Whether you are charged with drug possession or trafficking, drug crimes in Utah are associated with harsh penalties. However, if certain aggravating circumstances exist, then a conviction can be even more severe or a defendant will face additional charges.
One of those circumstances is when a child is present during the alleged offense. This is commonly known as “endangerment of a child” in Utah.
What is Endangerment of a Child?
According to state law, endangerment of a child occurs when a child was exposed to – or able to gain access of – or had the potential to be exposed to – or has the “reasonable capacity” to access – drugs or paraphernalia when a person was using or possessing such drugs or items. Child endangerment also includes situations where a ingests, inhales, or otherwise comes into contact with drugs or drug paraphernalia
Child Endangerment Penalties in Utah
Endangerment of a child is a third-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000 – or $9,500 including the surcharge.
If a child suffers an injury because of coming into contact with a drug or paraphernalia, then the offense is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000 – or $19,000 including the surcharge.
If a child dies because of contact with or exposure to drugs, then the offense is considered a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life imprisonment.
In drug cases involving a child, state prosecutors often file drug charges and child endangerment charges separately.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime involving child endangerment in Salt Lake City, contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. today at (801) 829-9783 to discuss your case. Ready to protect your rights and freedom.