Maryland Drug Possession Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense in Maryland – or in the District of Columbia – you should speak with an experienced drug crimes defense attorney about the seriousness of your situation. Drug charges can result in stiff penalties that include mandatory minimum jail sentences, fines, seizure of property, and a permanent criminal record.
At Jonathan Fellner, Attorney at Law, we understand the high stakes involved in these arrests and put our vast experience to work in favor of our client’s interests. Jonathan has more than 15 years’ experience working on behalf of clients throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia and strongly believes that everyone has a right to justice.
Penalties for Maryland Drug Crimes
The penalties for every sort of drug crime in Maryland can be swift and severe. Whether you have been charged with possession of marijuana or sale and distribution, Maryland has some of the harshest sentences in the nation. A misdemeanor drug possession charge alone could carry fines as high as $25,000 and a four-year prison sentence. The fact is that the consequences of one of these charges can be life-changing beyond the legal penalties. Having a drug charge on your record could impact your ability to work, find a place to live, and even attend the college of your choice.
Possession of Drugs in Maryland
Despite the widespread legalization of marijuana throughout the country, it is still illegal to possess this drug in Maryland in certain quantities unless you are part of the state’s new medical marijuana program. As recently as 2010, nearly half (49.9%) of all drug possession charges in the state were for marijuana. Fortunately, marijuana possession was decriminalized in 2014, meaning that possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is now treated as a civil infraction, similar to a traffic ticket.
The type and quantity of drugs that you have in your possession will determine both the charges that you receive as well as the potential penalties you will face. For example, possessing more than 10 grams of marijuana in Maryland carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The stakes for serious possession charges are much higher and can involve prison sentences up to 25 years and fines of up to $50,000. Some of those drugs and quantities include:
- Possession of more than 45 kilograms of marijuana
- Possession of more than 4 grams of fentanyl
- Possession of more than 28 grams of cocaine
- Possession of more than 28 grams of methamphetamine
- Possession of more than 28 gram of phencyclidine
- Possession of more than 1,000 dosages of methaqualone
- Possession of more than 4 grams of morphine or opium
High-Volume and Interstate Drug Crimes
The state of Maryland makes a distinction between those who they believe are buying and holding drugs for personal consumption versus those who plan to grow, manufacture, and distribute those drugs to others. For example, someone charged with manufacturing, selling, or distributing certain classes of drugs could face up to 20 years in prison and fines as high as $25,000.
If you are accused of being a “volume dealer” because of the quantity of drugs in your possession, the consequences could be devastating. The mandatory minimum sentence for someone convicted of distributing certain drugs in Maryland is five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Bringing drugs across state lines is another way to worsen your circumstances. Instead of facing Maryland’s criminal justice system, you may also be subject to federal drug laws for interstate trafficking. Some states have specific laws that target “drug kingpins” who finance and organize ways to bring drugs into the state for distribution and sale.
Factors That Can Enhance Drug Crime Sentences in Maryland
Certain conditions and circumstances can enhance the penalties for a Maryland drug crime. For example, any drug crime that involves the possession of a firearm automatically becomes a felony if the state can prove that the gun played a role in the crime. Drug crimes that take place within 1,000 feet of a school are also very serious and can lead to penalties that include up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Even possessing drug paraphernalia related to the use of controlled substances can bring additional charges and penalties under Maryland’s tough drug laws.
Maryland Bail Review Hearings
If you’ve been arrested and charged with violating one of Maryland’s drug laws, you have certain rights. One of those rights relates to a swift and fair hearing, the first of which is a hearing that will take place within 24 hours of your arrest. You have the right to have an attorney present, and we strongly recommend that you request the services of an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney for this hearing. When you see the judge, they will make a bail determination, tell you about your charges, and could even determine whether or not you were arrested with or without probable cause.
Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure Laws
It’s important to understand that not all drug arrests are based on legally-obtained evidence. When an officer searches a car, home, or your person, they must follow strict procedures and guidelines to ensure that they don’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights. If they do violate your rights, there is a good chance that your charges can be dismissed. This is just one of the reasons why we recommend speaking with a knowledgeable Maryland drug crimes attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest. Your attorney will independently investigate your case and determine whether or not the officer’s actions merit a request for dismissal or suppression of evidence.
Defending Your Rights and Liberty in Maryland Drug Crime Cases
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Maryland, there is no time to waste. The sooner you speak with a qualified and knowledgeable Maryland drug crimes defense attorney, the better your chances of reaching a favorable resolution to your case. If you are a first-time offender and meet other requirements, your attorney may be able to help you enter a diversion program that will keep your record clean.
Attorney Jonathan Fellner understands how stressful and frightening these situations can be for his clients. He not only spends time explaining the state’s legal process but will also employ every resource available to aggressively defend your rights and liberty. Contact our criminal law office at ((301) 602-0835 to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.