Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyers / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our criminal defense team 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

Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Heroin Possession

Because heroine is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance (under Utah Code 58-37-4), criminal charges for possession of heroin in Utah begin at the third degree felony level. With enhancements, the level of the offense can be even higher. If you are facing drug charges in Utah, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help give you the best chance of avoiding prison or jail time and keeping a felony conviction off your record. Based in Salt Lake City and serving clients throughout Utah, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully defended criminal drug charges ranging from simple possession to first degree distribution. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

Enhanced Heroin Possession Charges in Utah

Possession of Heroin and Drug Paraphernalia UtahHeroin possession charges can carry enhanced penalties under Utah law for reasons that may include the following: the offense occurred within a drug-free zone; the circumstances indicated an intent to distribute heroin; or prior convictions for distribution of or the intent to distribute a controlled substance. A singe enhancement can increase the level of the charge to the second degree felony level (one to fifteen years in prison); multiple enhancements can raise even a straight possession charge to the first degree felony level (up to life in prison). While it is rare to see straight possession charges filed as a first degree felony level, a one level enhancement for a drug-free zone violation is common - especially in urban counties along the Wasatch Front.

"Drug-free zones" are defined under Utah law as being anywhere within 1,000 feet of any specifically listed kinds of places, including: churches, schools, parks, libraries, shopping centers, theaters, etc. To determine what areas are considered drug-free zones, you could draw a circle with a radius of 1,000 feet around each of these locations. Any area covered by one of these circles would be a drug-free zone. In densely populated areas (such as Salt Lake County, Weber County, Utah County, etc.), it may be difficult to find an area that is not a drug-free zone. While many heroin possession charges could be charged with a drug-free zone enhancement, prosecutors have discretion in determining whether to pursue the enhancement. A prosecutor may be much more likely to pursue the enhancement, for example, if a person is found shooting heroin at an elementary school playground as compared with a person who is charged for possession of heroin in a distant location only barely within the drug-free zone.

Potential Defenses to Heroin Possession Charges in Utah

When facing heroin or other drug charges, your defense attorney needs to consider a variety of legal issues, including: Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues; Fifth Amendment (Miranda) issues; evidentiary issues, which may include witness reliability, constructive possession, confidential informants, etc. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand whether or not your case presents defenses that make the case a good candidate for trial.

Trial v. Negotiated Resolutions in Utah Heroin Possession Cases

Any person charged with drug possession or other crimes in Utah has the right to have the case heard by a jury at trial. But in some circumstances, your prospects of avoiding prison or jail time and keeping a felony conviction off your record may be improved by engaging the prosecutor in settlement negotiations to see if an alternative resolution to the case is possible. An experienced criminal drug crimes attorney can help you determine the best options for defending your case.

Addiction in Utah Drug Cases

If you are facing drug charges, you should also seriously and honestly consider any addiction or substance abuse challenges that you may be facing personally. Heroin addiction addiction can be particularly difficult to fight on your own, and getting involved in an appropriate treatment program or counseling may greatly improve your chances of being able to beat an addiction. If you are convicted and placed on probation for a drug charge, it is almost certain that the judge will require drug treatment as a condition of probation. But getting involved in treatment before you are ordered to do so by the court can greatly improve your chances of convincing the prosecutor that you deserve a plea in abeyance, probation, or a reduced misdemeanor charge.

Some people have expressed concern that their involvement in treatment may be used against them at trial. This is not the case. If you decide to take your case to trial, your involvement in treatment after being charged cannot be used against you at trial to try to show that you are a drug addict or that you are otherwise guilty of a crime.

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah

As an experienced Utah drug crimes defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard can help you explore the various options and issues involved in defending a drug possession case. He is one of only a few criminal defense attorneys now in private practice who has previously served as defense counsel for a Utah felony drug court program. His track record in defending clients in Utah criminal cases includes dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and appellate reversals in serious felony and misdemeanor cases.

Contact us today to schedule 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 allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client 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 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.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
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

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your Utah criminal case may be the single most important decision you make. The courtroom can be a hostile place. Prosecutors receive extensive training on legal and tactical issues. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical to defending your case and protecting your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

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....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Never give up hope. Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. And it is usually not the end of the world. While the consequences of a criminal charge can be serious, there are often several options and strategies for handling your case. Understanding your options and how an experienced criminal lawyer can help....

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.