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Utah Criminal Attorney - Salt Lake Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Q: I was driving through Utah, and got pulled over for speeding. The police claim they found marijuana in my car. I was cited and arrested, but released. Now what do I do?

Salt Lake Marijuana Charges LawyerWith the legalization of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes in nearby states such as Colorado, California, and Arizona, it is becoming more common for out-of-state drivers passing through Utah to be arrested or cited for possession of marijuana. Typical cases often involve a scenario along the following lines:

1) a driver is pulled over for a minor traffic violation, such as speeding or failing to signal for a lane change;

2) the police officer states that he smells marijuana, and asks the driver if he/she has been smoking marijuana or has marijuana in the vehicle;

3) the officer asks for consent to search the vehicle, brings in a drug dog to sniff/search the vehicle, or searches the vehicle with or without consent of the driver;

4) the police officer finds marijuana, gives the driver a citation and instructs the driver to contact the local court, or arrests the driver who is then required to post bail before being released from jail.

There are many variations on this scenario. But the result is a criminal charge that must be dealt with. Unlike ordinary traffic tickets, a criminal charge for possession of marijuana cannot be resolved by merely forfeiting bail or paying a fine. Appearance in court, either in person, through an attorney, or both, will be required to resolve the case.

If you were given a misdemeanor citation, the citation will typically contain instructions to contact the court within 5 to 14 days of the issuance date of the citation. If you were arrested and posted bail, you may have been given a court date upon your release from jail. If you were not given a court date upon your release from jail, you should contact the court to find out when court will be scheduled.

The next step to take is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Together, you can begin working on developing a defense strategy designed to produce a successful outcome for your case.

Defending Marijuana Charges in Utah

A person charged with a crime is entitled to a trial by jury. A marijuana possession charge requires more than just evidence that marijuana was found by police. Constructive possession, knowledge, and intent can become critical evidentiary issues in a marijuana possession case, and may provide the basis for a viable defense at trial.

In some cases, a Fourth Amendment violation committed by police may provide a basis for a motion to suppress evidence. If a judge is convinced that evidence was obtained by police as a result of an unreasonable warrantless search or seizure, the court can order that such evidence be suppressed. A successful motion to suppress will sometimes result in a dismissal of the entire case.

Negotiations with the prosecutor can also be a critical part of a successful defense strategy for marijuana possession cases in Utah. In some cases, police will have done their jobs well and obtained the evidence needed to give the prosecutor a good chance of winning at trial. But such cases need not be hopeless. In many instances, by presenting mitigating information as well as exposing possible weaknesses in the prosecution case, a negotiated resolution can be reached that may result probation rather than jail time, or may even result ultimately in dismissal of the case.

The goal of a good defense strategy is to provide a client with the best options for dealing with the case. Formulating the best trial strategy while also negotiating the best possible offer for resolution can give a client better options to choose from.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Criminal Defense AttorneyWith a practice based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. His track record includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. He has successfully protected his clients' rights in drug cases ranging from misdemeanor marijuana possession to first-degree felony distribution.

If you are facing prosecution for marijuana possession or other criminal offenses in Utah, you need an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney on your side.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation with Stephen Howard.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
How does Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana affect people traveling through Utah?
What is the penalty for marijuana possession in Utah?
Can I refuse if police ask to search my car?


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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

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