felony.

Simple possession—that is, possession for your private use—is only a felony if you have more than 100 lbs of marijuana, a Schedule I or II substance, or specific drugs that the government controls.

This means that many prescription medication charges and marijuana possession charges are misdemeanors if the substances are for private use only.

However, whether the narcotics are for personal use or for sale, schedule I and II substances like cocaine and heroin are always felonies.

Many simple possession crimes are elevated to felonies for possession with intent to distribute if authorities can confirm that the drugs you possessed were intended for sale or that you planned to provide them to another person (with or without cash changing hands).

Officers and prosecutors typically establish your intent to sell by presenting proof that you:

  • Possessed large amounts of drugs;
  • Had individual doses packaged for sale;
  • Had large amounts of cash with the drugs;
  • Possessed scales or other instruments for weighing and splitting substances;

Seek Experienced, Knowledgeable Defense Counsel

Suppose you are charged with intent to distribute drugs, drug dealing, or selling.

In that case, you will need strong defense representation to fight the charges and lower the punishment of a drug-related arrest.

For a free initial consultation to discuss your case and analyze your alternatives, contact the law office of Douglas D. Terry & Associates.

Categories: Drug Offenses