Maryland Drug Lawyer
Drug charges are a serious matter and demand the assistance of a professional Maryland drug lawyer. With overcrowding in prisons becoming a serious problem, repeat offenders may find that an experienced attorney can avoid mandatory minimum prison sentences by negotiating plea arrangements with prosecutors. You owe it to yourself to fight for your freedom with the help of a Maryland drug lawyer.
Charges regarding drug-related offenses that include violence can seriously affect your future. Please call for a free consultation with a Maryland defense attorney regarding your case.
Maryland Marijuana Possession Laws
While possession of any drug in Maryland can be a serious charge, possession of marijuana is also strictly enforced. Under Section 5-601(a)(1), it is illegal to possess marijuana, and the penalty for violating this law depends on the amount in your possession at the time of your arrest:
- Possession of 10 grams or more – $1,000.00 fine, one year imprisonment
- Possession of less than 10 grams – a civil penalty of $100 to $500
In drug possession cases, it is often best for an experienced Maryland lawyer to dispute the charges, especially if there is evidence to suggest that the amount listed in your charges is inaccurate. Maryland also punishes offenders of § 5-601(a)(2), which stipulates a $1,000.00 fine and one year of imprisonment for those who obtain marijuana by fraud.
Drugs Laws in Maryland
Potential sentences for drugs other than marijuana in Maryland are typically much harsher. Section 5-601(a)(1) denotes the maximum penalty for all possession charges as being a $25,000.00 fine and/or imprisonment not to exceed four years. However, under § 5-614, the state levies significant charges against those who attempt to bring large amounts of any drug into the state, regardless of whether or not it was intended for distribution. If you are arrested for attempting to bring the following quantities of drugs across state lines, you could be facing up to a $50,000.00 fine and imprisonment for up to 25 years.
- 45 kilograms of marijuana or more
- 28 grams of cocaine or more (or a mixture that contains cocaine)
- 4 grams of opium or morphine or more, or any derivative
- 1,000 dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide (or a mixture containing)
- 28 grams of phencyclidine or more in liquid or powder
- 112 grams of anything containing phencyclidine or more
- 1,000 dosage units or more of methaqualone
- 28 grams of methamphetamine (or a mixture containing) or more
- 4 grams of fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue or more
The primary indicator of distribution for many police officers is the presence of large amounts of a drug that are unlikely to be for personal use. For example, prosecutors could push for distribution charges (a felony) if you are arrested with more than 28 grams of cocaine, even if you had no intention of selling or distributing the drug. Normally, all possession charges in Maryland are misdemeanors. A felony drug conviction will not only result in immediate and severe penalties, but will likely have a negative impact on the rest of your life — such a conviction can hinder your ability to seek gainful employment, find an apartment, and obtain credit. A professional Maryland drug lawyer can examine all evidence against you and fight the state on your behalf.
What are the Penalties for Drug Paraphernalia Possession?
Similar penalties exist in Maryland for the possession of drug paraphernalia or any item used to administer drugs. These items could include syringes, spoons, pipes, and bongs. § 5-619(c)(1) through § 5-620(b) outline the specifics and penalties of drug paraphernalia charges in Maryland. Section 5-619(c)(1) makes it illegal to possess any drug paraphernalia. Violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by a $500.00 fine for the first offense. Subsequent offenses increase the penalty to $2,000.00 and two years’ imprisonment. Section 5-619(d)(1) lists the same penalties for distributing paraphernalia. Although still a misdemeanor, distributing drug paraphernalia to a minor is punishable by up to $15,000.00 in fines and eight years’ imprisonment.
A qualified Maryland lawyer may be best equipped to fight drug paraphernalia charges in the state by making a variety of arguments, including that the paraphernalia was never intended for illegal drugs at all or the materials used for manufacturing drugs were not your own or on your property.
Sale, Manufacture, and Distribution Drug Laws and Penalties
Any evidence suggesting that you intended to sell, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances other than marijuana should be carefully examined by a Maryland drug defense lawyer, as the associated penalties are severe (even for a first offense).Under the Code of Maryland, Section 5-603, Section 605-609, and Section 612, the following is asserted:
- Manufacturing, selling, or distributing any Schedule I or II narcotic: 20 years’ imprisonment, $25,000.00 fine
- Manufacturing, selling, or distributing LSD, PCP, or fentanyl: 20 years’ imprisonment, $20,000.00 fine
- Any other controlled substance: 5 years’ imprisonment, $15,000.00 fine
Sections 5-602 through 5-606 designate subsequent offenses (even if previous convictions were in other states) as carrying more substantial penalties:
- Second offense: 20 years’ imprisonment, $25,000.00 fine
- Third offense: 25 years’ imprisonment, $100,000.00 fine
- Fourth offense: 40 years’ imprisonment, $100,000.00 fine
Possession of drug materials that indicate a likelihood of manufacture (such as a “meth lab” or “grow operation”) is a much more serious crime when in reference to drugs other than marijuana. Possession of materials used to grow marijuana, in sufficient amounts to indicate distribution, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000.00 fine. With all other materials used to create controlled substances, the charge can be a felony with a potential $25,000.00 fine and four years imprisonment.
Are There Conditional Drug Penalties?
Certain conditions can exacerbate penalties related to drug charges. Two of the most common conditions Maryland drug lawyers face are distribution of any drug within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime (excluding marijuana). The penalty for those who allegedly attempt to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, per Section 5-627, is no more than 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $20,000.00. Section 5-621(b)(1) makes it a felony to possess a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking crime. In order to be charged with this crime, the state must prove that the firearm was related to the drug crime allegedly taking place — a burden that an experienced Maryland drug lawyer can help to ensure is not met.