Criminal Defense Attorney Billings, MT
In Montana, all crimes carry potential fines and jail (or prison) time. Successfully defending against criminal charges is not easy, and judges in Montana have significant discretion for imposing sentences based on the severity of the allegations involved. As a result, defending against criminal charges requires experienced legal representation; and, if you are facing charges, it is important that you speak with a Billings, MT criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Billings, MT criminal defense lawyers at The Criminal Defense Firm represent individuals charged with all types of misdemeanor and felony offenses. This includes drug crimes, violent crimes, property crimes, and white-collar crimes, among others. Regardless of the allegations against you, we can use our experience to fight for a favorable result before, during, and/or after trial.
About Our Billings, MT Criminal Defense Lawyers
Our lawyers rely on centuries of combined experience to effectively represent our clients, and many of our lawyers have decades of experience on their own. Crucially, this includes not only experience as defense lawyers, but as prosecutors as well. As former state and federal prosecutors, our lawyers are not only intimately familiar with the criminal justice process, but they also have an in-depth understanding of when, how, and why the government pursues criminal charges and convictions.
For individuals who are facing criminal charges in Billings, MT, these insights are critical. As a criminal defendant, the more you know about the prosecution’s case strategy, the better. With our lawyers’ experience, we are able to anticipate charges and allegations, and we are able to execute proactive defense strategies focused on securing favorable results as efficiently and privately as possible.
Criminal Cases We Handle in Billings, MT
We defend individuals charged with all types of crimes in Montana. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony (or multiple charges), you need an experienced Billings, MT criminal defense lawyer on your side. The types of cases we handle in Montana’s state and federal courts include:
- Marijuana possession (including medical marijuana possession without a valid license)
- Possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other controlled substances
- Manufacture and cultivation of controlled substances
- Sale and distribution of controlled substances
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
- Other drug and alcohol-related offenses
- Other property crimes
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Homicide and murder
- Other violent crimes
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Unlawful possession of other weapons
- Unauthorized sale of weapons
- Use of a firearm during the commission of a crime
- Willful or negligent discharge of a firearm
- Other weapons offenses
- Check and credit card fraud
- Computer and Internet crimes
- Healthcare fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Other white-collar crimes
Wildlife, Fish, and Game Crimes
- Hunting or fishing without a license
- Hunting out of season
- Possession or transportation of unlawfully killed fish or game
- Unlawful killing of protected wildlife
- Unlawful use of bait or trapping
- Other wildlife, fish, and game violations
We defend individuals charged with money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy, and other crimes as well. If you are facing any type of criminal charge in Billings, MT, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free and confidential consultation.
Criminal Penalties in Montana
When facing criminal charges in Billings, MT, there is a lot you need to know. Making informed decisions is critical, and this starts with understanding what is at stake in your case.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. Unlike many other states, Montana does not assign varying levels of penalties to different “classes” of misdemeanors and felonies. Instead, most penalties are charge-specific, and Montana law gives judges broad discretion to fashion sentences in many cases.
1. Misdemeanor Penalties
In general, a crime is classified as a misdemeanor in Montana if it carries a maximum jail or prison sentence of a year or less. Many misdemeanors also carry fines under Montana law. Some examples of common misdemeanor offenses and their possible sentences include:
- Disorderly Conduct – Up to 10 days in jail (for a second offense) and a $100 fine
- Hunting Deer or Elk Over the Bag Limit – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Petty Theft ($1,500 or Less) – Up to six months in jail (for a second offense) and a $500 fine, or up to a year in jail for a third offense
- Sexual Assault (Nonconsensual Sexual Contact) – Up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense, or up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for a second offense (a third offense is a felony)
- Trespassing – Up to six months in jail and a $500 fine
In many cases, it will be possible to avoid jail time for a misdemeanor by agreeing to (or seeking) a sentencing alternative. For example, depending on the charge (or charges) against you and the facts of your case, a Billings, MT criminal defense lawyer at The Criminal Defense Firm may be able to seek probation, a suspended sentence, or a deferred sentence in lieu of jail time.
2. Felony Penalties
By law, a felony in Montana is any crime that carries a prison sentence of a year or longer. However, felony penalties can range from just over 12 months in jail to decades behind bars. Montana law also still allows for capital punishment (the death penalty) in limited cases, although no judge in the state has imposed the death penalty since the 1990s.
Some examples of common felony offenses and their possible sentences include:
- Aggravated Assault – Up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
- Burglary – Up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine (plus restitution)
- Drug Distribution – Up to 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
- Statutory Rape (with Injury) – Up to 100 years in prison and a $50,000 fine
- Theft (Between $1,500 and $5,000) – Up to three years in prison (for a first offense) and a $1,500 fine
Similar to misdemeanors, it will be possible to argue for a reduced or alternative sentence in many felony cases. But, there are various “sentencing enhancements” that can increase the risks involved with facing a felony charge in Montana as well. For example, if you are charged with using a weapon in connection with the commission of a crime or committing a hate crime, you can face an additional 2 to 10 years behind bars. Montana also has a “three-strikes” (or “persistent felony offender”) law for violent and sexual felonies that imposes a minimum prison term of 5 to 10 years.
3. Penalties for Federal Crimes
If you are facing a federal charge in Montana, you are facing steep penalties. While federal sentences are also charge-specific (in most cases), virtually all federal crimes carry substantial prison terms and fines. Defending against federal charges is very different from fighting a criminal charge in state court, and it is extremely important to have a lawyer with relevant experience on your side. At The Criminal Defense Firm, we have several lawyers who have successfully handled federal cases as prosecutors and defense lawyers.
FAQs: Defending Against Criminal Charges in Billings, MT
Do I Need a Lawyer if I’ve Been Charged with a Crime in Billings, MT?
Yes, if you have been charged with a crime in Billings, MT, it is important that you have an experienced defense lawyer on your side. You could be facing significant penalties, but you could also have several defenses available. An experienced Billings, MT criminal defense lawyer will be able to evaluate all potential defenses, build an effective strategy, and help minimize (if not avoid) any penalties resulting from your arrest.
How Much Is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Billings, MT?
Different criminal defense lawyers charge different rates. While many more-experienced defense lawyers charge more, you do not have to pay unreasonable fees for your legal representation. At The Criminal Defense Firm, we provide fair and transparent pricing, and we will work to favorably resolve your case as cost-effectively as possible.
Should I Tell My Defense Lawyer Everything?
Generally, yes. The more information your defense lawyer has, the more he or she can do to protect you. Even if you committed a crime, you may have defenses available, but your lawyer will need to know the whole story to determine how best to approach your case.
What Outcome Should I Expect When I Hire a Billings, MT Criminal Defense Lawyer?
The outcome you should expect from your criminal case depends heavily on the facts and circumstances involved. No defense lawyer can guarantee that he or she will be able to protect you from a conviction. But, at The Criminal Defense Firm, we can guarantee that we will use our lawyers’ centuries of combined experience to your advantage, and we will do everything we can to help you avoid unnecessary consequences.
Can a Defense Lawyer Help Me Secure a Plea Deal in Montana?
Yes, it is possible to negotiate a plea deal during a criminal case in Montana. If negotiating a plea is your best option, your lawyer at The Criminal Defense Firm will focus on quickly negotiating a plea that minimizes the cost of your defense while also minimizing the consequences of your misdemeanor or felony arrest.
Speak with a Billings, MT Criminal Defense Lawyer for Free
If you need to speak with a Billings, MT criminal defense lawyer, we encourage you to contact us today. Call 866-603-4540 or tell us how we can reach you online to arrange a free and confidential consultation.