Have you been arrested or charged with a drug offense? Drug crimes can carry stiff penalties that could have lifelong consequences. Some of these penalties include jail time, seizure of personal property, and large costly fines, each of which directly affect your permanent criminal record.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Maryland
From possession of marijuana to distribution of schedule 1 narcotics, and everything in between, Maryland has some of the harshest sentences for drug crimes in the country. Fines, jail time and probation after jail time are all possible outcomes. If you are a first-time offender, you may be treated with less harsh consequences than a repeat offender. This is life changing and the consequences of these charges could impact your career, your living arrangements, and your personal life. A lawyer can help you by asking that charges be amended to simple possession so that you face less consequences. An attorney could also ask that you be given the opportunity to do a drug education diversion program.
Possession of Marijuana and Possession of other Narcotics
Marijuana in Maryland is legal for recreational use starting July 2023. However, possession of more than 1.5 ounces of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by law. Medical marijuana is legal in Maryland. Medical marijuana patients can purchase their medicine from one of the state-licensed dispensaries. Possession of other illegal substances such as Cocaine, Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Morphine, Opium, Phencyclidine & other narcotics could result in jail time and fines as well.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
In Maryland the distribution of scheduled narcotics is considered a felony. There are serious penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID). Defendants in possession of less than 50 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute face a fine of of up to $15,000 and a jail term of up to five years in prison. Defendants with more than 50 pounds of marijuana could be fined up to 15,000 and face a jail term of no less than five years.
Firearm Charges with Drug Charges
Using a weapon while drug trafficking is a crime in Maryland under statute 5-621. Any drug crimes that involve the use of a firearm automatically mean the possibility of a felony charge if the state can show that the gun was related to the crime. If you possess a firearm while drug trafficking and the State is able to show a nexus between the firearm and the trafficking of the drugs, then you could be found guilty of a felony and for a first violation you could face a penalty not less than 5 years (mandatory minimum) and not exceeding 20 years. It is exceedingly important to hire an experienced attorney if you have been charged with a felony for drugs and firearms.
Drug Crimes Near a School
If you have been charged with a drug crime within 1,000 feet of a school, this can be very serious and lead to penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. This includes drug possession AND drug paraphernalia. Also, it does not matter if school was in session or operating at the time of the offense.
4th Amendment Search & Seizure
Not all drug arrests have probable cause and therefore may not be considered constitutional. If a cop (police officer, trooper, FBI, DEA etc.) searches you, your home, cellphone, car (or any vehicle of yours), or even your personal belongings, they MUST follow strict protocol to ensure they are not violating your 4thamendment rights. There is a plethora of case law in Maryland that a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, like Caroline Norman Frost, will be aware of in order to suppress anything found by law enforcement after an unlawful arrest or unlawful search.
If your rights are violated, there is a strong chance your charges will be dismissed by the State. In her years as a prosecutor, Caroline Norman Frost saw many situations where a police officer violated 4th amendment rights of the accused and the State was forced to dismiss all charges.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, no matter the extent, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your case.
Caroline Norman Frost knows that these types of situations are stressful, and she spends the time to use every available resource to defend your rights. Call Caroline at 240-213-1802.