Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what the right attorney can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Davis County, Utah Drug Defense Attorney

Can I be charged with drug distribution if no drugs were sold?

Under the Utah criminal code sections dealing with distribution of a controlled substance or possession with the intent to distribute, a wide range of activities can form the basis for criminal charges - even when no drugs are actually sold. If you are facing drug possession, distribution, or other criminal charges in Davis County, an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a real difference in the outcome of your case. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Distribution of a Controlled Substance

Under Utah law, distribution of a controlled substance is a serious felony charge punishable by substantial time in prison or jail as well as thousands of dollars in fines. The law does not require any proof of payment for or sale of drugs. Instead, the statute creates a broad definition of "distribution" that can include sale, gifts, trades, or other exchanges in which drugs are passed from one person to another.

But Davis County prosecutors have been known to distinguish between individuals who have been charged for selling drugs and individuals who "shared" something with a friend. Even when drugs have been sold for money, Davis County prosecutors have been known to make a distinction between individuals who are selling drugs for profit and individuals who may be selling, but only to support their own drug addiction. Individuals who are willing to address the issues related to their addiction and engage in treatment are much more likely to receive more leniency from both prosecutors and judges.

Offering or Arranging to Distribute a Controlled Substance

In addition to actual distribution, Utah criminal law imposes penalties against individuals who have "offered" or "arranged" to distribute a controlled substance. The statutory language used by the legislature had been interpreted broadly to include conduct such as telling someone where a dealer is from whom they can buy drugs, telling a dealer how to contact someone who is interested in buying drugs, or offering to meet someone at a specific time and location in order to make a drug transaction.

Limits to the "Offering" Statute

Utah's courts have imposed some restrictions on the "offering" component of this charge. In order to meet the required elements of the offense, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant's offer to sell drugs was sincere. One such case involved a defendant who told an undercover police officer that he would be willing to sell drugs to the officer, took money from the officer, and promised to return shortly with the drugs. The defendant took the money, but did not return. Other officers shortly thereafter arrested the defendant, and he was charged with offering to distribute a controlled substance. When arrested, police did not find any drugs in the possession of the defendant.

The defense argued that the prosecutor did not have sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant actually intended to complete a drug transaction. The evidence that the prosecutor was able to present was indistinguishable from evidence that would show that the defendant was merely scamming the undercover officer, and had used the pretense of a supposed drug transaction to trick the officer into giving him the money.

While the defendant may have been guilty of fraud or theft by deception, the defense argued that there was no proof that the defendant actually intended to sell drugs. Further, the prosecutor had not filed a charge of theft or fraud - only the charge of offering or arranging to distribute a controlled substance. Because a defendant is presumed to be innocent under both our State and Federal Constitutions, the defense argued that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to support the drug charge.

The courts ultimately agreed with the defense..

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah

Felony drug distribution charges in Utah can carry serious consequences. Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has a track record that includes dismissals or not guilty verdicts on some of the most serious criminal charges on the books in Utah. Providing legal services to clients in Davis County and throughout Utah, he has the experience needed to help you get the results you need. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you Utah criminal case will be one of the most important decision you make. Before hiring any lawyer, there are a number of important factors to consider. The person you select as your criminal defense attorney will be responsible to defend your case and protect your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Jail time, prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the lifetime collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record - all of these and more are at stake when you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah. Understanding what is at risk is critical. Even so-called "minor" misdemeanor cases can have serious consequences....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.