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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Colorado Marijuana

What are the consequences for Colorado residents arrested in Utah on marijuana-related criminal charges?

Salt Lake City, Utah - As of January 1, 2014, Colorado has provided legal means to buy, sell, and possess marijuana within the state of Colorado. This applies not just to medical marijuana, but also to marijuana intended for recreational use. While Colorado has changed its laws, Utah laws regarding marijuana remain enforceable in Utah. Colorado residents traveling through or visiting Utah may find themselves facing criminal charges for marijuana-related charges. If you have been arrested, cited, or charged with a crime in Utah, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can give you the best chance at a positive outcome in your case.  Salt Lake attorney Stephen Howard has a track record of achieving real results for his clients.

Salt Lake Marijuana Defense LawyerThe legalization of marijuana in Colorado has not changed Utah's criminal statutes relating to marijuana.  Possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana-related drug paraphernalia, driving while under the influence of marijuana, or driving with a measurable amount of the drug metabolite are among the more common criminal charges filed against Colorado residents in Utah. Whether the marijuana is used recreationally or for medical purposes, Utah law still provides significant misdemeanor or felony penalties for these charges.

Marijuana Possession in Utah

Possession of marijuana in Utah is a criminal offense. Colorado residents can find themselves facing criminal charges if they are found to be in possession of marijuana in Utah. Even with a valid prescription from a doctor, or proof that the marijuana was purchased in Colorado, Utah law still provides criminal penalties for possession of marijuana. At its lowest level, Utah criminal statutes classify marijuana possession as a class B misdemeanor. Depending on the amount of marijuana involved and whether the offense occurs within a drug-free zone, criminal charges can be elevated to the felony level.

Drug Paraphernalia in Utah

Marijuana-related drug paraphernalia under Utah law can include pipes, rolling papers, grinders, scales, or even simply the packaging material used to contain the marijuana. Because a container used to hold marijuana can be considered drug paraphernalia, marijuana possession charges are often accompanied by a drug paraphernalia charge.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Utah DUI laws include penalties for individuals driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to an degree that the individual is not able to safely operate the vehicle. Utah law does not make a distinction between lawfully prescribed medications and illegal drugs if the substance causes a driver to be unable to safely operate the vehicle. Individuals who use marijuana or other medications or drugs legal in Colorado may themselves facing DUI charges in Utah if the drugs or medications cause an impairment of their ability to drive safely.

DUI charges in Utah begin at the misdemeanor level for both alcohol or marijuana. In certain circumstances, the charge can be enhanced to the felony level. In either case, a Utah DUI conviction can carry significant consequences.

Driving with Measurable Marijuana Metabolite

Even if a person's use of marijuana is limited or far enough in the past that it does not cause any impairment of the person's ability to safely drive, Utah law still provides criminal penalties against a person who operates a vehicle with even a small amount of detectable marijuana drug metabolite in his or her system. If a blood or urine test shows positive for THC metabolite, a person may be charged criminally. This can be particularly problematic for Colorado residents who find themselves driving through Utah. Because of the length of time that marijuana metabolite can remain detectable in a person's blood or urine, a Colorado resident driving through Utah could face criminal charges days or even weeks after using marijuana. This criminal charge does not require any proof that the marijuana use occurred in Utah. Thus, a Colorado resident who uses marijuana legally in Colorado then days later drives through Utah in an unimpaired state could still be charged criminally.

A person charged with driving with THC metabolite in their system should look at the statute establishing this offense to see if it may provide a possible defense strategy. The statute provides an affirmative defense if a defendant presents evidence that the marijuana was consumed legally. For a Colorado resident who has used marijuana only in Colorado and not in Utah, this affirmative defense could allow a jury to return a not-guilty verdict for a DUI/Metabolite charge. While Utah law does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states, and does not allow residents from other states to bring marijuana through Utah, marijuana which was legally ingested in another state should fit the elements of this affirmative defense.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah

Salt Lake Criminal AttorneyIf you have been cited, arrested, received a summons, or had a warrant issued against you in a Utah criminal case, it is important to contact an experienced Utah criminal attorney. It may be tempting to treat this kind of charge as insignificant, but the consequences of a conviction can be serious.

Serving clients throughout Utah, Stephen Howard has successfully defended marijuana cases for residents of Colorado and other states who have been charged in Utah, often in ways that have not required his clients to return to Utah for court. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation. See what the right attorney can do for you.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
Can I still be charged with drug possession if all of the drugs have been consumed?
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Can I say no 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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