What is Drug Paraphernalia under Utah Law
As I explained in a recent blog post (The Metaphysics of Utah’s Drug Paraphernalia Act), illegal paraphernalia can be almost anything: a pipe, a baggie, or even the pocket of your jacket. The definition under Utah Code 58-37a-5 is very, very broad.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Misdemeanor B offense, so the possible penalties include up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine (with a 90% surcharge). Jail time is usually unlikely, especially for a first offender, but a hefty fine is a strong possibility. Perhaps the worst consequences are the collateral ones: loss of your driver’s license (see below) and a criminal record that could impact your future employment prospects.
Paraphernalia and your Utah Driver’s License
A conviction for drug paraphernalia results in a mandatory 6-month suspension of your Utah Driver’s License. If you’re out of state, Utah suspends your driving “privilege,” which often results in a suspension of your home-state license under the interstate compacts. There are ways to try and avoid this suspension, but it requires some doing.
What to Do If You’ve Been Charged With Paraphernalia
A paraphernalia charge is not the end of the world. As I mentioned above, you are unlikely to go to jail. However, it’s important to make sure the conviction doesn’t come back to haunt you, or affect you in ways you didn’t expect. Getting a good result in your case is effort well spent, if it allows you to keep your driver’s license and keep that drug conviction off your record. Contact me for a free consultation. For a simple paraphernalia charge in justice court, hiring an attorney might be more affordable than you would expect.