In the state of Maryland, it is illegal to buy, possess, distribute, or sell certain drugs. A person can be charged with possession of drugs if law enforcement believes they have possession or control of an illegal drug. It is important to know that even a small amount of drugs can still result in a person receiving criminal charges. When facing drug possession charges, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to provide legal representation for your case.
Under the Maryland Criminal Code, a person cannot possess a controlled dangerous substance, including prescription drugs without a legitimate prescription. Breaking this law can result in harsh penalties that have the power to impact a person for the rest of their life. These penalties can vary depending on the substance that the person is carrying. The maximum penalty for the possession of most substances is one year in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000 for first-time offenders.
However, there is an exception for the possession of marijuana products. A first-time offender of marijuana possession may see up to six months in jail with a $1000 maximum fine. Maryland has decriminalized possession up to 10 grams of marijuana but you can still get a civil citation for this offense. Additionally, you may possess marijuana if you have a valid state certified ID card.
Intent to Distribute
Possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs is a separate charge from regular possession. These charges may be brought against an individual if law enforcement believes they were carrying drugs with the intent to distribute or sell them. The State would need to introduce evidence that the individual has enough of a drug to reasonably indicate plans to distribute the substance or other indicia of sale such as possession of scales or other paraphernalia. Possession with Intent to Distribute is a felony in Maryland.
The penalties an offender may face can depend on two factors: the type of substance and the amount in possession. Certain drugs can be categorized into Schedule 1 or 2 narcotics (heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, etc.) or hallucinogens such as LSD or PCP. For a first offense of distributing schedule these drugs, a person may face up to 20 years in jail and a $15,000 fine. A second-time offender may see a 10-year minimum sentence in jail. For a third offense, the individual can face a 25-year mandatory minimum. A fourth-time offender may be subject to 40-year mandatory sentence. There are exceptions to the mandatory sentences. Possession with intent to distribute marijuana for the first time can be five years in jail with a $15,000 fine.
Contact our Firm
The Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz has decades of experience representing clients in Howard County, Maryland who have been charged with a crime. If you are facing criminal charges, let our firm explore all possible defenses and fight to protect your future. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz today to discuss your case.