QUESTION: I was travelling through Utah and got pulled over for speeding and they found marijuana. What can I do? What are all the consequences regarding my out-of-state status?
ANSWER: The basics are that you must deal with the simple marijuana citation, even it if it legal in your home state. Further, not dealing with it will suspend your driver’s license and a bench warrant will issue for your arrest.
Unless you were arrested for a DUI or domestic violence, most Utah misdemeanor tickets are citations where you promise to appear in court.
On the simple drug possession citation in the middle left hand side it lists the court and that you must call within 5-14 days to set up a court hearing. When you hire us, we do that for you.
Arrest Warrant. When you hire us we make sure to deal with the drug charges, call the court and get a pretrial conference set up. If you fail to call the court a bench warrant will issue for your arrest.
Additionally, if you fail to answer the citation for even simple drug possession your home state driver’s license will be suspended. And likely, you will not even know it unless you keep your address current on your driver’s license. Otherwise the suspension letter will go to the wrong address.
If you have called the Juab County Justice Court within 5-14 days, the court clerk will set up an Arraignment. A very wasteful court hearing. See this article on what arraignments are.
The arraignment informs you of the criminal charges against you and provides an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.
We convert that arraignment to a pretrial conference where real business can get done.
Most attorneys in rural Utah are not specialized in one or two practice areas. Often, there are not many attorneys even present in these rural areas. So you have to call up north. Today’s legal landscape most rural county criminal hearings are held by video. Before video court, northern attorneys accepting cases in Southern Utah had to ensure that the plea offer was accepted by mail in order to avoid the long drive and court.
Here are some traits to look for in hiring a Utah criminal defense attorney for your out-of-state charges:
(1). Specialized in Criminal Defense. Does the attorney only practice 1-2 areas of law? A more specialized attorney the better results and more specialized knowledge on how those courts works and what the “going offer” is. This is your first drug charge, this is the attorney’s thousandth drug case.
(2). A Trial Lawyer. Most of the time you don’t need to hire a trial lawyer. But when you do, the prosecution respects an attorney who is willing to try a jury trial. Win or lose. You will need to hire a trial lawyer especially in domestic violence cases and assault and battery charges.
(3). Years of Experience. How many years has the attorney bee practicing law? It helps to hire young doctors and old lawyers. Lawyer is a people business where relationships matter and experience is only gained through years of trying jury trials.