Despite recent changes in public opinion concerning the possession of many street drugs, Maryland retains some of the harshest drug laws anywhere in the country. Merely being in possession of an illegal drug is sufficient to land a guilty defendant in jail for up to one year. In addition, the simple possession of marijuana is still illegal in Maryland. The penalties become much harsher for people convicted under the distribution of illegal drug laws. Convictions here are always felonies that are likely to result in a lengthy prison sentence.
It is essential that any person facing a drug charge in Salisbury work with an attorney who may be able to protect their future. A Salisbury drug lawyer could provide this valuable service. A dedicated criminal defense attorney could listen to a person’s needs, examine the strength of the prosecutor’s case, and potentially recommend a course of action. Call today and schedule a legal consultation.
Simple Possession Drug Charges
Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §5-401 creates a list of controlled substances in Maryland. These are items that are contraband in the state. Some drugs, such as prescription medications, can be possessed only with a doctor’s prescription. Others like street drugs are never legal to hold. As a result, any person who possesses an item on the drug schedules without proper authorization violates the law.
The penalties for the mere possession of an illegal substance are harsh. According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §5-601, it is illegal for any person to possess a controlled substance without a doctor’s prescription. Even a first violation of this statute is a misdemeanor offense that could result in up to one year in jail and creates a criminal record. Subsequent offenses increase the length of the potential jail term.
The only exception to this sentencing structure is for people facing allegations of marijuana possession. Here, a conviction is only a civil penalty for any amount under ten grams that is punishable by the payment of a fine. A Salisbury drug lawyer could help individuals facing allegations of illegal drug possession to understand the law and their rights.
Distribution or Sale of Illegal Drugs
Far harsher than the penalties available for simple drug possession are those available for drug distribution. The law is not concerned with how a person distributes the drugs or whether it is done for profit. In fact, a court may convict a defendant for merely intending to distribute the items.
According to Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §5-602, it is illegal for any person to sell, distribute, or even possess in sufficient quantities to distribute an illegal drug. The penalties for a conviction are harsh and tie directly into the type of drug in question. The harshest penalties apply to allegations of distribution of fentanyl and related drugs. Here, the court can impose a sentence of ten years imprisonment in addition to any other penalty for drug distribution.
The core penalty for drug distribution is a felony carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years. However, if the drug is a narcotic as defined by Schedule I or Schedule II of the drug code, the maximum penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment. Because of these harsh penalties, it is vital that people facing allegations of drug distribution defend themselves at every opportunity.
What Does a Drug Lawyer Do For Clients?
A Salisbury drug lawyer provides advice to clients based on knowledge of Maryland’s drug laws, past criminal cases, and state and federal rules of criminal procedure. There are specific elements of each drug offense and a prosecutor has to prove a drug crime case beyond a reasonable doubt before a defendant can be found guilty. A Salisbury drug attorney can investigate the facts of the case to try to find ways to make a jury feel doubts about a defendant’s guilt. Your attorney could raise affirmative defenses or argue you were not actually in possession of the drug you have been accused of having.
A Salisbury attorney in your drug case could also try to keep you out of jail pending trial, while work hard to keep any evidence out of court that was illegally obtained, and will make sure you benefit from all the constitutional protections afforded to defendants in the criminal justice system. Whether you want to explore opportunities for pre-trial diversion, fight charges, or negotiate a plea deal, you should be sure to have a knowledgeable and caring legal advocate who is fighting for you.
Let a Salisbury Drug Attorney Assist You
Drug charges are some of the most common cases heard in Maryland’s criminal courts. They can affect any person in the chain of distribution from the makers, to the sellers, to the users. In any event, with the exception of marijuana, being in possession of even a trace amount of an illegal drug is a crime that can result in a lengthy prison sentence.
A Salisbury drug lawyer may be able to prevent this from happening. They could work with individuals to understand their goals, to formulate a defense intended to meet those goals and to push back against police accusations in court. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.