The Ramifications of an Out-of-State Drug Charge
In the recent 2020 election, Wyoming’s neighbor states of South Dakota and Montana voted to legalize marijuana possession for both medicinal and recreational use. While South Dakota’s governor has contested the new law, residents and visitors to Montana cannot be charged with possession if caught with small amounts of marijuana as of January 1, 2021. However, while many residents of Wyoming may be tempted to travel out-of-state to take advantage of this law, there are several other important laws you should be aware of.
Marijuana in Wyoming
Marijuana is not legal in Wyoming for either medicinal or recreational use, and our state has some of the harshest penalties. If caught using marijuana, you can be punished with a misdemeanor charge with up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, even if you did not use it, possessing at least three ounces of marijuana can lead to a misdemeanor charge with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Wyoming does have a conditional release program that allows defendants to enter alternative sentencing programs, but this is only available if it is their first offense.
In addition, being caught with over three ounces of marijuana is a felony, which comes with a punishment of up to five years in state prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. You may also lose your right to own a firearm, vote, and work in certain jobs.
Bottom line, Wyoming can bring unforgiving punishments down upon anyone who is caught with marijuana within state lines. Even if an individual purchased marijuana legally in a neighboring state such as Montana or Colorado, he or she is only allowed to possess and use those drugs within that state and only within certain amounts. You can face even harsher charges for traveling across state lines with marijuana.
Serious Charges for Crossing State Lines With Drugs
Trafficking is one of the most serious drug charges someone can face as it brings both state and federal investigations. In Wyoming, drug trafficking is specifically defined as the “unlawful” delivery of a “controlled substance,” according to Wyoming Statute § 35-7-1031. If convicted of trafficking marijuana, you can be sentenced to up to 10 years in state prison and fined a maximum of $10,000.
Typically, if you are caught with marijuana, you will face a misdemeanor or felony charge based on the quantity of the drug in your possession. State law enforcement will only pursue trafficking charges if they believe suspects were transporting large quantities with the intent to distribute or sell, although the police are more likely to suspect individuals pulled over along state borders. Along with trafficking charges, if the officer suspects that you have driven while under the influence of marijuana, you could face drugged DUI charges.
However, if you are suspected of trafficking drugs into Wyoming, this may lead to a federal investigation that can involve the DEA and FBI. Federal marijuana trafficking charges are based on the quantity of drugs you allegedly trafficked, ranging from a maximum of five years for less than 50 kg to 40 years for at least 100 kg.
As more and more states legalize and decriminalize marijuana across the country, these laws may drastically change in the new few years. But until then, Wyoming residents should understand that our state’s courts can bring down harsh penalties for both possessing and transporting marijuana.
If you or someone you love is facing a serious drug charge, you should not hesitate to contact a Gillette criminal defense lawyer at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C. We have experience defending clients in felony drug cases and achieving positive results on their behalf. Let us use our knowledge and experience to keep you out of prison. Call our office at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free consultation.
Your FREE Case Strategy Session
On All Injury and Criminal Cases
Contact our office right now to speak to
someone who wants to help you.