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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Cocaine Possession

Cocaine is considered a Schedule II controlled substance under Utah law. This makes possession of cocaine a criminal offense punishable under Utah law beginning at the third degree felony level. With enhancements, the penalties can be as high as life in prison. Any criminal charge is serious. But a felony charge potentially carries more serious consequences. If you are facing felony drug charges in Utah, you should consult with a Utah criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending drug charges.

Stephen Howard has successfully defended drug cases ranging from first degree felony distribution to simple possession. He also is one of only a few Utah criminal defense attorney in private practice who has previously served as defense counsel for a Salt Lake felony drug court program. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Penalties for Cocaine Possession in Utah

Utah Drug Charges Cocaine Possession Salt LakeMost cocaine possession charges in Utah are filed as third degree felonies, with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and approximately $9,000 in fines and surcharges. Enhancements based on proximity to a drug free zone, prior convictions, or the intent to distribute can each increase the level of a cocaine possession charge by one level to a second degree felony. Combined enhancements can increase the level of the charge as high as a first degree felony with life in prison as a possible sentence.

While most prosecutors and judges acknowledge that drug treatment may be more appropriate than extended prison sentences in many cases, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can increase your chances of staying out prison, staying out of jail, and keeping a felony off your record.

Defenses to a Cocaine Possession Charge in Utah

There are multiple facets to defending any cocaine possession case in Utah. There are a number of legal issues to consider, including: possible Fourth Amendment violations (search and seizure issues); possible Fifth Amendment violations (Miranda violations); and evidentiary issues (the use of confidential informants, witness reliability, constructive possession, etc.).

In addition to legal and factual defenses, treatment concerns should also be considered in assessing any cocaine or other drug possession charge in Utah. If a prosecutor or judge is convinced that treatment and addiction issues are being appropriately addressed, the judge and prosecutor may be much less likely to consider jail or prison time as being necessary in a cocaine possession case. Prosecutors may also be more likely to agree to a plea in abeyance if a defendant is successfully engaged in substance abuse treatment.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake

The potential consequences of a cocaine possession conviction in Utah are serious. The consequences of continuing to struggle with cocaine addiction are perhaps even more serious. If you are being prosecuted for drug possession, you need a Utah defense attorney who understands both sides of a drug possession case, and works with his clients to formulate the best strategy for addressing the issues involved in Utah drug possession cases.

Contact us today for an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • 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.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
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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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