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Sentencing in Bethesda Drug Cases

Generally, minimum and maximum sentencing is related to the type of controlled dangerous substance that a person is accused of having and a number of other factors such as the person’s criminal history.  To ensure that each of these factors is accounted for and as strong an argument as possible is made for a favorable sentence on your behalf, consult with a Bethesda drug lawyer today.

Drug Schedules

The drug schedule in the federal system and the state system are on completely different scales. In Bethesda, a controlled dangerous substance is a substance that is determined by the legislature to have some sort of a negative effect on a person when they ingest it. For that reason, the government controls the use or release of that particular substance in society making it more secure and controlled and less dangerous.

Usually, there are different schedules for different kinds of controlled dangerous substances that give varying levels of severity to them. Certain prescription medications are on a different schedule than other prescription medications based their dangerous effects or how unauthorized use of them might affect somebody. With regards to sentencing, the more serious the drug and drug schedule the more severe a sentence is likely to be.

Criminal History

First-time drug-related offenses are not treated all that differently in court. More often than not, when somebody is charged with possession of marijuana more than 10 grams or possession of a controlled dangerous substance of some other kind, with a first-time offense, there is usually no period of incarceration.

It is possible that there is no criminal conviction of any kind. They are only applicable to repeat offenses, and do not all have to be drug-related. Some could be prior theft-related offenses or other kinds of criminal offenses.

In that situation, a judge determines whether or not minimum, maximum, or somewhere between lesser penalties might apply. There are more factors than just the kind of drug involved. Criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the possession of the drugs can also be important considerations.

Individuals with a Criminal History

When someone has a very serious drug-related problem and a lengthy criminal history and was in a rehab facility for several months prior between the time that they were charged and the court date, some judges might not consider any period of jail time appropriate for them.

A person with a very short criminal history who has a very serious drug offense where they were acting violently and they have not taken any steps to mitigate their drug issue may come to court and find themselves in jail for a lengthy period of time.

There are variations in every case. Sentencing depends on how a judge perceives the case after both the state and the defense give their arguments about what is an appropriate resolution.

Diversion Programs

There are diversion programs available for first time drug-related offenders in Bethesda. These cases are handled in the Montgomery County District Court where most first time drug-related offenders may be given the opportunity to participate in the Interventional Program for Substance Abusers (IPSA).

The program keeps them from having any criminal record as long as they participate in community service, complete a drug education program, and maintain a record that is free of arrest for a period of time in that court.

Defense Strategies

People should realize that just because they are charged with possession of drugs, even if they believe that they are guilty of possession of those drugs, they are not without defenses. Arguments can be made in court about how the drugs were seized and what their accessibility is.

Also, when the prosecution is successful, arguments can be made to the judge about appropriate resolutions such as diversion, sentencing, and expungement of the record. An attorney who has experience in these matters and is extremely knowledgeable can ensure their client’s rights are protected.

Building a Case

An attorney will evaluate the whole case to identify any constitutional issues that might be raised during the course of the criminal event and to identify whether or not the prosecution can successfully argue the proper arrest, detention, or search of a particular person, their home, their vehicle, or wherever the controlled dangerous substances were found. The attorney does everything possible to keep the drugs suppressed or out of evidence so that the charges can be dismissed and the sentencing can be reduced.

If that is unsuccessful, the attorney prepares for mitigation by trying to explain to the court the good qualities of the client and assuring the court that this is the last time the client will be in possession of a controlled dangerous substance. The attorney may be able to have their client’s charges receive the minimum penalty from the court when the matter is litigated by a judge or a jury.

Benefits of an Attorney

An experienced lawyer with knowledge of the constitutional principles of the Fourth Amendment or other issues that may come up during the course of a case can preserve any defenses to have the sentence reduced or the charges completely dismissed by a criminal court.

Additionally, an experienced attorney can advise their client on the appropriate judges to hear their case and whether the case should be tried at a bench trial, in front of a judge, or perhaps at a trial by jury. The attorney considers all investigative tracks to make sure that the appropriate defense arguments are made for the best possible outcome of the case, whether that is in the courtroom determining guilt or innocence, or at sentencing for mitigation purposes.