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Drug Paraphernalia Attorney for West Jordan

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Utah

Drug paraphernalia charges in West Jordan can be prosecuted in either the West Jordan City Justice Court or in the West Jordan Department of the Third District Court. The choice of jurisdiction can depend on whether other more serious crimes are filed along with the drug paraphernalia charge. Even by itself, a conviction for drug paraphernalia can be punished by up to six months in jail and nearly two thousand dollars in fines and surcharges. Having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense and drug crimes attorney can be vital. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard.

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What is "drug paraphernalia" under Utah law?

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - Salt Lake Attorney UtahThe definition of "drug paraphernalia" under Utah law is very broad. In addition to obvious items like drug pipes and syringes, there are many other common items that can be classified as drug paraphernalia. An important factor in determining whether an item is or is not drug paraphernalia is the actual or intended use of the item.

Otherwise innocent objects like plastic bags, balloons, pens, and spoons, can form the basis of a drug paraphernalia charge in West Jordan if police believe that the intended use of the items involves illegal drugs. Constitutional protections provide that a person charged with any crime is presumed innocent, and a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged paraphernalia is connected with drugs. Simply possessing a balloon, spoon, or even syringe is not by itself sufficient to prove a paraphernalia charge.

What constitutes "possession" in a Utah drug paraphernalia case?

Possession in a West Jordan drug paraphernalia case can be proven either through evidence of "actual" possession or to "constructive" possession. Both types of possession can support the evidence necessary to prove a drug paraphernalia charge.

The concept of "actual" possession is fairly straightforward, generally involving paraphernalia found in a person's pocket, hand, or otherwise under their immediate control. The concept of "constructive" possession can be more complicated.

To prove "constructive" possession of drug paraphernalia, a prosecutor must present evidence that the person had knowledge of the item's presence, knew of its intended use, and had both the ability and the intent to exercise control over the item.

Cases involving "constructive" possession often arise when police find drug paraphernalia in a person's car. In such cases, it is possible that the paraphernalia was in possession of the driver. It is also possible that the paraphernalia was in the constructive possession of a current passenger, or had been left behind by a previous passenger.

Police officers are sometimes heard to say that if you are the driver and owner of the car, that you are responsible for anything found in the car. This is not an accurate statement of the law. Without evidence of constructive possession, a driver or owner may not be responsible for drugs or paraphernalia found in a vehicle.

Utah courts have also recognized the concept of "innocent" possession. Such cases can arise when a parent or other person finds drugs or drug paraphernalia, and takes control over the item solely for the purpose of disposing of or destroying the item. While such cases of possession may meet the technical elements of statutes on controlled substance possession and drug paraphernalia, the court have recognized that punishment is not appropriate because there is no illegal intent.

Punishment for Drug Paraphernalia Possession in Utah

Most Utah drug paraphernalia charges begin at the class B misdemeanor level, carrying a potential sentence of up to 180 days in jail and nearly $2000 in fines and surcharges. But drug paraphernalia possession can be charged as a class A misdemeanor if a drug free zone enhancement is found to apply. The enhancement to a class A misdemeanor more than doubles the potential jail time, up to 365 days, and increases the potential fines and surcharges to approximately $4800.

Delivery of drug paraphernalia to another person can also be charged as a class A misdemeanor. If the drug paraphernalia is delivered to a minor, a felony charge may be filed.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Attorney UtahBased in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard provides defense services to clients in West Jordan and throughout Utah. Mr. Howard has substantial experience defending drug cases in Utah, including possession, paraphernalia, and distribution. He has also worked extensively in Utah's drug court system, and has successfully defended drug cases ranging from first-degree felony drug distribution crimes to misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charges.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

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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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