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Decriminalization Laws for Drug Possession in Bethesda

Drug decriminalization laws apply to marijuana cases in the State of Maryland. It means that marijuana in small amounts is no longer prosecuted as a criminal offense. The charge no longer carries the possibility of jail time and is treated as a civil infraction instead of a criminal offense.

The court can impose a fine against the person in possession of marijuana, but they cannot impose any jail time. If the individual comes before the court with this kind of criminal offense and the amount is more than 10 grams, the possession case is prosecuted by the court system.

Decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts does not mean that it is legal or lawful; it just means that the penalty associated with it does not include any jail time. To get help understanding decriminalization laws, someone charged with drug possession should contact an experienced drug lawyer

Bethesda Laws

Bethesda decriminalization drug laws are for amounts of marijuana less than 10 grams, which many other states have not adopted. In fact, most states still view possession of marijuana as a criminal act. Maryland does not see marijuana in possession of fewer than 10 grams to be a criminal offense and for that reason, it is considered decriminalized.

Decriminalization and Possession

Decriminalization does not mean that something is legal; it simply means that it no longer carries criminal penalties. People should not assume that marijuana has been legalized in the State of Maryland.

Decriminalization laws mean that the possession of a drug such as marijuana in Bethesda which has been decriminalized in small amounts might be an offense that can be litigated. However, the worst-case scenario for someone is only a fine as opposed to any period of incarceration. It simply means that a drug charge is no longer going to carry the same criminal penalties that it once did. So an offense is no longer going to carry things like jail time or result in criminal convictions on a person’s record.

Decriminalized drug offenses that are civil in nature are no longer held to a high burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by the state. Rather, the state must only prove a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence standard is a civil standard that is much lower than a criminal standard.

The only drug currently decriminalized in Maryland is marijuana in small amounts of less than 10 grams. A mitigating factor a judge could take into consideration is whether a person has a criminal history.

Leniency

Even in decriminalization cases, there is a fine associated with drug charges that if a person is found in possession of fewer than 10 grams, a judge is permitted to order.

If a judge is inclined to be more lenient with respect to that fine, that is certainly a question of mitigation for that judge. The person’s employment, their ability to earn money, and their status as a student can be considered by a judge when determining an appropriate fine. 

Decriminalization is a modification of a charge from criminal to non-criminal. And leniency with respect to those charges, really, applies to the fine given in that particular case. A fine with respect to a decriminalized offense is lessened based on various facts taken into consideration such as a person’s lack of criminal history, what was in their possession, the circumstances surrounding the incident and whether the person did or did not cooperate.

Drug Facts

The decriminalization laws for drug possession in Bethesda do not legalize possession of marijuana. The laws change the nature of the offense so that the penalty cannot be a jailable offense. It should not be taken lightly because people can still walk out of court with a record for possession of marijuana.

There are real consequences for drug possession that the person could face with their employment or otherwise for these charges. So it is important to reach out to an attorney who can be helpful in making appropriate defenses in court to get the charges removed from the person’s record.

The only drug possession that has been decriminalized in Maryland is possession of small amounts of marijuana under 10 grams.

Common Misconceptions

The most common misconception is that, because it is decriminalized, there is no record of it and that is inaccurate. People may make assumptions that they should just pay the fine and sort out the issue. They should still recognize it is a civil offense and still shows up on many background checks and records. So, it is still important to hire an attorney to address these charges, because having a clear record is better than having a civil citation on record.