Can I still get drug possession charges?
Often people wonder if they can be prosecuted in Utah for having an illegal drug in their system, even if they ingested such in a different state.
In words, they often ask us, “Am I safe to have an illegal drug in my system if I consumed it in another state?”
To the chagrin of the people that call us, the answer is typically no. However, Utah still has to convince a judge or jurors that you knowingly and voluntarily ingested the illegal drug. It’s pretty easy for a jury to think a person knew they had drugs in their pants pocket, but when it’s found in one’s body, it’s much harder to prove the defendant knew the drug was ingested. After all, people get drugged all the time against their will (just ask the Cosby accusers).
It used to be (according to the Ireland case of 2006, which was handed down by the Utah Supreme Court) that consumption could not be proven just because a person had a “measurable amount” of a controlled substance in their system – even if they knew it was in their body from an ingestion that took place outside of Utah.
But, that law has been changed.
Here is what the law now says:
“Consumption” means ingesting [within the borders of the state of Utah] or having any measurable amount of a controlled substance in a person’s body . . . . Utah Code Ann. § 58-37-2.
The Ireland case is no longer the law to be looked at for most people in this situation; rather, you need to look at State v. Robinson, 2011 UT 30, 254 P.3d 183.
So, if you’re ever asked the question Did you know you had an illegal drug in your body? you would be wise to ZIP IT, and call an attorney as soon as possible.
Call us at 801-651-1512. We can help.