Baltimore Drug Charges
When charged with a drug offense in Baltimore, a person should expect to be arrested and detained and then processed at the local police station. At that point in time, the officer may or may not read the charges that are being brought against them. They would then see a Commissioner to discuss the conditions, if any, of their release.
In Maryland, the person responsible for administering drug charges would either be the Commissioner, a police officer, or a prosecutor. The reason for this is that all these people have the power to charge anyone with a criminal offense.
If you are facing Baltimore drug charges, you should seek an attorney immediately. A seasoned drug lawyer could fight for you to possibly get a favorable resolution to your case.
Range of Charges a Defendant Should Expect
The range of charges with a drug-related offense would be:
- Possession of the drug itself
- Possession of any paraphernalia associated with that drug, which includes smoking devices, injecting devices, IVs, and any scales in the vicinity
The most serious kinds of Baltimore drug charges are felony cases such as distribution or possession with the intent to distribute.
Short-Term Consequences of a Drug Charge
The short-term consequences involving drug charges in Baltimore is any period of incarceration, probation, or having to participate in some form of drug evaluation or drug treatment.
Depending upon the drug that is involved, the quantity, and whether or not there are any other types of aggravating circumstances associated with the charge, this could prevent the ability to be initially released. Upon an individual’s arrest, when they see the Commissioner, they may be denied bail depending on what type of drug was involved, their criminal history record, and other aggravating factors. Therefore, they will have to sit in jail until they are able to be seen for another bail review. If that is denied, they will have to sit in jail until their trial date.
Drug Penalties and Long-Term Consequences
Certain crimes and specific drugs affect long-term consequences, such as collateral consequences. The drug penalties a defendant could be facing include jail time, expensive fines, and probation. A convicted person could suffer a loss of employment or any scholarship they may have. They could have trouble getting another job as well. Also, a conviction could prevent the ability to apply for certain types of home or student loans. These types of consequences could inhibit a wide range of things that someone might want to do in the long-term future.
Getting Charges Dropped
In Baltimore, drug charges are not necessarily dropped right away but have the potential to be dropped fairly quickly. There are certain nuances that defense attorneys can use to have charges dropped within a short period of time after they have been brought. As soon as an attorney becomes involved, they can begin to challenge aspects of the case in order to determine their content and admissibility, which may include:
- How the drugs were collected
- How the drugs were actually seen by the officers
- How the drugs were tested in a chemical crime lab
Potential Mistakes by Law Enforcement When Issuing a Drug Charge
The most common mistake a law enforcement officer makes in regards to a drug charge is infringing on someone’s constitutional rights which are covered under the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects individuals from “unlawful searches and seizures,” which means that an officer, even if they are attempting to follow the rules and regulations under Maryland and federal law, do sometimes make mistakes regarding an individual’s rights.
Examples would be how the individual was stopped (or seized) by the officer and stemming from how the illegal stop (seizure) led to a full search and an arrest. A defense attorney that has an understanding of the law and the procedures necessary to uphold someone’s constitutional rights, can use their experience to analyze and address the manner in which the officers obtained the drugs that are being charged with and whether or not they were obtained legally, which will have a significant impact on the outcome of the case.
How a Baltimore Lawyer Could Help a Person Facing Drug Charges
It is crucial to contact an attorney immediately if an individual is facing Baltimore drug charges. A lawyer could prevent potential police harassment during the initial processing, prevent themselves from inadvertently stating self-incriminating statements, be with the defendant during the potential release and bail review, and provide evidence on why the defendant should be released prior to their trial date.
If you are facing charges, contact an experienced lawyer today. An attorney could advocate for you and help protect your rights.