Former Prosecutors Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota
Facing charges for possession of marijuana is scary. But it’s only the beginning of the different ways a drug crime conviction can change your life.
Wyoming has some of the harshest drug laws in the country. While many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, possession of marijuana remains illegal in Wyoming.
Depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession, you could face between 5 and 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. And while there are various defenses available to someone who is charged with possession of marijuana, there is always a chance that you may be convicted of a drug crime.
But not everyone convicted of possession of marijuana needs to go to jail.
In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for an alternative sentence that would avoid jail time, especially if you are a first-time offender.
Juvenile offenders facing charges of possession of marijuana are often eligible for diversion programs. These programs typically require that the alleged offender plead guilty to the offense and complete a diversion program that lasts between 6 months and 1 year. Upon successful completion of the program, there will be no record that the juvenile offender committed the crime.
Adults who have been charged with possession of marijuana may be able to avoid a criminal record by completing a rehabilitation program that often includes community service and drug education, as well as monitoring and drug testing.
In addition, the Wyoming legislature passed laws that are intended to reduce the number of repeat offenders and the costs associated with incarceration, primarily by reducing the number of people who are sent to jail for minor drug offenses.
But these treatment options and alternatives to jail time come with a cost. In some cases, the expense of drug treatment, therapy, supervision, and drug testing costs more than the fine that would be imposed by the judge. And reporting to a probation officer, attending drug education programs, and completing community service can make it difficult to find and keep a job.
In addition to jail time, fines, and the cost of treatment and drug education programs, someone facing drug charges will need to address the indirect effects of a drug conviction. These are called “collateral consequences” and they refer to the civil and administrative penalties that come with being convicted of a drug crime, as well as the difficulties that are encountered by someone who has a drug crime conviction on their criminal record.
Collateral consequences can include the loss of a professional license or restrictions placed on a professional license, loss or suspension of your driver’s license, not being considered for certain jobs, and loss of eligibility for many public assistance programs. They also include the fact that many people with a drug crime conviction on their criminal record often face difficulty finding a place to live, and how a criminal conviction could impact child custody arrangements if you have children.
In addition to the possibility of jail time, the cost of diversion programs, and the collateral consequences of a marijuana conviction, if you are convicted of possession of marijuana or another drug crime you will face enhanced penalties if you face criminal charges in the future.
This is particularly concerning because of the difficulty many people face in staying drug-free.
Because of the potential effects of a conviction for possession of marijuana, it’s important that you hire an experienced criminal defense team for your very first drug charge. A criminal defense team will investigate the charges against you, raise any available legal defenses, and urge the court to consider alternative sentences that may allow you to participate in a diversion program and avoid having a criminal record upon successful completion of the program.
At Just Criminal Law, Christina L. Willians and her legal team provide aggressive legal defense to people who have been charged with possession of marijuana and other drug crimes.
Ms. Williams is a former prosecutor who has dedicated her career to the practice of criminal law. She has an experienced team of criminal defense professionals supporting her, helping her to thoroughly investigate and challenge the allegations against you as they fight to protect your one shot at justice.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.