Maryland Marijuana Possession Lawyer
In Maryland, a high percentage of drug arrests involve marijuana. Generally, these arrests fall into one of three categories: possession, trafficking, or paraphernalia. If you were charged with marijuana possession, you should contact a Maryland marijuana possession lawyer today for a free consultation.
Assorted punishments for those convicted of marijuana-related crimes vary according to local jurisdictions throughout the state as well as the exact nature of the crime in question.
Possession charges in particular vary according to a number of factors, and defendants may face either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the nature of their crimes. Varying factors include the amount of drugs found with the defendant during the arrest, whether the defendant planned to use the substance personally or to distribute it, if the defendant was distributing the substance to a minor, and whether he was in possession of the drugs in a school vehicle or within 1,000 of an elementary or secondary educational institution.
Marijuana Possession Laws
The state of Maryland enacted Senate Bill 364, which seeks to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Maryland has lowered the penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of the substance to a civil penalty and fine, similar to those handed out for parking violations.
Those found to be in possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana previously faced a misdemeanor charge that could result in 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. A first offense will result in a fine that can be no more than $100. For those arrested for a second or third offense, the fine can increase to $500. Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as bongs, pipes, and rolling papers, is still a criminal offense. Those who are under 20 years of age face the above-mentioned fines and drug education classes. You can read the full text of the senate bill here.
Defendants found to be in possession of more than 10 grams and less than 50 pounds of marijuana – and who planned to use the substance personally – can face a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. There are some medical exceptions to these regulations.
Possession With Intent
Charges of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute are typically treated more severely in the state of Maryland. Defendants may be charged with a felony and with varying fines and jail sentences, depending on various factors.
Defendants in possession of less than 50 pounds of the substance with the intent to distribute face a maximum fine of $15,000 and a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Those with more than 50 pounds of marijuana face a $15,000 fine and no less than five years in prison.
Defendants with the intent to distribute who are found to be in possession of the substance in a school vehicle or within 1,000 feet of a school may face a fine of up to $40,000 and two to five years in prison.
Those found in possession with the intent to distribute to a minor may be fined up to $20,000 and face up to 20 years in prison.
For defendants found to be major drug traffickers or part of an organized crime syndicate, the laws differ a bit. These defendants, if found to be in possession of more than 50 pounds of marijuana, may be fined up to $1 million and face a prison sentence of 20 to 40 years.
Benefits of an Attorney
A huge portion of marijuana possession charges are made as a result of traffic stops. Defendants who are arrested in such a manner should consult a lawyer before going forward with the case. Even if there was no traffic stop involved, a Maryland lawyer will be able to discern whether a car search was made in a legal manner and can subsequently file a motion to throw out the traffic stop or perhaps even seek to have an entire case thrown out.
Defendants facing charges of criminal possession should contact a Maryland marijuana possession attorney immediately to schedule a consultation. In all likelihood, there is quite a lot a qualified Maryland lawyer can do for such a defendant. An experienced attorney will know exactly how to move forward as well as how to force the state to meet its burden of proof.