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 includes jail time, seizure of personal property, large costly fines, and they all could 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
It is still illegal to possess Marijuana in Maryland, though since 2014, possessing 10 grams or less is now treated with a ticket (civil citation), rather than jail time. However, possessing more than 10 grams of marijuana carries a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine or both. 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
Maryland the distribution of scheduled narcotics is considered a felony. There are serious penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID). For instance, if you possess 50 and less marijuana, with the intent to distribute, there is a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000. If the person charged is in possession of more than 50 pounds than the maximum penalty increases, and the five-year maximum jail time penalty becomes a minimum of five years in jail (mandatory minimum).
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 involved automatically means you could be charged with a felony 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 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.
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, car (or any vehicle of yours), or even your personal belongings, they HAVE to follow strict protocol to ensure that are not violating your 4thamendment rights. There is a plethora of case law in Maryland that 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 for 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.