Using drugs and alcohol in Utah can lead to criminal charges and serious penalties. Wondering which drugs are illegal in Utah? Curious about drinking and driving laws? Then, keep reading for a brief overview of Utah’s drug and alcohol laws.

DUI Laws in Utah

Driving while drinking impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle and drastically increases the chance of an accident. To keep people safe on the roads, Utah has strict laws on drinking and driving. 

In Utah, you can face a DUI charge if your blood alcohol content is 0.05% or higher. In most states, the limit is 0.08%. Even if your BAC is under that level, you can be charged with a DUI if you seem incapable of driving a vehicle due to drugs or alcohol in your system.

Here are the DUI penalties:

  • 1st or 2nd DUI: up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine.
  • 1st or 2nd offense that causes injury to another person or involves a passenger under 18 in the vehicle: Up to 1 year in jail and up to a $2500 fine.
  • 3rd DUI in 10 years: up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5000 fine.

If you cause injury and are driving in a negligent way, you can face a 3rd degree felony, up to 5 years in prison, and a $5000 fine, even if it’s your first DUI. Similarly, you also face these penalties if you were previously convicted of an automobile homicide or a felony DUI.

Zero Tolerance Laws for Utah

Utah has zero tolerance laws which ban drivers under the age of 21 from driving with any trace of alcohol in their bodies. These drivers also face special laws related to losing their licenses. 

If someone is 21 or over, they lose their license for 120 days for their 1st DUI and for 2 years for additional DUIs in a 10-year period. In contrast, if a driver is under 21, they lose their license for 1 year or until they turn 21, whichever is longer.

Is Marijuana Legal in Utah?

Marijuana is only legal in Utah for medical purposes. The state legalized medical marijuana (mmj) on December 3, 2018 and plans to implement the new laws by March 1, 2020. Patients, medical providers, and cannabis pharmacies must register with the Utah Department of Health. 

Recreational marijuana is illegal in Utah, and the penalties for having this drug can be strict. For possessing the drug, you can face the following penalties:

  • Less than 1 ounce: Up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine.
  • Up to 1 pound: Up to 1 year in jail and up to a $2,5000 fine.
  • Up to 100 pounds: up to 5 years in jail and up to a $5000 fine.
  • Over 100 pounds: 1 to 15 years in jail and up to $10,000 fine.

For selling marijuana, you can face up to 5 years in jail and a $5000 fine. You can even face jail time for paraphernalia.

Drug and Alcohol Related Crimes

In addition to banning drinking and driving, Utah prohibits the following activities with drugs:

  • Manufacturing drugs
  • Dispensing drugs
  • Possessing drugs with intent to distribute
  • Arranging to distribute drugs
  • Engaging in criminal enterprises that focus on making or selling drugs

The state also has a detailed drug paraphernalia act. Under these laws, you cannot own or sell items designed to grow, make, test, or store drugs. You also cannot have items to help you inhale, inject, or ingest drugs. And you cannot legally sell these items to people if you know that they are going to use them for drugs.

If you have an unused syringe in plastic wrap, you cannot be charged with having paraphernalia.

Penalties for Drug or Alcohol Abuse in Utah

Penalties for drug crimes in Utah vary based on the type of drug, the amount, and prior convictions. If you produce, manufacture, or distribute schedule I, II, or certain schedule III drugs, you can face up to 15 years in prison. Schedule I drugs include marijuana, peyote, and mushrooms. Most opiates including fentanyl fall into Schedule II along with meth. 

If you commit a drug crime with a gun, the courts can add 1 to 5 years to your sentence. You have to serve this time on top of your regular sentence. Drug crimes committed around schools, houses of worship, or minors lead to at least 5 more years in prison.

People who are defined as Indian under state law do not face penalties for peyote. But they must have the drug for ceremonial purposes. Breaking the state’s paraphernalia laws is a class B misdemeanor, and the penalty may include up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine. 

Utah treats drug sales and possession very seriously. Do not risk facing criminal penalties in this state. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, reach out for help today. Contact a treatment center in your local area. 

Sources

  1. DUI laws in Utah. (2011, October 10)
  2. Schedules of controlled substances. (n.d.)
  3. Utah controlled substances act. (n.d.)
  4. Utah Courts. (n.d.). Criminal penalties
  5. Utah drug paraphenalia act. (n.d.)
  6. Utah medical cannabis program. (2019, May 2)
  7. What are the Utah DUI laws? (n.d.)

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