What Are The Common Drug Offenses That Your Firm Typically Handles?
Typically, we handle misdemeanor possession cases and felony possession with intent to distribute cases.
How Is A Drug Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
There are several factors that go into determining if a drug charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. The main difference is whether you are possessing that drug for personal use or with intent to distribute. Very large quantities, large sums of money in your possession, multiple cellular phones, scales, and ledgers are all indicators that you are either dealing or possessing that with the intent to distribute.
What Is An Unlawful Controlled Substance?
A controlled substance is defined as one that is listed in Schedule One through Schedule Five or an immediate precursor to a drug that is listed in Schedules One through Five. Controlled dangerous substances do not include distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco.
What Is Considered Possession, Sale, Distribute and Intent To Distribute Unlawful Drugs?
In a typical possession case, we are looking at a small amount that is consistent with personal use. Distributions are typically any sort of sales or hand to hand transactions that law enforcement officers observe. Or, they send a confidential informant to go buy from a drug dealer. Distribution doesn’t have to be the sale of a drug for currency; it’s simply giving the drug to another. In intent to distribute cases, we often see an individual having a large amount of controlled dangerous substances with factors that show his or her intent to distribute it, whether they have a scale, individual baggies, multiple cellphones on their person, or ledgers tracking sales. An experienced lawyer is important in these cases to evaluate the facts and make arguments as to whether the amount of drugs on your person and the other factors involved equates to a felony or can be considered a misdemeanor case of possession.
Are There Any Laws Addressing Drug Paraphernalia In Maryland?
The state of Maryland has decriminalized the possession of marijuana under 10 grams and marijuana paraphernalia. Any other paraphernalia for any other drug still remains a criminal offense. You have to go to court and it has a first offense penalty of up to a $500 fine. There are subsequent offender penalties, if you have been convicted before. A second-time offender faces one-year incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
Can A Passenger Be Charged If Drugs Are Found In The Motor Vehicle?
You don’t have to have the drugs on your actual person in order to be arrested for drug possession. It’s what we call constructive possession, in the state of Maryland. The state just has to prove to a judge that you knew the drugs were present and you had access to them. You can have a situation where you are a passenger in a vehicle, you are with someone you don’t know, and there is a small amount of cocaine in the cup holder. You can be arrested for that, which can cause you to be searched, and then anything found on your person can be used against you as well. There are very different search and seizure laws that apply to passengers in vehicles, compared to the driver. A lawyer is essential in these cases to make sure that your rights haven’t been violated as a passenger.
What Are The Penalties For A Drug-Related Conviction? Are There any Alternative Programs For First Time Drug Offenders In Maryland?
A first-time conviction for misdemeanor possession is one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Your second and third convictions are up to 18 months and a $5,000 fine, and a fourth or subsequent conviction is always two years and/or a $5,000 fine, except for marijuana. For marijuana, the maximum penalty for a first time offense for possession is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. There are alternative programs for both misdemeanor possession and felony cases. Several of our counties have drug court treatment programs, where if you enroll and successfully complete drug court, you are given a favorable disposition, which would include avoiding incarceration. There are also first time offender programs for simple marijuana possession, where you can take online courses in lieu of being prosecuted.
Get your questions answered - Call (301) 662-2911 for a free defense strategy session.