Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Cocaine Possession

Cocaine is considered a Schedule II controlled substance under Utah law. This makes possession of cocaine a criminal offense punishable under Utah law beginning at the third degree felony level. With enhancements, the penalties can be as high as life in prison. Any criminal charge is serious. But a felony charge potentially carries more serious consequences. If you are facing felony drug charges in Utah, you should consult with a Utah criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending drug charges.

Stephen Howard has successfully defended drug cases ranging from first degree felony distribution to simple possession. He also is one of only a few Utah criminal defense attorney in private practice who has previously served as defense counsel for a Salt Lake felony drug court program. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Penalties for Cocaine Possession in Utah

Utah Drug Charges Cocaine Possession Salt LakeMost cocaine possession charges in Utah are filed as third degree felonies, with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and approximately $9,000 in fines and surcharges. Enhancements based on proximity to a drug free zone, prior convictions, or the intent to distribute can each increase the level of a cocaine possession charge by one level to a second degree felony. Combined enhancements can increase the level of the charge as high as a first degree felony with life in prison as a possible sentence.

While most prosecutors and judges acknowledge that drug treatment may be more appropriate than extended prison sentences in many cases, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can increase your chances of staying out prison, staying out of jail, and keeping a felony off your record.

Defenses to a Cocaine Possession Charge in Utah

There are multiple facets to defending any cocaine possession case in Utah. There are a number of legal issues to consider, including: possible Fourth Amendment violations (search and seizure issues); possible Fifth Amendment violations (Miranda violations); and evidentiary issues (the use of confidential informants, witness reliability, constructive possession, etc.).

In addition to legal and factual defenses, treatment concerns should also be considered in assessing any cocaine or other drug possession charge in Utah. If a prosecutor or judge is convinced that treatment and addiction issues are being appropriately addressed, the judge and prosecutor may be much less likely to consider jail or prison time as being necessary in a cocaine possession case. Prosecutors may also be more likely to agree to a plea in abeyance if a defendant is successfully engaged in substance abuse treatment.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake

The potential consequences of a cocaine possession conviction in Utah are serious. The consequences of continuing to struggle with cocaine addiction are perhaps even more serious. If you are being prosecuted for drug possession, you need a Utah defense attorney who understands both sides of a drug possession case, and works with his clients to formulate the best strategy for addressing the issues involved in Utah drug possession cases.

Contact us today for an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.


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  • Selected Victories
  • 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.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • 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.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

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Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

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A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can 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
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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