HB348 made substantial changes to practices and procedures in Utah’s criminal justice system. Targeted policy shifts included penalty reductions to certain low-level traffic and drug related offenses to reduce burden placed on local jail and the state’s prison population.1 The bill further restricted the use of drug free zone enhancements to target their use in areas of elevated public safety concern.

Drug-Free Zone Enhancements

Policies in HB348 restructured drug-free zone (DFZ) enhancements to better target chronic felony offenders and drug dealers. The figure below shows the percent of drug filings with a DFZ enhancement in the state of Utah between fiscal years 2014-19 by county. As seen, a large variation in their use existed across counties prior to the reform. Starting in Fy 2016, a significant shift occurred, with the percent of drug filings involving an enhancement drastically decreasing across the state.