Client Acquitted of Felony Marijuana Charge After Three Day Jury Trial

Houlon Berman managing partner, Richard A. Finci, obtained an acquittal on behalf of a client charged in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. The client was stopped late at night for a traffic violation. During the stop, he was seen in his vehicle appearing to hide something and was ordered out by the police. While out of the vehicle, he spat out a mouthful of marijuana. A search of the vehicle yielded additional quantities of marijuana, multiple small baggies, a scale and a large amount of money.

The State called an experienced narcotics Detective with the County police department as an expert witness on Street Level drug dealing and, over objection, he was permitted to testify that the facts and circumstances of the case were consistent with the client having the intent to distribute the seized marijuana. In defense, evidence was produced that the client had a medical condition for which he often used marijuana for relief.

The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning a verdict of not guilty on the felony charge and guilty of the included lesser misdemeanor charge. Since the quantity in question far exceeded the allowable ten grams under Maryland law, the client faced up to one year in prison. At sentencing, the client was given unsupervised probation for one year and 24 hours of community service.

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