Facing Drug Charges in Maryland?
If you or someone you know has been brought up against drug or drug-related charges, you need representation. The unfortunate consequence of the war on drugs is that many people receive sentences that are drastically disproportionate to the crimes committed.
Possession of a controlled substance in Maryland can have varying consequences depending on your age, gender, criminal record, location, and the amount of the substance in question. There are dozens of ways that your civil liberties can be put at risk in the case of drug charges, so the best thing you can do is obtain a knowledgeable Maryland drug lawyer for your case.
Let our illegal drug lawyers navigate you through the complexities of the following aspects of drug charges, and get you the help you need today.
Understanding Illegal Drug Charges
In legal parlance we refer to the use of a “controlled substance” when speaking of the manufacturing, sale, or possession of illegal drugs. A controlled substance is any drug whose use, manufacture, and distribution is regulated or prohibited by the US government.
Drug Schedule and Penalties
The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has defined a standardized set of sentences for drug possession based on the schedule of the drug, amount of the controlled substance, and number of offences on your record.
The schedule of a drug is determined by its medical uses and potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs have no medical uses and a very high potential for abuse while schedule V drugs have common medicinal uses and a very low potential for abuse.
After a quantity threshold that varies by drug is reached, prison time and fines may double because of the amount of illegal drugs you possess. A second offense may also double sentences and fines. A large enough quantity will make your drug crime a felony. For more information on the different severities of crimes see our Felonies and Misdemeanors page.
Illegal Drug Charges
There are three (3) main types of drug charges that may be leveled at you.
Possession is the charge most people are familiar with and understand. It means that you had possession of illegal drugs but lacked a valid prescription. Drug paraphernalia such as pipes, syringes, and scales can also lead to charges of drug possession.
In the case of constructive possession, you are not required to have drugs or drug-related items on your person when arrested. Constructive possession means that you were in control of a location where drugs were stored. This could be your car, a locker at school, or your home. Your control over that location implies control of, and thus possession of, the drugs.
Manufacturing illegal drugs has become more common as step-by-step processes and equipment have become relatively easy to obtain. The evidence required for such charges must include the means with which to produce or refine an illegal drug.
Distribution of a controlled substance is charged when you are caught in the act of selling, or attempting to sell, illegal drugs. You may also be charged with intent to distribute even if it is not proven that you tried selling the drugs. A large quantity of drugs may imply the intent to sell.
Closely related to distribution is drug trafficking. The difference between trafficking and distribution is quantity. Trafficking is a very serious federal crime and reserved for very large quantities of drugs, typically with a value of $75,000 or greater.
Defending Against Drug Charges
The best defense against drug charges is usually to show that your Fourth Amendment rights were violated when drugs were discovered. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful “search and seizure” and any evidence obtained unlawfully is inadmissible in court.
Effectively showing that the police have violated your rights is successful only inasmuch as your defense is knowledgeable, thorough, and consistent from the beginning. This highlights the need for qualified legal counsel in any case involving drug charges.
There is even a provision known as “diversion” for first time offenders that can keep the record of a first offender completely clean. Such a result could change the course of your life, especially in the case of a minor.
Contact Houlon Berman
The experience available at Houlon Berman may mean the difference between ten (10) years in prison or a clean criminal record.
If you need a veteran drug defense lawyer in Maryland, particularly Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, contact our team today and we will get in touch with you soon as possible.
Return to the Houlon Berman Homepage