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 the right attorney 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

Utah Drug Defense Attorney - Drug Sentences

** Please note that laws governing controlled substances and drug offenses in Utah have changed. Most simple possession charges were reduced to the misdemeanor level based on amendments passed in 2016 by the Utah Legislature. But felony possession charges are still possible in cases involving enhancements for prior convictions or for drug-free zone violations. For the best and most current information on defending drug charges in Utah, contact us today.**

How much time can a person expect to spend in prison on a drug possession case in Utah?

The sentence a criminal court will impose for a drug charge in Utah can depend on a number of factors. Prison time is not mandatory in Utah drug cases. Instead, the court has a range of possible sentencing options that can include probation, fines, jail time, or prison. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help give you the best chance of avoiding prison time and achieving a successful outcome in your case.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has successfully defended clients facing drug charges ranging from drug possession to first-degree felony drug distribution charges. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Indeterminate Sentencing in Utah Drug Cases

In the Utah criminal court system, when imposing a prison sentence in a felony case, a judge orders an indeterminate term. Rather than setting an exact length a prison sentence, Utah's indeterminate sentencing system provides a range of possible time. The Board of Pardons and Parole then determines how much of that time a defendant will actually serve.

A third-degree felony is punishable with a prison term ranging between zero and five years. A second-degree felony carries a possible 1-15 year prison term. First-degree felony charges are punishable with a potential of up to life in prison.

In Utah misdemeanor drug cases, a judge has the option of imposing a fixed-length jail sentence. Depending on the level of the offense, a misdemeanor charge can carry a potential of up to a year in jail.

Offense Levels for Drug Crimes in Utah

Drug crimes in Utah include possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, drug distribution, and possession with the intent to distribute. Drug paraphernalia charges in Utah are typically filed as class B misdemeanors. For possession or distribution charges, the level of the offense can depend on which drug is involved.

Possession of marijuana (less than one ounce) begins at the class B misdemeanor level. Marijuana distribution or possession with the intent to distribute typically starts at the third-degree felony level.

Most other common street drugs (including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine) as well as many commonly-abused prescription medications begin at the third-degree felony level. Possession with the intent to distribute or distribution of these drugs begin at the second-degree felony level.

Enhancements for drug charges in Utah can increase the level of a charge by one step. Enhancements commonly charged in Utah include the drug free zone enhancement, possession within a correctional facility, and an enhancement for prior convictions.

Probation in Utah Drug Cases

For a felony drug crime in Utah, the court may impose a prison sentence. But the court may also suspend the prison term and place the defendant on probation. When placing a person on probation in a felony case in Utah, a court may may require that the defendant serve a period of time, not to exceed one year, in a county jail. (See Utah Code 77-18-1(8).) A court may also require drug testing, a substance abuse evaluation, and participation in appropriate drug treatment.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah

If you are facing prosecution for a drug crime in Utah, your best step is to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients' rights in drug cases ranging from first degree felony distribution to misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Contact us today to see how we can help you.


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 allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • 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.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
  • Recent Posts
  • What Constitutes Drug Parpahernalia in Utah How is drug paraphernalia defined in Utah? - The definition of drug paraphernalia under the Utah criminal code looks at both the nature of the object and also the intended use of the object in question. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your Utah criminal case may be the single most important decision you make. The courtroom can be a hostile place. Prosecutors receive extensive training on legal and tactical issues. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical to defending your case and protecting 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.