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Utah Criminal Attorney - Possession with the Intent to Distribute

The Utah criminal code punishes the crime of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance at the same level as a charge of actual drug distribution. Both crimes can begin a the second degree felony level, with the potential for enhancements increasing the charge to a first degree felony. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard is a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience defending drug crimes in Utah. If you are facing drug charges in Utah, contact us today for an initial consultation.

Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute

Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Salt Lake Drug DistributionA Utah criminal charge of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute does not require proof of actual distribution. Instead, if a prosecutor is only required to present evidence that the person was in possession of a controlled substance and had the intent to distribute that substance.

The definition of "distribute" is very broad under Utah criminal law. It applies beyond the stereotypical "dealer," and includes anyone who shares, gives, or otherwise provides drugs to another person.

Possession with the intent to distribute is punishable at the same level as actual drug distribution. This means that a simple possession charge for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or other common "street" drugs becomes a second degree felony, punishable by up to a maximum of 15 years in prison. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, normally a class B misdemeanor, becomes a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Evidence police and prosecutors consider in determining whether to charge possession with the "intent to distribute" in a Utah drug case include the presence of paraphernalia used to weigh or package drugs (scales, balloons, baggies, etc.), records indicating past sales, statements by the suspect or other people indicating an intent to sell, give, or otherwise distribute drugs.

Possession with the intent to distribute is a crime that is also subject to enhancements under Utah's drug free zone statute. Under this statute, a charge that would normally be a second degree felony (1-15 years prison) can become a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. Possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute jumps from a third degree felony (0-5 years prison) to a second degree felony (1-15 years prison).

Finding a Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout all of Utah.  If you are facing criminal drug charges for possession with the intent to distribute, contact Stephen Howard now to learn how an experienced Utah criminal attorney can help you.


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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
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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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