Being charged with possession of drugs, any kind of drugs, has the potential to change your life. In the state of Montana, a drug charge like this can have long-term effects including hefty fines and even jail time. Whether it’s marijuana or cocaine, you need someone on your side to help guide you through the legal process in an effort to minimize the potential fall-out from your arrest.

The exact penalty you face for a drug possession charge depends on a variety of factors. No two cases are the same. But, you can get a general idea of what you’re up against by looking at the type of substance you were caught with and your criminal history.

Marijuana Possession

Though attitudes about marijuana are changing across the country, Montana currently has some of the more severe marijuana laws. If you are caught in possession of pot, you will be charged with a crime. It has not been legalized here, nor has it been reduced to an infraction, or decriminalized.

Possession of less than 60 grams of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor offense. A first-time charge could result in up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines. If this is your second offense, it could result in up to 3 years in jail and $1,000 in fines.

If you are accused of possessing more than 60 grams of marijuana, you will be charged with a felony and face up to 5 years in the prison system, along with fines reaching a possible $50,000.

Possession of Opiates

Opiates are a class of drugs that includes heroin and morphine. Under Montana law, possession of these drugs is considered a felony and can result in a sentence of 2 to 5 years in prison along with $50,000 in fines.

Possession of Anabolic Steroids

If you are accused of possessing anabolic steroids, you will likely face a misdemeanor charge for your first offense, and face up to 6 months in jail and fines reaching $500.

Possession of Methamphetamines, Cocaine, and Other Drugs

Possession of most other drugs in Montana is considered a felony and can result in up to 5 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Montana §45-9-102

First Offense Exceptions

Depending on your criminal history, you could qualify for some form of deferment for your drug possession charge. If this is your first offense, the court may elect to put you on probation rather than send you to trial. If successful during the term of probation, you can avoid jail time and some of the harsher penalties associated with a criminal charge. If, however, you violate the probation, you could face the original sentence prescribed by Montana law.

A drug possession charge can truly change your life. In some instances, it could provide you with the opportunity to get help. If you are an addict, drug treatment could be included in a plea agreement and may help you avoid jail time as well. Talking with a local defense lawyer will help you determine all of the options available to you.