Drug charges will have a serious impact on your life. It can affect your current and future employment, and for students it could have serious repercussions regarding both your enrollment in college and your eligibility for student loans. Repeat offenders are given harsher sentences, often with minimum required jail time, so it is absolutely crucial that you avoid having drug charges on your record whenever possible. We will work to review every detail of your case, from the circumstances of your arrest to the nature of the charges, in order to avoid a guilty verdict or, when that’s not possible, to seek the most lenient outcome.
Possession for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison and a $25,000 fine under §5-601(c)(1) of the Maryland Criminal Code. However, courts are not always inclined to view drug users brought in on possession as criminals. Instead, they can be persuaded to treat addiction as a disease. There are many alternatives to jail time for individuals facing possession charges, and we are experienced in advocating for the best possible outcome.
Although possession of Marijuana has recently been classified as a civil offense, possession of more than 10gm is still subject to the criminal code under §5-601. This carries a maximum sentence of one year and a $1,000 fine. Quick and aggressive legal action can keep convictions to a minimum.
Possession of CDS with the intent to sell, distribute, or transport can be a very serious offense and is routinely met with harsh sentencing in Maryland courts, with repeat offenders facing mandatory jail time. The maximum and minimum sentencing under §5-602 of the Maryland Criminal Code depends on the classification of the drug. CDS are split into five schedules, with Schedule I containing the most dangerous and addictive (e.g. heroin, amphetamines, etc.) and Schedule IV containing primarily additives. A full list of drugs and their schedules can be found here.
Recently, possession of marijuana under 10gm has been decriminalized, making it a civil offense without the potential for jail time. First offenders can receive a fine up to $100, with repeat offenders facing fines from $250-$500. In addition, substance abuse rehabilitation can be ordered by the court in situations where they deem it necessary.
Children under the age of 21 will likely have their driving license suspended, along with the possibility of court ordered substance abuse rehabilitation or a mandatory work program consisting of 20-40 hours a week depending on the number of offenses committed.
Though marijuana under 10 grams is a civil offense, possession of marijuana paraphernalia is still criminal. The state of Maryland attempted to change this law in 2015 but it was vetoed by governor Larry Hogan after the bill passed through the General Assembly. For more information, see this article. Though it is likely the law will change soon to make paraphernalia legal, it has not yet done so. In addition, the state of Maryland has passed a law that will make smoking in public places punishable with up to a $500 fine starting in 2015.