Maryland Drug Charges
The range of charges that an individual can expect is possession of the drug itself, possession of any paraphernalia associated with that drug such as IVs, smoking devices, injecting devices, and any scales that might be also in the vicinity. Certainly, in the more serious kinds of felony cases, they might also find felony charges like distribution of the drug or possession with the intent to distribute the drug.
If you are facing Maryland drug charges, it would be in your best interest to consult with a highly experienced drug lawyer.
The person responsible for administering Maryland drug charges could either be a commissioner, a police officer or a prosecutor. All of those people have the power to charge somebody with a criminal offense.
Initially, it would appear as a charge of whatever it was that was alleged against the person with the blanks for the disposition of that charge remaining empty while the charge is pending.
Short-term consequences are any kind of period of incarceration, probation, participation in a drug testing evaluation, and treatment, things of that nature.
Depending on the drug involved, short-term consequences can be very different. For example, the attitude towards marijuana in Maryland has changed significantly over the last five years or so. While it used to be a very serious criminal charge, in many circumstances, small amounts of marijuana no longer are considered a criminal offense.
In addition to marijuana charges, there are many other types of drug-related charges. Some drugs are seen as more serious than others. Prescription medications where somebody might have had a valid prescription at one point in time, but then perhaps became addicted to those prescription medications, are likely treated very differently than a person who became addicted to drugs or was recreationally using other kinds of drugs such as cocaine or heroin, which have no medical purposes whatsoever.
Certainly, the short-term consequences of a period of incarceration or probation could be more likely and more serious when talking about drugs like cocaine or heroin versus drugs like marijuana.
Long-term consequences are things considered to be collateral consequences where someone is facing consequences well beyond the reach of the original case.
Those kinds of consequences could be facing a loss of employment, loss of scholarships, loss of ability to apply for certain types of home loans or student loans. The consequences are infinite depending on the direction of someone’s life and the kinds of things the person wants to achieve.
What are Controlled Drug Substances?
A controlled dangerous substance is any substance that is considered inherently dangerous, that is either not used as directed, or does not have medicinal value, and is inherently dangerous.
Any time a person is in possession of a controlled dangerous substance that is not marijuana, they face the same maximum penalty of four years of incarceration. However, how a judge actually imposes a sentence is going to vary depending on the type of drug involved and the circumstances surrounding that particular charge.
For example, someone who is in possession of a drug like an ecstasy, which is considered a recreational drug might not be considered to be as serious as someone who is in possession of something like heroin, which is also considered to be a very serious drug but has more of a tendency for abuse and addiction.
Depending on the kind of drug, judges may have very different sentencing styles even though the maximum penalty is the same across the board for possession of that particular controlled dangerous substance.
Can Charges be Dropped?
Maryland drug charges can be dropped not necessarily right away, but very close to right away, as soon as an attorney becomes involved and challenges some of the ways the drugs were collected or seen or in the way that the drugs were tested by the crime lab to determine the drug content and their admissibility. There are a few different ways a skilled defense attorney can make the appropriate arguments to have drug charges in Maryland dropped quickly.
Potential Mistakes by Law Enforcement
One of the most common mistakes law enforcement officers may make administering Maryland drug charges is not complying with the person’s constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects people from ‘unlawful searches and seizures’ which means that an officer, even if the officer is trying to follow all of the rules and regulations, may sometimes make mistakes with respect to abiding by a person’s rights, from how they are stopped or seized by an officer, to ultimately how that stop and seizure graduates to a full-blown search, or an arrest.
A defense attorney who finds issues with those kinds of procedures can raise them in court, or through a prosecutor in advance of the court date, to reach a favorable outcome for the client.
Contact an Attorney
It is important to contact an attorney immediately after the person knows they are under investigation for a drug-related offense or have been charged with a drug-related offense. A person can politely let an officer knows that they do not wish to answer questions and wants to invoke their right under the Constitution even during the investigation. A person facing Maryland drug charges should not answer any officer questions without first consulting with an attorney.