Ocean City Drug Penalties
Drug charges are treated incredibly seriously in Ocean City. These sorts of charges can sometimes carry severe consequences, hindering an individual’s ability to resume the normalcy of daily life for some time. Because of this, an individual should attempt to refute any penalties that have been brought against them as a result of a drug charge.
If you have found yourself facing such a charge, it is pertinent that you contact an attorney immediately. An experienced lawyer in Ocean City will be able to investigate all the aspects involved with your case, and attempt to lessen or dismiss any consequences associated with your charge.
The short-term consequences can be very damaging, mostly depending on whether or not the individual is required to post bond. There is an issue of public humiliation, people knowing that individual is charged, or people being able to run a record search on the internet and say that that person has a pending charge.
For some people, the actual charge can impact their employment. Further, if the individual is in college, it can impact whether or not they get to remain in school or if they are placed on some sort of academic probation. These are some of the first penalties that will arise after a drug charge is brought.
Posting a Bond
The short-term consequences can be even more severe for a person who is required to post a bond because if the person is financially unable to, then that means they would continue to sit in jail until their trial date. A trial date could take 45 to 60 days from the date of arrest to the date of the trial. An individual could possibly lose both their employment and their housing while they are waiting for the case to be resolved.
There are short-term consequences for someone being arrested for the least severe of the drug crimes, however, this would still be a matter of public record. Other consequences can be much more severe, depending on what crime is alleged, and that could directly impact what sort of bond the person receives.
For example, if a person is charged with a misdemeanor, the court may determine that they would only have to post a very low bond or be released on their own recognizance. However, if it is alleged that the person committed a felony, the court will more than likely require that that individual posts a bond.
Depending on what an individual is charged with, what kind of drugs were used, and whatever is being alleged that the individual did, it could be that the person ends up having to sit in jail pending trial because the judge imposed a much greater bond. These encompass some of the Ocean City drug penalties in play when a drug charge is handed down upon an individual.
If a person is charged with committing a felony, especially if it involves a drug that is creating a real public health epidemic at that time, the long-term consequences could be very serious. It could include a prison sentence where an individual is in jail for years. That penalty can be much more severe depending on what drug was possessed and if it is alleged that the drug was distributed.
Another long-term penalty associated with a drug charge in Ocean City could be the fact that often times, sentences like that will include a period of probation and the court expects that during that period of probation the person will abide by the terms of probation and will complete conditions of probation.
In the Circuit Court, the maximum length of probation is five years. A person could receive a sentence, and for example, they only have to serve two years in prison but the judge suspended a 10-year sentence. Once the individual is released from incarceration, the judge would then place them on probation for five years. The individual may be required to report to a probation agent every month depending on the conditions of their charge. They also have to pay to be supervised by parole and probation.
If at any point during that five-year period the individual violates the terms of their probation, then the judge has the option to revoke their probation and impose the 10-year sentence that has been suspended. These are just some of the long-term penalties associated with a drug charge in Ocean City. An individual should be sure to consult an attorney if they are facing a charge of the sort.
Alternative Sentencing Programs
There are diversionary programs that exist as sentencing alternatives to incarceration. However, it is important for people to understand that in Ocean City and Worcester County, options like diversion programs and alternative sentences apply only after a defendant has been convicted of a crime, and not before or instead of a trial. To be clear then, it is never a case of receiving the option to do a program like that and in exchange have one’s case dismissed. That is not the reality of Worcester County. The programs are post-conviction only.
It would be highly unusual for a person convicted of possession with intent to distribute to be offered an alternative program, because those programs are tailored to help people who are substance abusers. Because of that, it may be possible for the person convicted of possession with intent to distribute to be considered if they struggle with abusing the substance themselves. In that scenario, considering that the defendant is dealing with a substance abuse problem, there is a possibility that they would be accepted into some sort of diversion program.
The people that run those programs work very hard to make sure that they do not include participants who are distributors and have no substance abuse issues. To bring such candidates into the group would be highly detrimental to the others’ progress and improvement.
In most programs there is a two-step application process. The first step is that the person has to be clinically eligible. In other words, they must be dealing with a substance abuse issue which they are unlikely or unable to recover from without help and intervention from an outside source. The second step is they have to be determined legally eligible. In order to determine a candidate’s legal eligibility, the court examines that person’s prior record to decide if they would be a good candidate for drug court.