Possession of Controlled Substances

The State of Utah defines drugs in five categories known as Schedules. Schedule I lists the most addictive and dangerous drugs, such as heroin or LSD. Each schedule after that decreases how dangerous and addictive the drug is considered. Schedule II still has a high potential for abuse but is considered medically acceptable in certain circumstances. Schedule III drugs have a low likelihood of abuse and are being used medically in the United States. Schedule IV drugs also have a low likelihood of abuse and dependency. Finally, schedule V drugs are considered the least addictive and are currently being prescribed by medical professionals within the United States.

Utah law identifies which substances are considered controlled substances that may result in non-licensed individuals being penalized for possessing drugs.

Illegal drugs include but are not limited to:

  • Adderall
  • Heroin
  • Opioids
  • LSD
  • Mushrooms
  • Sleeping medication
  • Cocaine

Utah Possession of Controlled Substances Attorney

If you have been charged with possession of controlled substances in Utah, you will need the most qualified Utah drug attorney possible to handle your case. For 30 years, the attorneys at Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law have successfully handled countless drug possession and trafficking cases in Salt Lake City.

If you reside in Salt Lake City or Davis Counties, including Salt Lake City, Taylorsville, Riverton, Midvale, Clearfield, Layton, and surrounding communities, call (801) 243-2814 to arrange your first consultation.

Back to top

Information Center

Back to top

What Are The Penalties For Unlawful Possession?

The penalties for drug possession largely depend on the type of drugs found in the defendant’s possession and the amount in their possession. A small amount of lower scheduled drugs will generally result in a misdemeanor; however, if a large amount of any drug is found, it may result in a second-degree felony even if the defendant is a first-time offender.

First-time offenders found with a small amount of a low-level drug will likely be charged with a class B misdemeanor, resulting in six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if it is the defendant’s second conviction or more for possession of a drug or the drug is more potent, the charge may be a class A misdemeanor resulting in up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500.

However, if the defendant is found with over 100 pounds of weed or a serious drug, it may result in a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Back to top

What Are The Defenses To Unlawful Possession?

Depending on the circumstances of the arrest and the seriousness of the penalty being faced, there are several defenses that a defendant has at their disposal, including but not limited to:

  • Not their drugs
  • Statute of limitations
  • Duress

Not Their Drugs

While it may not always be a successful defense, if the drugs do not belong to the defendant and they were unaware of their presence, it may be a valid argument that it was not their drugs. To determine if that is a valid argument, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations provides a timeframe in which a charge must be brought. It is uncommon that the statute of limitations may be used as a defense for a drug possession charge since the arrest is likely made on or soon after the day of the incident. However, you should still contact an attorney to inquire whether a valid defense may be available.


In some situations, it may be a valid defense that the defendant was under extreme duress when they were found with the drugs in their possession. This defense likely ties in with the claim that it is not their drug. For example, if the defendant only had the drugs in their possession because they believed their life was in danger if they did not hold the drugs on behalf of another person, there may be a valid defense for duress.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Utah State Legislature – This website provides the five schedules for drugs in the state of Utah.

Utah Drug Monitoring Initiative – This document provides an in-depth analysis of drug use’s impact on Utah.

Back to top

Utah Possession of Controlled Substances Attorney | Salt Lake County, UT

If you have been arrested for possession of controlled substances in Salt Lake County, UT, the repercussions could haunt you for the rest of your life and cost you your freedom. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law understands the severity of the situation you are facing and will work hard to develop a strong defense plan to fight your charges.

To receive a free consultation today, call (801) 243-2814 today. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law serves individuals in Salt Lake City, Midvale, Riverton, Taylorsville, Clearfield, Layton, Davis County, and the surrounding areas.

Back to top