Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyers / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our criminal defense team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Can I be charged if a passenger in my car has drugs in his or her possession?

Most drug charges in Utah are based on drugs or paraphernalia found in the immediate possession of the defendant. But in some cases, a person may be charged with drugs found in the possession of another person. Passengers in a vehicle may leave drugs or paraphernalia in the car that then become the basis of a constructive possession drug charge against the driver. In some cases, drugs found in the immedate possession of a passenger could also be attributed to the driver under principles of "joint" or "group" possesion.

If you are facing drug possession or other criminal charges in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital to a successful outcome in your case. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard has spent his carreer defending the rights of individuals who have been prosecuted for criminal charges. Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

Constructive Possession in Utah Drug Cases

Utah criminal law recognizes two kinds of drug possession: actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession is a relatively straightforward concept, and typically involves cases where drugs or paraphernalia are found in a person's pocket, purse, wallet, etc. A charge under constructive possession principles can be more complex, and may involve a scenario where drugs or paraphernalia found in one person's possession or unattended are attributed to another person.

Utah Drug Paraphernalia Defense LawyerA constructive possession charge can be pursued under Utah law even if there is no evidence that the defendant ever touched the drugs. In defining the term "possession" in context of a controlled substance case, Utah Code 58-37-2 addresses the concept of constructive possession. Under this statute, a constructive possession charge can be established if the "controlled substance is found in a place or under circumstances indicating that the [defendant] had the ability and the intent to exercise dominion and control over it."

Common scenarios leading to constructive possession charges could include drugs found under a vehicle seat or in a glove box. In some cases, the driver may know about the drugs and also have the ability and intent to exercise control over the drugs. In such cases, the driver would be guilty under a constructive possession theory. But in other cases, the drugs may have been left behind by a former passenger who is no longer in the vehicle, or even hidden by a passenger who realized that police might be conducting a search. In these cases, a driver might not even know that the drugs were present. Unless police and prosecutors can prove that the driver knew the drugs were present, and also had the intent and ability to exercise control over the drugs, a constructive possession case is not supported.

Group Possession and Joint Possession

In some cases, both the driver and a passenger may face drug possession charges under the concept of "joint" or "group" possession. The definition of "possession" under Utah Code 58-37-2 explicitly includes joint and group possession of drugs. So long as a prosecutor can establish that each individual in the group had both teh intent and the ability to exercies control or dominion over the drugs, then each individual can be charged with possession.

Finding a Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Utah Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance, an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.  Salt Lake criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has a track record that speaks for itself.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.

RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS
Can I be charged with possession just for failing a drug test in Utah?
Can I be charged with drug possession if someone else took the blame?
Can I be charged with marijuana possession if all of the marijuana has been used?


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you Utah criminal case will be one of the most important decision you make. Before hiring any lawyer, there are a number of important factors to consider. The person you select as your criminal defense attorney will be responsible to defend your case and protect your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

In Utah, even a "minor" misdemeanor conviction carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. A felony conviction carries the potential of lengthy prison terms and the various consequences that come with being labeled as a convicted felon. Never plead guilty without first finding out....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.