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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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  • 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.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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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....

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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....

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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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