Each state has laws barring the possession, manufacture, and distribution of illegal drugs.
Typically, the quantity and the kind of drug are two key factors when determining the severity of the charge.
If you have an arrest on your record for possession of illegal drugs in Wyoming or have a charge for any other drug crime, you’re going to need the help of a Wyoming drug charge lawyer.
The team at Cowboy Country Criminal Defense understands how judges like to send messages to people charged with drug offenses, and how prosecutors take a tough stance against drug crimes to establish a successful defense.
Our team also understands how drug charges can impact your future and wreck opportunities down the road. Let us handle your case.
We can help you get the best possible result—an outcome that you can live with.
Reach out to us online to set up an appointment today.
How Wyoming Handles Drug Possession Charges
Wyoming considers drugs “controlled dangerous substances”.
The categorization of these crimes is according to “schedule”.
Schedule I drugs are the most “dangerous” while Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous.
In other words, they are reduced in severity the higher the schedule of the drug is.
This may not be true of the drug itself, but it is certainly true of the potential penalties one can face.
It is also true that the schedule can be reduced based on the quantity.
Schedule I Drugs
Schedule I drugs are those that the state of Wyoming feels to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value whatsoever.
Unfortunately, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug.
A list of Schedule I drugs is in W.S. § 35-7-1014.
In Schedule I, you will find drugs like:
- Opiates and opioid derivatives, including heroin;
- Hallucinogenic drugs including LSD, PCP, bath salts, marijuana, and psilocybin;
- Stimulants such as certain synthetic amphetamines; and
- Depressants such as quaaludes and barbiturates.
Schedule II Drugs
Schedule II drugs are those that have a high risk of abuse but do have some medical value.
Mystically, methamphetamine is on this list because there are around 1000 people nationwide who have prescriptions for the substance.
Schedule II drugs are in W.S. § 35-7-1016.
Schedule II drugs include:
- Raw opiate derivatives like morphine, codeine, and opium;
- Stimulants like methamphetamine; and
- Depressants like pentobarbital.
Schedule III Drugs
Schedule III drugs are in W.S. § 35-7-1018. These, in addition to lower grade narcotics, stimulants, and depressants include anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV Drugs
Schedule IV drugs can be found in W.S. § 35-7-1020.
It’s important to understand that many of the drugs listed will be pharmaceutical drugs that are possessed without a proper prescription.
Schedule V Drugs
Schedule V drugs can be found in W.S. § 35-7-1022.
These types of drugs include narcotics that include active medicinal ingredients.
Possession of Marijuana in Wyoming
Wyoming has not legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
Those that possess cards in other states can still be charged with Schedule I possession in Wyoming.
Although it isn’t fair, that is the law.
Since federal law also forbids the possession of marijuana, defendants have little recourse.
Alternatives to Jail for Drug Possession in Wyoming
Despite the stiff penalties for possession, defendants may have options at their disposal.
Wyoming does not want to see those who have addiction problems placed in prison. As a result, you might be eligible to receive probation.
First-time drug offenders who are not facing felony charges can receive probation without a conviction.
Most of Wyoming’s drug laws are felonies, except for possessing small amounts of narcotics.
Therefore, you need an attorney for drug charges who are a strong advocate to argue for a reduction in charges or to convince the prosecution you are worthy of a plea bargain to a lesser charge.
Wyoming's law allows a judge to place a person with no previous felony convictions on probation without a conviction in limited circumstances.
The law excludes violent felonies, domestic assaults, and sexual assault cases from deferred adjudication. Additionally, the person charged, and the prosecutor must agree to defer sentencing on the case.
The person facing charges must be found guilty, or plead either guilty or nolo contendre, meaning no contest, to the offenses.
Then, after receiving the consent of the parties, the judge can defer sentencing and place the offender on probation. The terms of probation include:
- Report to court at least twice annually as ordered by the judge;
- Keep the peace and be of good behavior;
- Remain within Wyoming unless allowed to leave by the judge;
- Abide by the terms of probation as set by the probation officer such as attending drug counseling, remaining drug-free, and providing urine samples; and
- Paying restitution, if any.
The term of probation can last up to three years. The judge can set the length of probation to a shorter period, but it cannot be less than one year.
Satisfying all the probation conditions during the continuance period benefits the person greatly. The judge can dismiss the proceedings if the person meets all the necessary criteria.
If not, the judge could revoke the probation and sentence the defendant. However, earning a dismissal of the charges by complying with probation keeps a conviction off your record.
Probation Instead of Prison
Wyoming’s criminal procedure allows judges to exercise discretion when sentencing a person convicted of a drug crime.
The judge can place a person on probation instead of sending them to jail even if the person does not qualify for deferred adjudication.
Except for crimes punishable by the death penalty or by life in prison, a judge can order a person sentenced to prison or jail but suspend the execution of that sentence.
The judge can put the person on probation for the same amount of time as the maximum prison term in limited situations. However, the law prefers that the probation term last no longer than three years.
The probation could be supervised by a probation officer or unsupervised. The court will set all the terms of probation based on the investigative report.
Suspended sentences remain on your record permanently. However, successful completion of probation will keep you out of jail.
Failing to complete probation will force the judge to revoke your probation and impose the suspended sentence.
Contact a Dedicated Wyoming Drug Defense Attorney Today
Facing drug charges in Wyoming can be daunting. A conviction for a drug offense could have disastrous consequences for you and your family.
A Wyoming criminal defense attorney can help. Reach out to Cowboy Country Criminal Defense to set up an appointment online today, or call 307.333.7884 to discuss how we will work with you to get your life back on track.