Annapolis Drug Arrests
There are many things to keep in mind when charged with a drug offense in Annapolis, including the process of the arrest. There are going to be a variety of potential penalties a person has to face, and there are many considerations of Annapolis drug arrests that would be beneficial to know of beforehand, such as a person’s rights to refuse to consent to a search. Further, an experienced Annapolis drug attorney will be essential in helping someone to understand these various considerations of arrests.
Since it has been decriminalized, there are less marijuana and distribution of marijuana cases seen in Annapolis. There is, however, a heightened level of criminal prosecution of prescription medication cases because prescription abuse is more common and law enforcement has enhanced training to detect and identify unlawful prescription use and abuse.
Where Cases are Heard
Misdemeanor drug cases are heard in a district court, located at 251 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland. More serious felony drug cases are heard in circuit court, located at 8 Church Circle, Annapolis, Maryland.
Arundel County has another district court in Glen Burnie where many misdemeanor drug-related cases can also be heard. It is important to make sure that someone is aware of where their case is being heard so that they do not go to the wrong courthouse.
Annapolis cases are bench-trials, if they are heard in the Annapolis District Court, and they will be jury-trials, if they are heard in the Annapolis Circuit Court. The defense attorney may choose to waive a jury trial, in which case, they can have a bench trial in Circuit Court.
A prosecutor needs to prove all of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, if a white powdery substance was brought in as evidence in court, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to demonstrate through an expert that the product was not baby powder or some other legal substance, but rather that it was cocaine, heroin, or the illegal substance that it is alleged to be.
The most important pieces of evidence in drug offense cases are the drugs and a chemist or laboratory expert that testifies that the drugs are what they are purported to be.
Right to Refuse Consent
A person has a right to refuse to consent to a search in an Annapolis drug arrest and attorneys would advise against consenting to a search by a police officer. Someone should politely say that they do not wish to be searched and if police intend to search them, they would like for them to have a warrant before they do.
Officers do not always need your consent to search you or your property. If they have a warrant, for example, they would not need your consent. If they detect the odor of a particular drug on you, they would not necessarily need your consent. If you are placed under arrest for something else, they can search you and they would not need your consent to do so.
The constitutional issues that will come up in a drug offense case are generally related to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. That argument will focus on how an officer obtained the drugs and whether that was conducted by a lawful or unlawful search. If a defense attorney is able to raise a successful argument about a Fourth Amendment violation, that will likely have the evidence in the case suppressed. If that is the totality of the evidence in the case, the prosecutors will not have a case to move forward with so they will be forced to dismiss charges related to that evidence.