Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney / Former Prosecutor
Call 801-449-1409. We'll fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

Utah Constructive Possession Attorney - Salt Lake Drug Lawyer

Utah laws on constructive possession can apply to cases of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and other criminal charges. Under Utah criminal law, constructive possession provides a way for a prosecutor to try to convict you for possession of something that you do not actually possess. But you are not guilty of a crime simply because police find drugs or a paraphernalia item in your car, home, etc. Principles of constructive possession also open the door to potential defenses to Utah drug charges. Having an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical.

Stephen Howard is an experienced criminal defense lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a track record of achieving not guilty verdicts and dismissals some of the most serious criminal charges on the books in Utah. He has also successfully negotiated pleas in abeyance and misdemeanor offers with probation for many serious felony charges. If you are facing prosecution in a Utah drug case that may involve constructive possession or other complex legal issues, Stephen Howard has the experience, determination, skill, and knowledge necessary to help you achieve the results you need.

Proof of Possession in Utah Drug Crimes Prosecutions

Most drug and drug-related criminal prosecutions in Utah require some proof of possession. Under Utah criminal law, the element of possession can be satisfied either by proof of actual possession, or proof of constructive possession. The penalties and consequences for a drug conviction are the same, whether the case involves actual possession or constructive possession.

Salt Lake Drug Crimes Defense LawyerThe concept of "actual" possession is relatively straightforward. For example, if a person found holding a balloon of heroin in his hand or stuffed in his pocket would likely be considered to be in actual possession of that heroin. (A possible exception to this may be a situation of so-called defense of "innocent" possession.)

The concept of "constructive" possession under Utah law is more complex. To prove constructive possession, a prosecutor must present proof that you had both the ability and the intent to exercise control over the item. The concept of intent in a constructive possession case includes both knowledge of the item's existence, and knowledge of the nature of the item. Consider the following example:

If a baggie of heroin were found sitting on the kitchen table in a person's apartment, a prosecuting attorney may try to argue that the person had constructive possession of the heroin. To meet the necessary burden of proof, the prosecutor would have to prove that the person knew of the presence of the drugs and knew what they were. The prosecutor would also have to prove that the person had the ability and intent to exercise control over them. In other words, the prosecutor would have to prove that the person knew what was in the baggie, and had the intent to do something with the drugs (e.g., use them, take them somewhere, or give them to someone). Mere evidence of the presence of drugs is not sufficient to prove constructive possession.

Possible Defenses Involving Constructive Possession in Utah Drug Cases

While constructive possession provides a means whereby a prosecutor may convict you for something you did not actually possess, principles of constructive possession can also provide many opportunities to defend against criminal charges.

Consider a hypothetical case where a balloon of heroin is found in the back seat of a person's car. Constructive possession principles open the door for several possible innocent explanations.

The drugs may belong to one of the other passengers. The drugs could have been left in the car by someone who isn't even there when the drugs are found. Even without providing an explanation for how the drugs got into the car, a person charged with a crime is protected by the presumption of innocence. The burden of proof is on the prosecuting attorney to prove beyond a reasonable doubt not just that the drugs were found in the car, but also that the person charged had the ability and intent to exercise control over the drugs.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Utah Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you are facing drug charges in Utah, penalties can include jail or prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. Stephen Howard is an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended drug cases ranging from first-degree felony distribution to misdemeanor possession charges. Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation. See the difference an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer can make in your case.

RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
** All fields are required. **
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 AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • 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.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

You want the best defense. Agressive is good. But results ultimately are what really matter. Creating an effective strategy for defending against criminal prosecution requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, and evidentiary and procedural rules. A successful outcome is more likely when....

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

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

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
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, 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.