Utah Controlled Substances Act Challenged

Late last week the Supreme Court of Utah delivered their opinion on a case that tried the constitutionality of Utah’s Controlled Substance Act. The question before the court was whether or not U.C.A. ยงยง 58-37-8(2)(a)(i) violated the Utah or US Constitution. More specifically the statute defines an element of the offense as any “measurable amount” of the controlled substance found in the defendants body. This was the focus of the constitutional attack.

State v. Robinson

In August of 2007, Chance Robinson was stopped by Lehi City police on suspicion of driving without insurance. During the stop Robinson had trouble speaking and his eyes were bloodshot so one of the officers administered multiple sobriety tests. Robinson failed these tests and was arrested for DUI. Robinson was later tested for drugs, and he tested positive for methamphetamine. The State charged Robinson with possession or use of methamphetamine among other charges.

Constitutional Arguments

While there were a number of constitutional arguments made the two main arguments were that the statute violated due process under the Utah Constitution and that the statute violated the Uniform Operation of Laws Clause of the Utah Constitution. The due process argument was made in a couple of different ways but was basically stating that an offense was based on an act in the past that could have taken place in another state with kinder possession laws. So the offense is based on the body taking a while to get ride of the drugs in its system, and this does not allow for a person a reasonable opportunity to comply with the statute. The Uniform Operation of Laws argument was basically stating that the statute is not applied equally to all people because two peoples bodies could digest the drug at a different rate and they could thus be charged with different levels of offenses for different amounts when they did the same thing. The Court rejected both of these arguments and held that the statue was constitutional.

Provo Criminal Defense Attorney

The importance of this case is that it establishes precedent that this statute is constitutional and it will be very difficult to argue in the future that it is otherwise. If you or your attorney is not aware of this case and try to argue the constitutionality of this statute you could be wasting a lot of time and money. The criminal defense lawyers at Provo Criminal Defense are experienced in the law and can help you avoid mistakes that could cost you in the long run. Contact us day or night to find out what we can do for you.


Posted in DUI, Utah Drug Crimes

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