Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Aggressively Defend Clients Facing Serious Narcotics Offenses
Wyoming is known for taking a “tough on crime” approach, and drug crimes are no exception. Police and prosecutors are constantly on the lookout for drug crimes, ranging from simple possession to drug trafficking. And when they identify someone they suspect of committing a narcotics offense, they take the crime very seriously. If you’ve been charged with a narcotics offense, it is imperative that you seek the immediate assistance of a skilled Wyoming drug crimes defense attorney.
At The Criminal Defense Firm, we proudly represent individuals who were arrested and charged with Wyoming drug crimes. Our lawyers have centuries of experience handling all types of drug crimes, ranging from first-time misdemeanor possession to felony drug trafficking and everything in between. Several of our senior attorneys help high-ranking positions as state and federal prosecutors, giving us valuable insight into how the government handles these investigations. And because we don’t rely on junior associates or secretaries, from the moment you call The Criminal Defense Firm, we will connect you to a senior trial lawyer who will handle your case from beginning to end.
Wyoming Drug Laws
Wyoming has some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. Like many other states, Wyoming law breaks down all controlled substances into five “schedules.”
Schedule I – Substances with no accepted medical uses and have a high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ecstasy.
Schedule II – Substances that have a high potential for abuse and are likely to result in severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II substances include methadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.
Schedule III – Substances with greater medical uses and less potential for abuse than Schedule I and Schedule II substances, but that still can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule III substances include Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV – Substances with greater medical uses and a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs such as Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Versed, Restoril, and Halcion.
Schedule V – Substances that contain limited quantities of narcotics, such as codeine-based cough syrups.
The seriousness of a drug crime depends on several factors:
- They type of drug you allegedly possessed;
- The amount of the drug the government claims you possessed;
- Whether the government believes you sold or intended to sell the drugs; and
- Whether you have a prior drug conviction on your record.
There are several types of drug charges one can face in Wyoming.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Under Wyoming Statutes § 35-7-1031, it is illegal for anyone to “knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice.” This is the state’s drug possession law. In other words, if you were arrested for drugs and there is no evidence that you intended to sell the narcotics, you will be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Some people refer to this as simple possession.
The punishment for simple possession in Wyoming carries a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense. However, anyone convicted of a third or subsequent possession charge faces a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of as much as $5,000.
However, there are specific situations in which a possession charge carries an even stricter penalty. For example, possession of more than a very small amount of a Schedule I, II, or III drug carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of $10,000 for a first offense.
Manufacture, Delivery or Possession with Intent to Deliver
If you were arrested for manufacturing or selling drugs, you will face more serious charges. Additionally, even if there is no direct evidence that you sold drugs, the government may charge you with possession with intent to deliver, which carries the same punishment as if you had actually sold the drugs.
When it comes to proving that you had the intent to deliver narcotics, prosecutors will consider the following:
- The amount of drugs;
- Whether you also possessed any drug packaging, scales, or other drug-selling paraphernalia;
- Any statements you made;
- Whether you had a large amount of small bills on you at the time of your arrest; and
- Whether you had any way to ingest the drugs.
The punishments for manufacturing, selling or possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance are severe.
Methamphetamine or any Schedule I or II Narcotics: A maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Any other Schedule I, II or III Drugs: A maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Schedule IV Drugs: A maximum of 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Schedule V Drugs: A maximum of 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
These punishments double, however, if the person you allegedly sold drugs to was under 18 and you were at least three years older than they were.
Defenses to Wyoming Drug Crimes
Facing a drug charge can be overwhelming, regardless of whether it’s your first criminal case or you’ve been through the process several times before. However, just because the government charges you with a drug crime doesn’t mean that you will be found guilty. Prosecutors must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt—if they can. At The Criminal Defense Firm, our Wyoming drug crime lawyers have extensive experience creating compelling defenses to even the most serious charges. Some of the most common defenses in Wyoming drug cases include:
Although not technically a defense, under Wyoming Statute § 35-7-1037, there is a mechanism for first-time offenders to qualify for a deferred adjudication. Under this process, after either plead guilty or are found guilty, you can ask the court to hold off on entering a legal finding of guilt. At the court’s discretion, it can defer further proceedings and place you on probation. If you comply with the terms of probation, the court will then discharge the case. However, if you violate any term of your probation, the court can automatically enter a finding of guilt.
