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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Methadone Possession

Methadone is an opioid pain reliever classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. While methadone has legitimate medical uses, it can also be abused. Possession of methadone without a prescription is a felony crime under Utah law.

If you are facing criminal charges for drug possession, hiring an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can help give you the best chance of success in your case. Stephen Howard has successfully defended Utah drug cases ranging from first-degree felony drug distribution to simple possession cases. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Criminal Possession of Methadone in Utah

Methadone's uses include pain relief and pain management, treatment of withdrawal symptoms as part of a drug detoxification program, as well as "methadone maintenance" for long-term heroin addicts. Methadone is also a drug that can be abused and can be highly addictive. While methadone as a medication can be lawfully prescribed by a treating physician, possession of methadone without a prescription in Utah is a felony crime. In order to convict a person of unlawfully possessing methadone, Utah law simply requires proof that that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed methadone, and that the defendant did not have a prescription.

Penalties for Methadone Possession in Utah Criminal Cases

Possession of methadone begins at the third-degree felony level, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000 plus a 90% surcharge. A criminal charge for possession of methadone can be enhanced as high as the first-degree felony level depending on the circumstances of the case. Enhancements for methadone possession can include proximity to a drug-free zone, prior convictions, or possession with the intent to distribute. Enhancements can increase the level of the charge to the second-degree felony level (1-15 years prison) or first-degree felony level (5 years to life).

Methadone as Substitute for Heroin

Possession of Heroin and Drug Paraphernalia UtahMethadone is often intended as a therapeutic intervention, to assist a person struggling with addiction to heroin or other opiate drugs. Under methadone replacement therapy or opioid substitution treatment, heroin is replaced with a medication that is supposed to be safer and more manageable. But because of its potential for abuse, methadone sometimes becomes merely a substitute for the addict's drug of choice. When a person begins abusing methadone rather than using it in a therapeutically appropriate manner, it becomes tempting to try to obtain methadone through illegal avenues. Possession of methadone under these circumstances can lead to serious criminal charges.

Finding a Utah Drug Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Utah, hiring an experienced criminal attorney can be the most important step you can take toward achieving the best result in your case. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard offers services to clients throughout Utah. His track record includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals on some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.


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  • 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.
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  • 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. . . .
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Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer in Salt Lake City

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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