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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 - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • 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 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • 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.
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Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

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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
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

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