This is a good option for first-time offenders who believe that they can comply with all the terms of probation. If you successfully complete a deferred adjudication, there the case will not show up as a conviction on your record. Thus, this option can spare you some of the most serious collateral consequences that come along with a drug conviction.
Challenging the Source of the Government’s Evidence
In drug cases, one of the most common defenses involves asking the court to suppress illegally obtained evidence. Under the state and federal constitutions, all citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. While the nuances of search and seizure law are complex, essentially, this means that law enforcement must have justification to stop, search, or arrest you.
Depending on the nature of the encounter, law enforcement officers must have either probable cause or reasonable suspicion. For example, police officers must have probable cause to arrest you; however, they only need reasonable suspicion to stop you while you’re walking down the street. If police officers have reasonable suspicion, they can perform a limited pat-down. If during the course of the pat-down, officers develop probable cause, they can then arrest you.
However, because these laws are complex and often misunderstood by police officers, they commonly make mistakes, which can lead to the violation of your rights. In these situations, a Wyoming drug crime defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress any illegally obtained evidence with the trial court. During the motion, your attorney will cross-examine the police officer, attempting to establish that their investigation violated your rights. If the court finds that the evidence in question was the result of an illegal stop or search, it will suppress the evidence, meaning it cannot be admitted at trial. Often, this leaves prosecutors with no evidence to prove the allegations, requiring they drop the case.
Challenging Constructive Possession
Before a judge or jury can convict you of a Wyoming drug crime, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you “possessed” the drugs. In some cases, proving possession is straightforward; for example, if you had the drugs on you at the time of your arrest. However, not all cases are this simple. For example, if police officers find drugs in a car occupied by several individuals. While there may be enough evidence to arrest you in this situation, to prove you guilty, prosecutors must present evidence suggesting that you knew the drugs were there and intended to exercise control over them. A knowledgeable Wyoming drug crime lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecutor’s assumptions that you possessed drugs that were not found on you or in your belongings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is marijuana legal in Wyoming?
No. Wyoming is one of the few states in which marijuana is illegal for both recreational and personal use. In fact, under current law, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance—the most dangerous classification of drug. While this may not make sense or seem fair, Wyoming lawmakers continue to take the possession, sale and manufacture of marijuana very seriously. Until lawmakers bring Wyoming’s marijuana laws in line with those of other states that have legalized or decriminalized the drug, The Criminal Defense Firm is vigorously defending those facing Wyoming marijuana charges.
Q: What should I look for in a Wyoming drug crime defense lawyer?
One of the most important decisions you will make related to your case is which attorney you select to represent you. While there are many Wyoming criminal defense lawyers who are eager to take your case, it is essential that you select an attorney who has significant experience successfully handling drug cases. Many lawyers handle any type of case that comes through their door. While this counts as experience on some level, it isn’t the same as having experience litigating drug cases. Criminal charges involving narcotics raise unique issues that lawyers who are not intimately familiar with these cases may miss. At The Criminal Defense Firm, our Wyoming criminal defense attorneys regularly represent clients facing misdemeanor and felony drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.
Contact The Criminal Defense Firm Today to Speak with a Dedicated Wyoming Drug Crime Defense Lawyer About Your Case
The thought of taking on the government in a Wyoming drug case can be overwhelming. However, this is not a journey you need to embark on alone. At The Criminal Defense Firm, our dedicated team of Wyoming criminal defense attorneys has centuries of experience defending clients charged with drug crimes. We take an individualized and comprehensive approach to each case we handle, ensuring that your arrest will have as little impact on your life as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give The Criminal Defense Firm a call at 866-603-4540. You can also connect with our attorneys through the firm’s online contact form.