Utah Criminal Attorney–Jake Gunter

prescription drug charges attorney Utah Jake Gunter Just because your family doctor has prescribed you pain killers, does not mean that you can have other people’s prescriptions drugs, even if they volunteer them to you. You must have a legal prescription or you can be charged with illegal prescription drug possession.

Taking an Ambien without a prescription is illegal, even though the plane ride is really long or the drive home in the back seat will go easier.   Prescription drugs in Utah can only be taken when prescribed by your medical doctor.

Driving under the influence of lawfully prescribed prescription drugs can also land you a Utah DUI, even though the drugs were being taken as prescribed and in therapeutic range.

Common Utah Prescription Drug Charges.

(1). Impaired Driving/DUI/Metabolite. Impaired Driving, where the impairing substance is lawfully prescribed prescriptions drugs. In this situation, the police officer feels that you were impaired while using your prescriptions, even though you were taking them as prescribed by your doctor. The police officer may feel a lack of sleep, or a combination of alcohol and other drugs may have put you over the top and caused your driving to be impaired.

Another scenario is where you have used prescriptions drugs, without a valid prescription from your doctor, then are pulled over for impaired driving and your blood is drawn, showing a controlled substance.   Here you may have had a valid prescription in the past, but it has lapsed. The charges will still come forth and you need to be able to articulate this to the prosecutors.

(2). Illegal Possession. Illegally Possessing Oxycontin, Percocet, Lortab, Xanax, Valium or any prescription-only drug that must come from a medical doctor that was not prescribed to you by that medical doctor.

(3). Appropriate Container. Prescription pills must be carried in an appropriate container and not just loose in your pockets. This is an easy mistake but carries Utah criminal charges.

(4). Specific Person Only. Prescription drugs can only be used by the person who they are prescribed to. They cannot be given to friends who may be in pain, or family members needing some comfort while traveling. Military members are especially susceptible to prescription drug use for their extensive traveling throughout time zones coupled with long days.

(5). Prescription Drug Pill Stealing. Prescription drug pill stealing from your family members will carry harsh Utah criminal charges.

(6). Prescription fraud. Only certain types of medical providers have prescription authority. In the past, prescribing medical authorities use written pads to note the drug orders. Stealing and falsifying these prescription orders can get you in big trouble. Merely possessing altered prescription pads is also a crime.


Utah’s penalties for illegal prescription drug charges is found at Utah Code Ann. 58-37-1. That code provision is about five pages long and requires a close read every time due to constant changes in Utah’s drug crimes.

The severity of a Utah criminal prescription drug charge is dependent on many factors, some are listed below.

(1). Distribution of illegal prescription drugs is treated harder than mere possession.

(2). Distribution near churches, schools and jails are treated separate and more harshly.

(3). Having multiple past drug convictions are stacked and used to enhance your sentence.

(4). Use of a firearm during the commission of the offense.

(5). Your past criminal record.

(6). Your efforts at any rehabilitation.

(7). Where minors involved?

(8). What type of prescription drug was involved can increase or decrease the severity.