Maryland Criminal Law, Title 5 deals with “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS), which include Schedule V, Schedule IV, Schedule III, Schedule II, and Schedule I drugs of all kinds. Title 5 is broken down into numerous sections, which each address different aspects of Maryland’s criminal drug laws. For example, some statutes focus on providing definitions (such as a definition for “drug paraphernalia”), while others outline the elements of an offense, or the facts that the state must prove to obtain a conviction. This article will focus on two sections of Title 5 – Section 5-608(a) and Section 5-609(a) – which outline the criminal penalties for unlawful distribution, manufacture, or possession of narcotics or CDS in Maryland. Read on for an explanation of Maryland’s drug-related fines and sentencing.
Section 5-608(a): Penalties for Narcotic Drugs in Maryland
Maryland defines the term “narcotic drug” to mean any controlled substance “that has been found to present an extreme danger to the health and welfare of the community because of addiction-forming… qualities.” In order to be a narcotic drug, the substance must also be an opiate, a derivative of coca leaves, or meet other chemical standards.
A narcotic can be a Schedule V, IV, III, II, or I drug. Examples of Schedule I and Schedule II CDS are listed below. Examples of Schedule V, IV, and III controlled substances include:
- Ambien (zolpidem)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
Section 5-608(a) establishes criminal penalties for violations of the following statutes:
- Section 5-602 – Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or dispensing CDS
- Section 5-603 – Possession of equipment to produce CDS
- Section 5-604 – Manufacturing or possessing a “counterfeit” (fake) substance
- Section 5-605 – Keeping a “common nuisance,” which means maintaining a house (or other type of property) where drugs or drug paraphernalia are being manufactured, stored, or produced
- Section 5-606 – Possession of false prescriptions with intent to distribute
Under Section 5-608(a), the drug offenses listed above are felonies and are subject to the following criminal penalties when Schedule I or Schedule II CDS are involved:
- Prison – Maximum sentence of 20 years
- Fines – Maximum of $25,000
Examples of Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substances include:
It’s important to point out that these penalties apply generally to first-time offenders. There are increased penalties for repeat offenders under other sections of the law.
Section 5-608(a): Penalties for Schedule I and II Hallucinogens in Maryland
Section 5-608(a) specifically deals with “selected Schedule I and II hallucinogenic substances,” meaning certain CDS that have hallucinogenic (hallucination-inducing) qualities. Some of the most common among these substances are LSD (acid) and MDMA (ecstasy). However, other drugs in this category also include PCP (phencyclidine, also known as “angel dust”), the PCP precursor 1-phenylcyclohexylamine, and Rolicyclidine (PCPy).
Section 5-608(a) establishes the penalties for certain crimes involving these types of drugs. The offenses covered are the same as those listed above, such as possession of equipment to produce CDS under Section 5-603. The criminal penalties for these offenses may include the following when Schedule I or II hallucinogens are involved:
- Prison – Maximum sentence of 20 years
- Fines – Maximum of $20,000
Again, these penalties apply specifically to first-time offenders. Second- or third-time offenders face even harsher outcomes. For instance, under Section 5-608(b), the fine increases from $20,000 for a first offense to $100,000 for a second offense, becoming up to five times greater.
In addition to fines and prison time, convicted offenders also face an assortment of additional penalties, including probation and the suspension or revocation of the offender’s driver license for a period of months or years. It can also be extremely burdensome to have a felony drug record attached to your name, which makes it difficult to get hired for many jobs or take advantage of other opportunities in life. A felony record will also prevent you from lawfully owning or purchasing firearms, and in some cases, even traveling abroad.
Baltimore Drug Defense Lawyer for Possession, Distribution, and Trafficking Charges
If you or one of your family members was arrested for drug possession, distribution of controlled substances, drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, or related offenses in Baltimore, it is urgent that you contact a skilled drug defense attorney for help right away. Randolph Rice, a former Assistant State’s Attorney, is a knowledgeable, aggressive, and strategic defense lawyer with an extensive background handling misdemeanor and felony drug cases in Baltimore.
Whether the allegations against you involve marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD (acid), ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, steroids, DMT, GHB, or prescription drugs like OxyContin or Adderall, Randolph Rice will fight hard and negotiate tactically to limit your penalties. It may even be possible to avoid jail time or have the case against you dismissed. For a free legal consultation, contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online right away, or call today at (410) 694-7291.