It is illegal for anyone in the state of Maryland to buy, possess, distribute, or sell drugs. If a law enforcement officer believes a person is in possession of an illegal drug, they can be charged with a drug crime. It is important to be aware that even a small amount of drugs can result in criminal charges. Continue reading below to learn more and contact an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney if you are facing these charges.
What are the Penalties for Drug Possession?
The Maryland Criminal Code states that a person cannot possess a controlled dangerous substance. This includes prescription drugs without a legitimate prescription. Individuals who violate this law can face severe penalties as a result of their actions. These have the potential to impact them for the rest of their life. The penalties can vary depending on the substance in which the person was found in possession. Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, not marijuana carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $5000.
It is important to know there is an exception for the possession of marijuana products. Only individuals who have a valid state medical marijuana card may legally possess the drug. First-time offenders of marijuana possession may be subject to a monetary citation or up to six months in jail with a maximum $1000 fine. The state of Maryland decriminalized possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, however, you can still receive a civil citation.
What are the Penalties of Intent to Distribute?
When a person is charged with possession with the intent to distribute illegal drugs, it is a different charge than regular possession. A person may face these charges if law enforcement believes they were carrying drugs with the intent to either distribute or sell them. In order to be convicted of this crime, the state is required to introduce evidence that the offender possessed enough of the drug to reasonably indicate these plans or in such a way that the intent to sell is evident. This might include possession of a large quantity of cash, a scale, or having the substance individually packaged. In Maryland, possession with the intent to distribute is a felony charge.
The penalties a person may face in these situations can depend on two factors: the type of substances and the amount in their possession. First-time offenders may face up to 20 years in jail as well as a $15,000 fine. Second-time offenders may face a minimum of 10 years in jail. Third-time offenders can be subject to a mandatory 25-year minimum. Fourth-time offenders may face a mandatory 40-year sentence.
Contact our Firm
The Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz has decades of experience representing clients in Anne Arundel and Howard County, Maryland who need legal assistance for criminal defense or personal injury matters. Contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz today to discuss your case.