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Saving Your Driver License With A Drug Conviction

Drug Convictions Lead to a Six Month Loss of Driver License

Save your driver license even with a drug possession conviction.
If you get a drug possession conviction, Utah law generally requires that you lose your driver license.

One of the most annoying collateral consequences of a drug conviction is the loss of a driver’s license. This is true for the simplest of marijuana possession charges to the most serious of charges includes possessing cocaine and heroin. Utah Code 53-3-220 reads: “…the division shall immediately suspend for six months the license of a person upon receiving a record of conviction for (i) any violation of: (A) Title 58, Chapter 37, Utah Controlled Substances Act; (B) Title 58, Chapter 37a, Utah Drug Paraphernalia Act; (C) Title 58, Chapter 37b, Imitation Controlled Substances Act; (D) Title 58, Chapter 37c, Utah Controlled Substance Precursor Act; or (E) Title 58, Chapter 37d, Clandestine Drug Lab Act…” Thus, every person who has a few grams of weed can potentially lose their ability to commute to work and school and even lose their ability to make a livelihood if that depends on having to be able to drive a motor vehicle.

How Does One Save His Driver License?

Fortunately the legislature has provided an exception to the “drug conviction license loss” rule. Section 53-3-2 of the Utah Code provides: “…(c) (i) A court is not required to forward to the division within five days an abstract of the court record of the conviction for a [drug] violation…and the Driver License Division is not required to suspend a person’s license for a [drug] violation…if: (A) the violation did not involve a motor vehicle; and (B) the person convicted of a [drug] violation…: (I) is participating in or has successfully completed substance abuse treatment at a licensed substance abuse treatment program that is approved by the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health…; or (II) is participating in or has successfully completed probation through the Department of Corrections Adult Probation and Parole…”

If you get charged with a drug possession crime that did not involve a traffic stop, speak to us about whether it would make sense to get going in a substance abuse program so as to avoid the potential loss of your driver’s license. We suggest against entering into such a program until you discuss it with an attorney.

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