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 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Canyons Law Group - Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

Drug Paraphernalia Defined - Utah Criminal Law

What constitutes "drug paraphernalia" under Utah law?

The Utah statute defining "drug paraphernalia" focuses both on the nature of the item involved and also on the intent of the person possessing the item. For example, papers used to roll tobacco cigarettes would not be considered to be drug paraphernalia. The same papers used, or intended to be used, with marijuana could result in a criminal prosecution for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Utah Drug Paraphernalia Defense LawyerIf you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it is important to obtain the advice and assistance of an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully defended his clients' rights in a wide variety of drug-related criminal cases. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

This page presents information on the following:


Defining "Drug Paraphernalia" under the Utah Code

The Utah Code provides two sections detailing when an item is to be considered drug paraphernalia. Utah Code 58-37a-3 provides a "definition" of the term "drug paraphernalia." Utah Code 58-37a-4 then provides examples of factors to consider in determining whether the item should be considered "drug paraphernalia. The full text of these statutes is provided below. (Commentary is provided in italics.)

Full Text of Utah Code 58-37a-3

The definition of "drug paraphernalia" set forth in this section (as amended in 2011) of the Utah Code provides a non-exclusive list list of items that can be considered to be drug paraphernalia. But the definition focuses less on the nature of any specific object and more on the use or intended use of the object. The prohibited purposes under the Code generally involve the use, manufacture (or cultivation), and distribution of drugs.

As used in this chapter, "drug paraphernalia" means any equipment, product, or material used, or intended for use, to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, package, repackage, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or to otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body in violation of Title 58, Chapter 37, Utah Controlled Substances Act, and includes, but is not limited to:
  (1) kits used, or intended for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;
  (2) kits used, or intended for use, in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing a controlled substance;
  (3) isomerization devices used, or intended for use, to increase the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;
  (4) testing equipment used, or intended for use, to identify or to analyze the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance;
  (5) scales and balances used, or intended for use, in weighing or measuring a controlled substance;
  (6) diluents and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannited, dextrose and lactose, used, or intended for use to cut a controlled substance;
  (7) separation gins and sifters used, or intended for use to remove twigs, seeds, or other impurities from marihuana;
  (8) blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and mixing devices used, or intended for use to compound a controlled substance;
  (9) capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, or intended for use to package small quantities of a controlled substance;
  (10) containers and other objects used, or intended for use to store or conceal a controlled substance;
  (11) hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects used, or intended for use to parenterally inject a controlled substance into the human body, except as provided in Section 58-37a-5; and
  (12) objects used, or intended for use to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body, including but not limited to:
    (a) metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls;
    (b) water pipes;
    (c) carburetion tubes and devices;
    (d) smoking and carburetion masks;
    (e) roach clips: meaning objects used to hold burning material, such as a marihuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand;
    (f) miniature cocaine spoons and cocaine vials;
    (g) chamber pipes;
    (h) carburetor pipes;
    (i) electric pipes;
    (j) air-driven pipes;
    (k) chillums;
    (l) bongs; and
    (m) ice pipes or chillers.

Full Text of Utah Code 58-37a-4

This section (as amended in 2011) provides a list of factors that may be considered in determining whether a specific object should be considered to be drug paraphernalia. In addition to the enumerated factors, the statute also provides that a jury (or judge) may consider "all other logically relevant factors." A criminal defendant is presumed under the Constitution to be innocent, and the burden of proving otherwise rests with the prosecution. A jury (or judge at a bench trial) is therefore given a wide degree of latitude in determining whether an object qualifies as drug paraphernalia.

In determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia, the trier of fact, in addition to all other logically relevant factors, should consider:
  (1) statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
  (2) prior convictions, if any, of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, under any state or federal law relating to a controlled substance;
  (3) the proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this chapter;
  (4) the proximity of the object to a controlled substance;
  (5) the existence of any residue of a controlled substance on the object;
  (6) instructions whether oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
  (7) descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use;
  (8) national and local advertising concerning its use;
  (9) the manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
  (10) whether the owner or anyone in control of the object is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products;
  (11) direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the object to the total sales of the business enterprise;
  (12) the existence and scope of legitimate uses of the object in the community;
  (13) whether the object is subject to Section 58-37a-5; and
  (14) expert testimony concerning its use.

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

A criminal charge for possession of drug paraphernalia in Utah is typically filed as a class B misdemeanor, under Utah Code 58-37a-5. This section of the code also provides class A misdemeanor penalties for distributing drug paraphernalia, and also a felony penalty for distributing drug paraphernalia to a minor. But paraphernalia distribution charges are rarely filed. The class B paraphernalia possesion charge is most common.

A class B misdemeanor conviction carries the potential of up to six months in jail, and a fine (including 90% surcharge) of up to $1,900. A judge sentencing a person convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia has discretion to impose the maximum penalty, or may suspend all or a part of the jail and fine and place the person on probation instead. Conditions of probation for a drug paraphernalia conviction typically include a substance abuse assessment and completion of any recommended treatment. Probation conditions can also include community service, drug testing, and other conditions deemed appropriate by the court.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Attorney UtahBased in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients' rights in a wide variety of drug possession, drug distribution, drug paraphernalia, and other drug-related criminal cases. He has also worked extensively in Utah's drug court system.

If you are facing prosecution for a drug paraphernalia or other criminal charge, the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer is vital. Contact us today to schedule an initial confidential attorney consultation.

RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Contact a Lawyer
** 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
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • 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 Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your Utah criminal case can be the single most important decision you make. Before hiring any lawyer, there are a number of important factors to consider. The person you select as your criminal defense attorney will be responsible to defend your case and protect 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 Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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.