Montana Yao may avoid a jail sentence after being charged with felony drug possession in September, a top Minnesota attorney tells HL.
Montana Yao‘s felony drug possession charge could easily be dismissed in court for a number of reasons, a Minnesota criminal defense attorney tells HollywoodLife — even if she already admitted to police that the large amount of marijuana found at her home in Minnesota in September was hers. Despite her admission of guilt, “Montana can still have her conviction dismissed. She’ll just have to go about it a different way,” lawyer Marsh Halberg tells us.
Montana’s felony charge stems from a September incident in which her husband, Malik Beasley, was accused of pointing a rifle at a family that was inside an SUV outside their Plymouth, Minnesota home. When police obtained a warrant to search their home for the rifle, they also began looking for marijuana “given the overwhelming odor coming from inside,” according to the police report.
Officers discovered 835 grams (1.84 pounds) of marijuana, which Montana said was all hers. She claimed that she purchased it from a medical marijuana store, but could not provide the location of the facility. Additionally, she did not have proper documentation stating that she was allowed to use medical marijuana. She was charged with felony drug possession in the 5th degree. Malik pleaded guilty to one count of felony threats of violence in December and was sentenced to 120 days in prison.
That doesn’t mean that Montana will also be found guilty, Halberg explained. “Her legal team would try to get her a deal where she doesn’t have a permanent record,” he said. “You plead guilty and they put you on a court diversion program.” A court diversion program, according to Halberg, means that the participant has to “attend a drug education program, not have any new drug-related offenses, and complete probation… At the end of the length of that time, the charge will be dismissed without a conviction on your record. Under Minnesota law, there’s a diversion program for first time drug offenders.”
Halberg says he believes that Montana‘s lawyers will go for the court diversion program. Otherwise, Montana faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine of $3000 to $10,000. “Right now Montana has a possession charge under Minnesota Statute 152.025, but I assume her lawyers are going to convert this,” he explained. “There’s a statute (152.18) which defers prosecution for first time drug offenders. I think her charge will be eventually dismissed at the end of her diversion program.
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