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marijuana offenses

Marijuana Offenses

Though more states are beginning to accept marijuana as a legal recreation drug, or as an approved medical substance, the state of Utah still bans the use of marijuana. Marijuana is included in the list of controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act. Many people do not consider marijuana a hard drug; however, the state of Utah penalizes marijuana offenses similarly to any other controlled substance.

Whether facing charges regarding possession of marijuana, distribution of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, intent to sell, or any other marijuana-related offense the consequences of a conviction can have serious effects on your future.

Marijuana Offenses Information Center

  • Marijuana Offenses Defined
  • Penalties for a Conviction
  • More Information on Utah’s Marijuana Laws

Marijuana Offenses Defined

The Utah Controlled Substance Act covers a wide range of illegal substances and analogs. Utah Code §58-37-8-2(b)(i) states that it is illegal for anyone to knowingly and intentionally possess or use a controlled substance analog or a controlled substance.

There is an exception if the substance was obtained under a valid prescription or order directly from a practitioner who was acting in the course of his professional practice, or as otherwise authorized by this statute.

Penalties for a Conviction

Upon conviction of a marijuana offense, the penalties will vary depending on surrounding circumstances. Individuals with prior convictions may be sentenced more harshly than first-time offenders. In addition, if the defendant caused bodily harm during the marijuana offense, penalties will also be heightened. As of October 1, 2015, Utah has removed the tiered penalty structure for possession of marijuana.

However, individuals convicted of a marijuana offense may still face misdemeanor charges to third-degree felonies. The maximum penalties for these crimes are up to five years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

More Information on Utah’s Marijuana Laws

Utah State Legislature: This state site offers full legislation on marijuana and other illegal substance laws and penalties.

Marijuana Policy Project: This organization is aimed at legalized medical marijuana usage and decriminalizing use of the drug.

First-Time Offenders

Being accused of a crime is a scary event for anyone, especially for first-time offenders. You may feel pressured to speak to your arresting officers without an attorney. Also, you may feel pushed into relinquishing your rights. First-time offenders of sex crimes, violent crimes, and property crimes often make the mistake of pleading guilty out of fear. Pleading guilty without seeking a defense attorney’s advice can extremely dangerous to your freedom.

Without a skilled attorney’s advice, pleading guilty may lead to lengthy jail time, expensive crimes, or other avoidable punishment.

First-Time Offender Information Center

  • First-Time Offenders of Felony Crimes
  • First-Time Offenders of Misdemeanor Crimes
  • More Information for First-Time Offenders

First-Time Offenders of Felony Crimes

Under Utah law, individuals convicted of felony crimes often face the heaviest penalties. Despite first-time offender status, individuals convicted of a felony face lengthy prison sentences, exorbitant fines, and loss of professional licenses.

Felony crimes are typically divided into four categories: third degree, second degree, first degree, and capital offenses. Generally, these categories carry the following consequences:

  • Third-degree felony: Up to five years in prison, and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree felony: One to 15 years in imprisonment, and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
  • First-degree felony: Minimum five years to life imprisonment, and/or up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Capital offense: Minimum sentence of 25 years imprisonment, life sentence without possibility of parole, or the death penalty.

These penalties are subject to change depending on the crime, the factors of the individual’s case, and the victim.

First-Time Offenders of Misdemeanor Crimes

Unlike felony crimes, misdemeanor crimes do not typically include lengthy prison sentences. However, misdemeanors are also separated into categories according to severity. These categories are as follows:

  • Class C misdemeanor: Maximum 90 days in jail, and/or a maximum of $750 in fines.
  • Class B misdemeanor: Maximum six months in jail, and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Maximum of one year in jail, and/or up to $2,500 in fines.

These penalties will also vary according to the details of the crime.

More Information on First-Time Offenders

Utah State Legislature: This state site provides information on criminal offenses and their penalties.
Utah Courts: This site provides a list of felony and misdemeanor categories and their respective penalties.

Free Consultation with Criminal Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a Marijuana crime, please give our office a call for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you with your marijuana offense!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506