Which Drug Crimes Are Felonies in Utah?

Under Utah law, manufacturing, distributing, and possessing controlled substances are all prohibited acts. Any of these drug crimes can be charged as felonies. Thus, the question is not really "which drug crimes are felonies," but rather "when are drug crimes felonies."

The factors that make a drug crime a felony include the type of substance, the amount of the substance, the accused's criminal history, and the conduct involved in the offense.

Before exploring when drug crimes are felonies, we will review Utah's degrees of felonies and the penalties associated with each. We will do this for clarity's sake, as different drug crimes may be charged at the same degree as others. Listing the potential conviction penalties for each would clutter the content.

The Degrees of Felonies in Utah

Utah has three degrees of felonies. First-degree offenses are the most severe, whereas third-degree are the least.

The potential conviction penalties for each of the three degrees are as follows:

  • First-degree:
    • Between 5 years and life in prison and/or
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Second-degree:
    • Between 1 and 15 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Third-degree:
    • Up to 5 years in prison and/or
    • Up to $5,000 in fines

Although we have listed the punishments for felonies here, we must note that a couple of offenses carry mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment. We will refer to those in the discussion of felony-level offenses.

Manufacturing, Distributing, or Possessing with Intent to Produce or Distribute

For the most part, any drug crime that involves making controlled substances or providing them to others will be charged as a felony. In only one instance (first offenses involving Schedule V drugs) is a violation a misdemeanor.

Manufacture, distribution, or possession with intent to produce or distribute are charged as follows:

  • First-degree felony when the offense:
    • Is a second or subsequent violation involving a Schedule I or II drug or GHB
    • Is part of a criminal enterprise (The minimum term of imprisonment is 7 years; however, if the defendant knew a minor was working for the enterprise, the minimum term of imprisonment is 15 years)
  • Second-degree felony when the offense involves:
    • Schedule I or II drugs
    • GHB
    • Schedule III or IV drugs (upon a second or subsequent violation)
  • Third-degree felony when the offense involves:
    • Schedule III or IV drugs
    • Schedule V drugs (upon a second or subsequent violation)

Possession or Consumption of Controlled Substances

Utah law prohibits people from knowingly possessing or using drugs or having a forged prescription. It also forbids those who own or have control over buildings, vehicles, rooms, or other locations from allowing other people to use, distribute, or possess drugs in those areas.

Violators can be charged as follows:

  • Second-degree felony when the offense involves:
    • Possessing 100 pounds or more of marijuana
  • Third-degree felony when the offense involves:
    • Possessing or consuming Schedule I or II drugs (upon a second or subsequent offense)
    • Possessing or consuming any other substance besides Schedule I or II drugs or 100 pounds or more of marijuana (upon a fourth or subsequent offense)
    • Permitting occupants or tenants to use or possess drugs (upon a third or subsequent offense)
    • Possessing an altered prescription

Prescription Drug Fraud

A few different offenses are considered prescription drug fraud.

These include:

  • Using an altered or fake license number,
  • Misrepresenting oneself as an authorized manufacturer,
  • Using deception to obtain a prescription,
  • Making a false prescription, and
  • Making or distributing equipment used to store or label controlled substances.

Upon a third or subsequent violation, prescription drug fraud is a third-degree felony.

Charged with a controlled substance offense in Salt Lake City? Contact Lokken & Associates, P.C. at (801) 829-9783 to get started on building your defense.