Ocean City Drug Distribution Lawyer
The Ocean City Police Department and the Worcester County Narcotics Task Force are constantly conducting investigations to support drug cases and bring these types of charges against people they believe to be distributing drugs. Because law enforcement is so aggressive in its efforts, it is important if you are accused you consult with an Ocean City drug distribution lawyer as soon as possible to go over your case and begin planning a defense.
There are some types of distribution charges that are more serious than possession with intent. The type of drug could make them more serious. For example with marijuana, the maximum penalty is five years. However, the maximum penalty for distribution of a drug such as crack cocaine or heroin has a much more serious maximum penalty of 20 years. It also carries a much greater fine than marijuana distribution.
Another factor to consider is that there is a separate charge for importation into the state, which charge involves bringing in drugs of a certain amount or weight. For example, with cocaine, someone could be convicted of importation if they brought in twenty or more grams; for marijuana, it is forty-five or more kilograms.
Another aggravating factor that can affect a person’s Ocean City drug distribution case is possession within 1000 feet of a school. That carries the same maximum penalty as the possession with intent to distribute charge. But those sentences can be run consecutively. If the accused was located within 1000 feet of a school then, they can be charged with the additional offense, and potentially be facing a total of 40 years imprisonment.
Standard of Proof
Identification is a prime element the state must prove which can be a challenge in certain distribution cases and something that a defense attorney will examine closely when building a case. It is important to understand the additional burden of proof that aggravating factors entail on the prosecution as well.
Distribution in a School Zone
To convict someone of drug distribution within one thousand feet of a school, the state must establish all the same elements of possession with intent to distribute. In addition, they must prove and submit evidence that the location where the person possessed the drugs was within one thousand feet of a school.
For this purpose, certain counties have created school maps that measure the distance from the school out to one thousand feet and show every residence and every street. In other instances, investigators go out and measure the distance.
They must prove the additional element of the location of the school and the distance from where the crime occurred to the location of the school. The defense meanwhile may try to show that the school was farther than the prosecution alleges.
To prove the offense of importation, the state must demonstrate that the substance was brought into the state of Maryland and they must verify the weight or the amount of the substance. These are defined by statute as to how much weight or amount rises to the level of an importation.
The state often relies on their own crime lab, which is responsible for testing the substance, to make sure that it is a controlled substance or a narcotic. The same crime lab is responsible for weighing the substance and providing a report and testimony as to the weight or the amount of the drug.
How A Drug Distribution Attorney Can Help
An Ocean City drug distribution attorney can be a very valuable asset as they will understand exactly what the state must prove and how they are most likely to go about proving it. In addition, an attorney will know the rules of evidence and produce the most relevant and helpful evidence.
There is also the question of any constitutional issues that can be raised and litigated. A persuasive defense attorney will know how to best make arguments to attempt to get evidence excluded if they can successfully argue that the police violated the Fourth or Fifth Amendment while trying to gather that evidence.
Overall, having a competent, persuasive attorney by your side during the proceedings will greatly increase your chances of mitigating the damages and achieving the best results possible.