Drug Manufacture & Distribution
The Utah Controlled Substances Act (UC 58-37-8) makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute or possess illegal drugs with the intent to distribute. Illegal drugs include both drugs that are specifically illegal by law and legal drugs that were illegally obtained or are possessed, shared or sold without prescriptions. Manufacture charges arise when law enforcement uncovers marijuana cultivation sites, meth labs and other facilities used for the manufacture of illegal drugs and their synthetic counterparts. Distribution charges under this this law usually occur when the prosecuting attorney determines that the amount of drugs taken from your person, vehicle or residence exceeds the prosecutor’s idea of personal use. This can be a very subjective or biased decision because Utah law does not offer any guidance on what amount of drugs constitutes an acceptable amount for personal use or personal consumption only. Such determination can also result from the way the drugs were packaged (for obvious resale) or from other evidence seized at the arrest which indicate the drugs were for sale, such as scales or large amounts of cash. Defendants can be charged with possession with intent to distribute even when an individual merely shares drugs with a friend without asking for or receiving any money or other form of compensation. Individuals have even been charged with distributing drugs where they held drugs for a friend and later returned those drugs to the friend. Manufacture or possession with an intent to distribute are much more serious offenses then simple possession and are charged as felonies. The severity of charges and punishments for these crimes is directly related to the quantity of drugs seized at the time of arrest and the type of drugs involved. Prescription drug distribution cases usually are charged as 3rd Degree felonies with up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine, while Schedule I & II Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, LSD and Methamphetimines are charged as 2nd Degree Felonies with penalties up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. If enhancements apply, such as prior convictions or drug arrests in a designated drug free zone, additional penalties up to life in prison may be sought by the prosecution.