Imagine walking through a Provo elementary school around 8 p.m. on a Saturday night. The Provo School District is clearly not in secession and you are not some scumbag pushing marijuana to kids. You and your buddy decide to smoke a marijuana joint on way through the school soccer fields on your way to your friend’s house. Suddenly a Provo police officer stops you and you are cited for simple marijuana possession and told to contact the Provo City Justice Court. You are guilty of using marijuana, but a Class A Misdemeanor is a bit harsh.
Instead you receive a notice of a Class A Misdemeanor being prosecuted in the Provo District Court for violation of a drug free zone. I.E., the school soccer fields. Your Utah driver’s license is at stake and this is your first criminal charge.
If you are charged with simple marijuana possession, a Class B Misdemeanor, but the offense occurs in a drug free zone, then the charge is upped one grade in severity to a Class A Misdemeanor.
Utah’s drug free zone is defined at Utah Code Ann. 58-37-8(4) (2018). Here is a list of drug free zones in Utah.
(i) A public or private elementary or secondary school or on the grounds of any of those schools during the hours of 6 a.m. through 10 p.m.;
(ii) A public or private vocational school or postsecondary institution or on the grounds of any of those schools or institutions during the hours of 6 a.m. through 10 p.m.;
(iii) In or on the grounds of a preschool or child-care facility during the preschool’s or facility’s hours of operation;
(iv) In a public park, amusement park, arcade, or recreation center when the public or amusement park, arcade, or recreation center is open to the public;
(v) In or on the grounds of a house of worship as defined in Section 76-10-501;
(vi) In or on the grounds of a library when the library is open to the public;
(vii) Within any area that is within 100 feet of any structure, facility, or grounds included in Subsections (4)(a)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), and (vi);
(viii) in the presence of a person younger than 18 years of age, regardless of where the act occurs; or
(ix) for the purpose of facilitating, arranging, or causing the transport, delivery, or distribution of a substance in violation of this section to an inmate or on the grounds of any correctional facility as defined in Section 76-8-311.3.
You can read the entire statute here. The drug free zones are highlighted. Drug Free Zones Highlighted in Statute