Drug Attorneys Missoula MT
Looking for drug attorneys in Missoula, MT because you have been charged with possessing, manufacturing, or dealing controlled dangerous substances (CDS)? A drug charge is serious business, as being convicted can bar you from certain jobs, loans, and even colleges. You’re in the right place to learn what you’re up against and how an expert dangerous drug defense attorney can help with your case.
Montana is strict about CDS, regulating not only drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, but the elements involved in making them — making a good Missoula drug attorney essential. Montana is notoriously harsh about marijuana in particular. In addition to criminal drug charges for just possessing marijuana, it’s also illegal to drive under the influence of pot, whether you have more than 5 ng/ml of THC in your bloodstream or simply seem impaired. Even just sharing marijuana with someone can land you a charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.
Plus, certain drugs are considered less dangerous than others, so some might carry less strict penalties. Federal and state courts look to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, for drug classifications range from schedule I to V, with schedule I drugs considered the most dangerous and most likely to be abused. Schedule V drugs are most medicinally accepted and have the lowest potential for abuse. Here are a few examples of drugs in each schedule:
- Schedule I: Marijuana, MDMA, heroin, LSD, and quaaludes
- Schedule II: Adderall, morphine, and oxycontin
- Schedule III: Vicodin and cold/cough syrup
- Schedule IV: Ambien, Klonopin, Xanax, and Valium
- Schedule V: Substances containing very small amounts of codeine, opium, and other drugs
The schedule of the drug you were found with isn’t the only factor in your case, however — the judge will also consider the quantity you were found with, whether you intended to distribute it, whether it is your first offense, and other factors. Trafficking — or possessing dangerous drugs with intent to distribute — is a very serious crime and one that seasoned drug attorneys in Missoula, MT will know how to deal with. Read on for more details about drug charges in our state and how a Missoula drug lawyer can help.
Why Hire Judnich Law?
We here on the Judnich Law Team have defended hundreds of Montana residents accused of possessing, manufacturing, or dealing drugs, from first-time offenders to those accused of felonies. Since Martin Judnich worked as a prosecutor, he knows from experience what it takes to build a strong defense case for drug charges. (Read the bios of the Judnich Law Office here.) Our team will help you understand Montana’s complex drug schedules, how you should plead, how to reduce your sentence, and what to do if you’re a repeat drug offender.
It’s no exaggeration to say your future is at stake, so make sure you have an expert in your corner. Call or email us at Judnich Law today for a free consultation about your rights and options related to charges for possessing, manufacturing, or dealing drugs. We’re really good at what we do — just read our client testimonials to get an idea of how we can help you. Enlisting a Missoula drug attorney could make all the difference in your case…and thus your record and reputation. Isn’t that worth investing in?
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Issues Facing Those with Drug Charges
It sounds obvious, but after receiving a drug charge, do not use drugs or alcohol. You may be given a urinalysis or other drug test when you show up for court, so whatever you do, don’t come with drugs in your system or in your pockets like Missoula woman Roxanna Smith did.
Once you have been charged and before you’ve been sentenced, your drug attorney may advise you to get an independent assessment to see whether you have a drug problem, and if so, begin treatment. Even if not, your MIssoula drug lawyer may suggest drug education courses. All of these may help increase your favor with the judge and/or jury.
Montana Drug Penalties
As any Montana drug lawyer will tell you, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and intent to distribute are very serious crimes in Montana. Both carry significant potential prison sentences.
Possession: “Possession” of drugs is a difficult concept for most people to understand and it is even more complicated in a court of law. It does not matter who purchased or owns the drugs; the law of constructive possession means that if you had the ability to be near the location of illegal drugs, you are guilty of possession. Even if your roommate or significant other is at fault, you could be charged with possession if the CDS is in your home or car.
According to Montana Code 45-10-103, it’s a misdemeanor to possess drugs or drug-related paraphernalia (that would include a bong, but not a blacklight poster, for instance). If you’re convicted for your first offense of personal marijuana possession for 60 grams or less, the penalty is up to six months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $500. (First-time offenders might be able to swing a deferred sentence.) Repeat offenders in Montana can be fined up to $1,000 and sent to county jail or state prison for up to 5 years.
Possession of anabolic steroids, meth, cocaine, and other drugs carries heavier penalties. A first-time conviction for possessing anabolic steroids could get you six months in the county jail or a fine of $100-$500. Being convicted of possessing opiates such as morphine and heroin, however, can mean two to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. Repeat offenses for possessing meth have extensive consequences.
Intent to distribute: If you have large quantities of drugs, are observed during a drug deal, are found with drugs and packaging materials, or have tons of money lying around, the police may try to use this to prove your intent to distribute a controlled substance. (A drug scale or list of customers’ names and numbers will also be used against you.)
Possessing CDS with the intent to distribute, no matter what the amount, is a felony that carries jail time of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $50,000. With marijuana, the punishment is even stricter if you are convicted of distributing it to a minor — an additional $50,000 and up to two more years in prison. (You can read more about Montana’s marijuana laws here.)
Montana Drug Education
The future of your charges and liberty depend on you making smart choices. The first smart choice you can make is investigating drug attorneys in Missoula, MT to effectively research all your legal issues and rights.
The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures of property. That means a cop can’t just pull you over because you have a marijuana leaf sticker on the back of your truck. But watch out if you’re speeding or have a burned out headlight. Your car may be searched if you’re pulled over for a valid reason and the officer has “probable cause” to think you may have illegal substances.
If a police officer smells marijuana outside your house, that is also probable cause, and they can obtain a warrant to search your home or car, give you a blood test, or frisk you. Police do not need a warrant to visually “search” areas that are public and have no expectation of privacy — such as if you have drugs in plain sight in your vehicle.
If charged with a drug offense, it is vital that you retain a drug attorney in Missoula immediately and do not make any statements. (You’re exercising your Miranda rights.) Politely refuse a search of your body, home, and vehicle unless an officer has a search warrant, and then ask if you may go. Keep in mind that police may tell you a friend has confessed and implicated you after you both have been arrested, but this may not be true.. Do not confess — wait for your Missoula drug attorney!
After you are charged and bailed out, your first court appearance is the arraignment, where you plead guilty or not guilty. Your next court date will be scheduled at the arraignment. If you and your Missoula drug lawyer opt for a plea bargain, you will not have to appear in court for a trial by jury. If you plead guilty or are found as such by a jury, you’ll have to appear in court for sentencing by the judge. If a jury finds you guilty and you want to appeal the decision, your case may go to appellate court.
In some cases, the Missoula drug attorneys at Judnich Law. could get felony drug manufacturing, dealing, or forfeiture charges reduced to misdemeanors — with no jail time — as we have in several recent cases like State v. Mathis and State v. King. When building your defense, a drug lawyer will consider factors like whether there was probable cause to search you or your property, if the police had a valid search warrant, and other factors that could help your case.
If your drug attorney does get a felony lowered to a misdemeanor, you may have to take a course on dangerous drugs at a certain drug dependency facility or rehab center. You may also be required to undergo treatment for a drug dependency (Montana Code 45-9-208).
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Clients Trust Judnich Law
“I came into Judnich Law Office frustrated after settling my claim before I knew I was badly hurt.
Marty was able to reopen my claim and get me the settlement I deserved.
I was very lucky to discover the Judnich Law Office, and hope everyone else does.”
— Jennifer B.
“Marty took my case when I thought no one else would and got me the best possible outcome.
He did what I thought was the impossible and kept me out of jail.”
— Eddie Jones