Drug Possession, not Choking, Real Cause of Fleeing Police

drug possession involved in high speed chase

Photo: Justin Herald

On Saturday, Nov. 29, a high-speed chase ended at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. The driver claimed his passenger was choking, but the police weren’t buying it. He was charged with failing to stop for an officer, drug possession, and other related charges.

Everybody has a Story

Police must grow weary of all the stories people try to concoct when they are apprehended. In the case of William Harry Doutis Jr., 53, when he finally pulled over at the hospital after a high-speed chase on I-15 that exceeded speeds of 97 m.p.h., he told officers that he was going that fast because his passenger was choking.

According to a report from KSL News, after the passenger filled out a voluntary statement for police saying that he was never choking and that Doutis had just told him to lie to the police, Doutis admitted to smoking marijuana. However, he said he couldn’t perform the field sobriety test because of “numerous problems that prevented him from taking the tests.”

Other physical symptoms led police to run other tests on Doutis which came back positive for methamphetamines. He was booked into the Utah County Jail for failure to stop for an officer, obstruction of justice, drug possession, driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license.

Drug Possession Just One of His Worries

Given Doutis’ lengthy criminal history, including two incarcerations at the Utah State Prison, it’s not looking good for his defense. Of his numerous charges, drug possession is one of the more common charges Utahns may encounter and carries a wide range of potential penalties.

According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Section (2) “Prohibited acts – B,” it is unlawful for any person to possess or use a controlled substance, “unless it was obtained under a valid prescription or order.” If Doutis was charged for the marijuana, that particular drug possession charge ranges from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony based on the amount in the suspect’s possession. The class B misdemeanor is for less than an ounce, then the charges jump from one ounce to one pound, one pound to one hundred pounds, and over one hundred pounds, the second degree felony.

The class B misdemeanor marijuana possession, where most casual users fall, carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Remember the key is “up to.” Don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. If you have been charged with marijuana possession, contact an experienced criminal justice attorney who is looking out for your best interests.

Police Suspect BYU Student of Manufacturing Drugs

BYU Student Manufacturing Drugs

Photo: Leyo/Wikimedia Commons

A small apartment fire near BYU led two roommates to contact the police after what they found in their other roommate’s room. The roommate had apparently been manufacturing drugs, specifically methamphetamine, in his room. The roommate is still being sought for questioning.

Breaking Bad at Brigham Young

According to a report from KSL News, the catalyst to the discovery that the roommate was manufacturing drugs was a fire in the suspect’s room on Thursday, Nov. 6. Two of the roommates helped the suspect, a student of Brigham Young University, put out the fire, one he claimed was started by accidentally spilling some rubbing alcohol. The suspect left later that night, stating he was going to visit a friend in the hospital.

One of the roommates who helped the suspect put out the fire, Nicholas Zarate, told police he was curious about the extent of the damage caused by the fire and picked the lock on the door. According to Provo Police Lt. Brandon Post, “At that point they saw suspicious glassware and chemicals and they contacted Riviera [Apartments] management.” Post called it a “fully operational” meth lab.

The Drug Enforcement Administration cleaned up the lab, and because the suspect had been manufacturing drugs, the Utah Department of Health quarantined the apartment. Post said the apartment would require an “extensive cleaning process” before it would be suitable for occupancy again.

The suspect never returned to the apartment. Police are treating him as a person of interest but as of Saturday had not issued a warrant for manufacturing drugs.

Manufacturing Drugs Punishment

According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Utah Code 58-37-8 “Prohibited Acts-Penalties,” manufacturing drugs in unlawful as “knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.”

The Act continues to list the penalties for manufacturing drugs, ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a first degree felony depending on the Schedule classification of the drug and whether it is a repeat offense. There are five Schedule classifications, with Schedule I being considered the most dangerous and addictive. Methamphetamines fall into Schedule II classification, which would result in a second degree felony, punishable by one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (first degree felony if a repeat offense).

Man Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Retirement Center

marijuana possession in a retirement home

Photo: Torben Hansen/Wikimedia Commons

In an episode of animated show “The Simpsons,” Homer is mistakenly admitted as a patient to his father’s retirement home. Once there, however, he realizes all the comfort care–and medication–the elderly get, and he decides to stay. However, it wasn’t a Simpson’s episode, or even a regular sitcom plot, when a man was arrested for marijuana possession and two other charges at Salt Lake assisted living facility.

Dude, Where’s my Grandma?

On Friday, Oct. 24, at approximately 7 p.m., supervisors of The Coventry, located at 6898 S. 2300 E., reported to police that they smelled marijuana coming from one of the rooms. According to a report from KSL News, when police approached the room, the odor grew stronger. Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Corbett Ford stated that when Keaton Yates, 24, stepped out of the room, he still actually had a smoldering marijuana joint in his pocket.

“He went up there either to get high with grandma or use grandma’s room,” Ford said, “and hope that nobody would call him out.”

Or maybe he was bringing grandma something else. In addition to marijuana possession, Yates also had oxycodone pills and a butterfly knife on his person. In addition, it turned out he had a warrant for failure to appear in court on a domestic violence assault charge.

He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for the marijuana possession, plus investigation of a weapon violation and prohibited acts with a controlled substance.

Marijuana Possession Still Illegal in Utah

Even though our neighbor to the east has decriminalized marijuana possession, it is still a crime in Utah. According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Section (2) “Prohibited acts – B,” it is unlawful for any person to possess or use a controlled substance, “unless it was obtained under a valid prescription or order.” Marijuana possession ranges from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony based on the amount in the suspect’s possession. In the case of Yates, it would be a class B misdemeanor because he had less than an ounce. The gradients then go from one ounce to one pound, one pound to one hundred pounds, and over one hundred pounds, the second degree felony.

The class B misdemeanor marijuana possession, where most casual users fall, carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Remember the key is “up to.” Don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. If you have been charged with marijuana possession, contact an experienced criminal justice attorney who is looking out for your best interests.