In the United States, many states have significantly reformed their marijuana laws—states like Colorado, California, and Washington. Utah has not been as forward thinking with their marijuana laws, both in terms of medicinal and recreational use.
Utah Marijuana Penalties
If you are arrested in Salt Lake City for marijuana possession, you are looking at some significant penalties. If you are caught with less than one ounce of marijuana, you are looking at up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Additionally, possession of paraphernalia (a tobacco pipe that looks like a bong, for example) is subject to the same penalties.
Utah is also very aggressive with the “constructive possession” doctrine. If you are riding in a vehicle and the driver has marijuana in the glove compartment, you can still be charged with possession even if you didn’t know or physically possess the substance.
Because the police may charge a car load of people with marijuana possession for something found in one person’s backpack or under one person’s seat, it’s important to fight the charges to make sure you are not convicted of the offense. Remember a charge is not a conviction. However, Utah law does give the defendant some leeway here and you are always presumed innocent. Let your lawyer still fight this charge.
Significant Utah Marijuana Cases
A recent case in Utah, State v. Anderson, hinged on 4th Amendment rights involving search and seizure. The case hinged on whether or not deputies executed a lawful seizure of Anderson during a traffic stop. No illegal substances were found during a blood draw, but deputies did find drugs in the car.
While the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Utah, the 4th Amendment is going to be a major defense that can be used in any marijuana trial.
Utah Metabolite DUI
Another complication with living in Utah and with marijuana is that even if a trace amount is found in your blood, you can be charged with a metabolite DUI. Defending against a metabolite DUI can hinge upon several circumstances:
- Did the appropriate person draw your blood?
- Was the vial of blood stored and transported properly?
- Did investigators accurately catalog and document evidence?
In addition, it’s important to understand the science behind the marijuana impairment tests. The amount of THC in the driver’s system is critical. Was it an inactive, low level amount of THC metabolite or was the driver actually high and under the influence of marijuana (active THC).
Having a Salt Lake City Marijuana Lawyer On Your Side
Simply pleading guilty resolves the case, but not to the benefit of a defendant. Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Clayton Simms follows drug cases in Utah. Finding the best lawyer for your criminal case is important. Choosing a top rated criminal lawyer is important and he could:
- Possibly get a plea in abeyance in your case.
- Reduce the possibility if jail time and fine amount in your case.
- Win your case at trial