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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Methadone PossessionMethadone 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 UtahMethadone'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 CasesPossession 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 HeroinMethadone 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 LawyerIf 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 Defense Victories
- Dismissed - Client charged with first-degree felony drug distribution and faced the potential of life in prison. Negotiations with prosecutor resulted in misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance agreement and ultimately a complete dismissal of the case.
- Not Guilty - Client charged with second-degree felony home burglary. Defense investigation of the case revealed witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. Jury found client "not guilty" at trial.
- Dismissed - Client charged with first-degree felony child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of case revealed legal flaws in prosecutor's case that convinced deputy district attorney to dismiss the case outright without further conditions.
- Probation - Client charged with aggravated robbery, and 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.
- Not Guilty - Client charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack with dangerous weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation and trial preparation resulted in acquittal.
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