5 Steps to Take if You Are Charged With a Prescription Drug Crime in Utah

Prescription drug bottle with cap off

28 Sep 2023 / Gravis Law

5 Steps to Take if You Are Charged With a Prescription Drug Crime in Utah


Charged With a Prescription Drug Crime in Utah


Being charged with a prescription drug crime in Utah can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Prescription drug offenses are taken very seriously and can result in severe penalties if convicted. Having an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side is crucial for navigating the legal process and building the strongest possible defense.


Gravis Law focuses on outcomes and the best possible results for our clients. Call us today at 385-380-5927 for your free consultation.

1. Do Not Panic – Consult With a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

The first instinct when charged with a crime may be to panic. However, it is important to remain calm and immediately consult with a criminal defense lawyer in Utah who is skilled in prescription drug crimes. An attorney can advise you of your rights, review the details of your case, and start building a strategic legal defense. Having professional legal counsel in your corner can make all the difference in the outcome.

2. Carefully Review the Charges Against You

Prescription drug crimes in Utah range from misdemeanor possession to felony distribution and trafficking. The specific charges have a major impact on potential penalties if convicted. Reviewing the formal complaint against you in detail with your lawyer is crucial for understanding exactly what you are facing.


Some key Utah drug laws to be aware of:

  • Possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription is a class B misdemeanor in Utah (UCA 58-37-8).

  • Illegally obtaining or forging a prescription is a third-degree felony (UCA 58-37-8).

  • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute is a second-degree felony (UCA 58-37-8).


Take time to fully understand both the formal charges and potential sentencing if convicted. This will help in constructing the defense strategy.

3. Do Not Incriminate Yourself – Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your right to remain silent when questioned by law enforcement. You should never answer questions or make statements without your criminal defense lawyer present. Any information provided can potentially be used against you. Be polite but firm and do not incriminate yourself.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Prescription medications (including opioid pain relievers and medications for treatment of opioid use disorder) are safe and helpful when taken exactly as instructed, but they become dangerous – and potentially deadly – when misused.” While you may want to explain your intentions, it is best to let your lawyer handle all communications.

4. Gather Evidence and Witnesses to Support Your Defense

Your criminal defense attorney will work diligently to dismiss charges or build a strong affirmative defense. This may involve collecting evidence and sworn statements to rebut the prosecution’s claims. For prescription drug crimes, relevant evidence may include:


  • Prescriptions and medical records demonstrating legitimate use

  • Proof of valid prescription sources

  • Documents showing you lacked knowledge or intent

  • Character witness statements attesting to your law-abiding nature


Providing your criminal defense lawyer with as much supporting documentation as possible boosts your chances of success. An experienced Utah drug defense attorney knows how to effectively present the evidence to weaken the prosecution’s case.

5. Explore All Options for Lesser Charges or Diversion Programs

In some prescription drug cases, defending against the charges altogether may not be possible. However, skilled Utah criminal defense lawyers have proven tactics for achieving lesser charges or alternative programs that minimize penalties and avoid jail time.


Common options to discuss with your attorney include:

  • Plea bargains to reduce the charges and sentencing recommendations

  • Pretrial diversion programs like drug court or probation

  • Sentencing alternatives like house arrest or community service


While the strategy will depend on your specific circumstances, competent legal counsel maximizes these opportunities for the most favorable outcome.


Being arrested for a prescription drug offense can be extremely unsettling. But you do not need to navigate it alone. Connecting with an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer is the most important step to take in protecting your future. With guidance, even complex prescription drug cases can potentially be resolved favorably. Do not wait to act – skilled legal help makes all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Drug Crimes in Utah

1. What are common penalties for prescription drug crimes in Utah?

Penalties vary based on the exact charges, but may include fines up to $10,000, jail time ranging from 6 months to 15 years, driver’s license suspension, and mandatory addiction treatment or counseling.

2. Can I go to jail for prescription drug possession in Utah?

Yes, Utah laws impose up to 1 year in jail just for misdemeanor possession without a valid prescription. More serious felony distribution charges can result in lengthy prison time.

3. Do I need a lawyer for prescription drug charges?

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is highly recommended to protect your rights, build defenses, negotiate lesser penalties, and avoid mandatory minimum sentences.

4. What if the drugs were not mine?

You should not make any statements without your lawyer present. A criminal defense attorney can help present evidence and witness statements to prove lack of ownership or intent.

5. Will a prescription drug offense stay on my record permanently?

It depends on the charges and outcome. A Utah criminal defense attorney may help get charges dismissed or reduced to avoid a permanent criminal record. Certain diversion programs also allow for eventual record expungement.

Selecting the Best Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah

Gravis Law has a client-centric approach to representation. Call us today at 385-380-5927 for the knowledge, skills, and support you need on your side.



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