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Bethesda Drug Charges

The range of Bethesda drug charges an individual should expect to face depends on the kind of investigation being conducted. Someone who is simply in possession of marijuana might expect a possession of marijuana charge or a similar charge. If they had any kind of paraphernalia with a particular controlled substance, they can expect drug paraphernalia charges.

When the person has a distribution charge, they should expect a charge associated with simple possession and also additional felony charges for possession with intent to distribute whatever controlled dangerous substance they are alleged to have been in possession of.

Larger scale drug-related crimes could involve large volume drug charges, drug kingpin charges, and the list goes on. An individual should be sure to consult with a lawyer when determining the best avenues to pursue in defending a Bethesda drug charge.

Pre-Trial Process

When somebody is charged with a drug-related offense in Bethesda, they are processed and given copies of their charges on the same day. They are likely to be given a court date at that time or have one set shortly after they are processed.

In certain circumstances, there might be a bail review hearing if the person’s criminal history is significant enough that the officer is supposed to detain them. In other circumstances where there is no criminal history and their crime is related to a minor investigation, they might be released on their own recognizance without bail.

The person charged with a drug offense in Bethesda goes through the process of discovery where their attorney makes requests for evidence. Perhaps, the attorney conducts their own investigation into the case.

There are motions hearings to try to suppress or exclude certain evidence. A trial date is scheduled for the litigation of the case. That determination is made whether the state has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt at that trial.

Short-Term Consequences

The short-term consequences associated with a drug charge in Bethesda include jail time and probation as defined by the court. Long term consequences are related to the person’s criminal record.

When someone has a criminal charge on their record it could disqualify them from school, jobs, certain kinds of loans, and from travel to certain areas. The long-term consequences can be as significant as the short term consequences one might see in court.

Influence of the Substance on Penalties

Depending on the kind of drug involved in a Bethesda drug charge and the kind of crime a person is being prosecuted for, the conditions that are set out by a judge could vary.

Marijuana cases are treated very differently than cocaine or heroin cases. The collateral consequences one might suffer in the future could be affected more seriously by one particular drug-related offense versus another depending on the kind of job, loan, or school program one is applying to and how they relate to the particular criminal offense.

Law Enforcement Mistakes

Probably the most common mistake that law enforcement makes with these drug-related offenses are when someone’s constitutional rights are not protected because an officer did not have a basis to stop the person, seize the person, search the person, or arrest the person. A number of those constitutional violations are errors an officer committed and can make the evidence inadmissible; practically dismissing the charge against the person.

Additionally, if the prosecutors fail to provide certain evidence to the defense in preparation for the case or when the case is brought to court with delay and out of time, the matter could be dismissed for discovery violation, or for violating a person’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.

Perhaps the prosecutor dropped the ball somewhere. For example, when someone is charged with a drug-related crime, the drug is usually tested by a crime lab to make it admissible in a court room. If a prosecutor fails to have the drugs tested properly, or fails to provide a report, the drugs are rejected by the court. Those could be grounds for dismissal of the charges.

Dropping the Charge

Drug charges in Bethesda usually are not dropped right away. If an officer believes that there was enough probable cause to arrest a person and charge them for the drug-related offense, they make recommendations to not drop the charges right away.

At some point in the future, after an investigation is conducted, the defense attorney and the prosecutor may have an opportunity to discuss the matter. The defense attorney can give the prosecutor reasons as to why they should drop the case before the court date or before trial. However, it is unusual and very unlikely that a drug charge is dropped immediately.

Burden of Proof

A person facing drug charges in Bethesda has a case where constitutional issues may be raised within the court system. Even if an individual has a drug-related offense, proving drug-related charges by the state is no different than any other criminal case. Drug cases are among some of the most difficult cases to prove.

The authorities must prove that the search of a vehicle, home, or other locations where drugs were found was proper pursuant to the constitution. They must prove that the drugs were properly tested as a foundation of the prosecution of the evidence in the courtroom.

Only an attorney with familiarity in handling these cases in a criminal court system knows how to make those arguments in court and push forward the most successful defense possible for their client.

Being Open with an Attorney

A person should be prepared to share with their attorney all of the information they know about the case, such as charging documents, any witnesses the attorney should know about, and be as candid as possible in that conversation.

Things that a person might not think are important with respect to defending their case might be extremely important from the attorney’s perspective. An attorney knows which questions to ask and how to get as much information as possible to prepare an adequate presentation to defend a criminal case.