You should treat any criminal charge that law enforcement authorities in Montana bring against you seriously. A conviction for a criminal offense can affect your public standing for years to come, making it difficult for you to work in certain fields, secure housing, or even exercise your civic rights.
That said, not all criminal offenses are equal in terms of their gravity. This is especially true with drug offenses, as the type of charge you may depends largely on the type of controlled substance linked to your drug arrest.
Understanding drug classifications
Different types of drugs (and the potential criminal penalties associated with them) belong to distinct drug schedules. Lawmakers determine drug schedules based on several factors. Per Montana’s Annotated Code, the state’s drug schedules (and their respective classification criteria) are as follows:
- Schedule I: Drugs with a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical uses in the U.S.
- Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for abuse with limited medical applications and a high potential for the development of a psychological and/or physical dependency
- Schedule III: Drugs with a moderate potential for abuse with recognized medical applications and a moderate potential for the development of a dependency
- Schedule IV: Drugs with a low potential for abuse with recognized medical applications and a low potential for the development of a dependency
- Schedule V: Drugs with the lowest potential for abuse and the development of a dependency that have widespread medical uses
Determining drug charges
Along with the type of drug that authorities are linking you to, your assumed intentions with it also factor into drug charges. You may need to fight to ensure that authorities do not try to “up-charge” you based on the circumstances of your arrest.