*** Please note that Utah’s laws regarding marijuana and THC have changed significantly since this post was originally published in 2017. If you are facing criminal prosecution for drug charges of any kind, consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is strongly recommended. ***
Drug crimes, including marijuana possession and distribution, can carry strict penalties in the Ogden courts. Prosecutions involving marijuana can range from a class B misdemeanor to a much more serious felony charge that carries the potential of years in prison. The level of a criminal charge can depend on the amount of marijuana involved, its intended use, and whether the offense is committed in a drug free zone.
If you find yourself facing criminal prosecution for marijuana possession in Ogden or elsewhere in Utah, it is vital that you have on your side a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Stephen Howard has a record of winning real results for his clients. Contact us now for a confidential consultation, and see how we can help you.
Defending Marijuana Charges in Ogden
To successfully defend a criminal case involving marijuana possession in Ogden, you need an attorney who understands the complicated constitutional law involved in Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues as well as the important protections offered under the Fifth Amendment. You need a defender who understands Utah’s laws regarding the principles of “constructive” possession and “innocent” possession. And you need counsel from a lawyer who understands the effects that the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in other states has here in Utah.
Defending a marijuana charge in Utah can require a detailed factual and legal analysis, motions to suppress evidence, and the complexities involved in a jury trial. Depending on the strength of the case, a good defense can also involve engaging in negotiations with the prosecutor which may end in a better outcome than the likely result of a trial. A successful defense can depend on having a defense lawyer with the experience and skills to understand which strategy is best tailored to achieve your individual goals in the case.
Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has successfully defended drug cases in Utah ranging from first-degree felony distribution to misdemeanor marijuana and paraphernalia charges. He has the experience and skills you need to help achieve the best results for your case.
Marijuana Convictions and Consequences in Ogden
Despite changing cultural attitudes toward marijuana, possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana remains illegal. From a legal stand point, you still need to take seriously any Ogden criminal charges relating to marijuana possession.
Depending on the circumstances, a prosecution for marijuana possession can range from the misdemeanor level up through a much more serious felony charge. A simple marijuana possession charge begins at the class B misdemeanor level, which carries the potential of up to 180 days in jail. Distribution of or possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute can be filed as a third degree felony, which can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Enhancements for an offense committed in a drug free zone can potentially increase the penalties for simple possession to a maximum of a year in jail; a charge for marijuana distribution charges can be enhanced to a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Collateral consequences for Utah drug convictions can include a driver license suspension. And like any criminal conviction, it becomes a part of your criminal record, affecting your ability to find employment or participate in other opportunities.
Many marijuana possession cases in Ogden are handled through the Ogden City Justice Court. But even a misdemeanor charge should not be taken lightly. Having an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer on your side can help give you the best chance of success in your case.
The Effects Marijuana Legalization in Other States
While other states have made the possession of marijuana legal, criminal laws against the possession of marijuana in Utah are still strictly enforced. It is common for residents of states such as Arizona, Colorado, and California to be pulled over for traffic violations while traveling through Utah. The mere odor of marijuana can give a police officer grounds for conducting a search of a vehicle during a minor traffic stop.
Even though a driver or passenger may have a prescription (doctor’s recommendation) for marijuana or a medical marijuana card issued in another state, in Utah they may still face criminal prosecution for possession of a controlled substance. If a blood or urine test reveals THC or a THC metabolite in the driver’s system, a “DUI metabolite” charge (driving with a measurable controlled substance metabolite) can be filed, even if the last time the driver used marijuana was prior to coming to Utah.