A recent blog post covered a story about a man who was arrested on enhanced drug charges. In that case, the man charges were enhanced after he was arrested for drug possession at his home located near a church. Like in this case, in Utah, there are several reasons why drug charges could be enhanced.
Under section 58-37-8(4)(a) of the Utah code, certain locations can results in enhanced penalties if a person is caught using or possessing drugs in this in these areas. In these cases, people automatically face increased penalties if convicted. Under this statute, these locations include playgrounds, parks, schools, arcades, childcare facilities and other places where children are likely present. The statute also includes houses of worship, shopping malls, theaters, stadiums and other recreational facilities. This section also increases penalties for drug possession or use on the parking lots adjacent to these facilities.
Additionally, under section 58-37-8(4)(a), people are subject to enhance penalties if caught with drugs within 1000 feet of any of the places listed in the section. Furthermore, penalties are also enhanced if people are caught with drugs in the presence of a person younger than 18 — no matter where they are.
If convicted of a first degree felony, under this section the person will be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison. If a person’s conviction is for something less than a first-degree felony, then the person’s sentence will be enhanced by one degree of the maximum penalty for the offense the person was convicted of.
As in most cases, there are exceptions to this rule. Therefore, it is important for anyone who is been accused of drug possession charges in Utah to seek legal advice.