Have you been arrested for a drug crime? Whether the charges are for possession, manufacturing, or distribution, they can severely disrupt your life. For many, drug charges may mean losing your job or not getting your future dream job. Don’t leave your chances to luck. Call a Baltimore drug crime lawyer to come to your assistance.
Types of Drug-Related Charges in Baltimore
Under Maryland law there are many different offenses that fall under drug crimes. The type of drugs and the amount you are arrested with can determine what charge you will be facing. However, there are three main categories of drug crimes that can be charged.
- Possession – Possession is the most common charge that people face. It means that you were found to have in your possession illegal drugs. There is also constructive possession meaning that you did not physically have the drugs on you but were in control of the area the drugs were located. Furthermore, if you were found to have drug paraphernalia in your control, you can also be charged with possession of those objects.
- Manufacturing – Manufacturing illicit drugs involves partaking in any part of the creation of the drug. This can include mixing the chemicals together or growing the illicit drug. This can include selling the necessary chemicals or possessing the specialized production equipment it takes to make the drug.
- Distribution – Distribution includes supplying, transporting or importing the illegal drugs. Under 5-602 of Maryland’s Criminal Code, a person may not (1) distribute or dispense a controlled dangerous substance or (2) possess a controlled dangerous substance in sufficient quantity reasonably to indicate under all circumstances an intent to distribute or dispense a controlled dangerous substance.
Maryland Criminal Code (Title 5)
Under Maryland’s criminal code, there are many subsections regulating not only the possession, manufacturing and distribution of drugs, but there are also sections criminalizing related and derivative crimes. This can include distributing faked controlled dangerous substances and possessing a noncontrolled substance that one is reasonably believed to be a controlled dangerous substance. A person who is found guilty of either of those crimes is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to not more than one year in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
The code further delineates between drugs by placing them in specific schedules, between one and five. Schedule one outlines core substances, opium derivatives, hallucinogens and depressants which are criminalized. The remaining schedules consist of about the same headings, however, they list different drugs. If the substance falls under the Schedule 1 or 2 charge, which includes heroin, cocaine, crack, LSD, methamphetamine, and ecstasy, the penalty can be increased drastically. If you have found yourself charged with a drug crime under Maryland law, you need to contact a Baltimore drug crime defense lawyer.
Penalties for Drug Crimes in Baltimore
The Maryland criminal code states that if a person is convicted of a subsequent crime, also known as being a repeat offender, the convicted is subject to a term of imprisonment twice that otherwise authorized or twice the fine otherwise authorized or both.
If a person is charged with selling prescription drugs or controlled dangerous substances different from that ordered, the person if convicted is guilty of a misdemeanor. The penalty is no less than a month and no more than a year in jail and/or a fine not less than $100 or not exceeding $500. This crime carries a lesser sentence, when compared to crimes that can carry years in prison and fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you are charged with any type of drug crime, your life will be changed. Allow a Baltimore drug crime defense lawyer to assist you in your defense.
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
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.
Our Attorneys Can Help With Your Drug Charges in Baltimore
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.
If you are charged with a drug crime, you could be looking at serious time. If you already have a preexisting drug crime, your punishment can be much more severe. With so much on the line, don’t go to court alone. We will talk to you about available defenses and possible outcomes of your case. Call a Baltimore drug crime lawyer to assist you.
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 Rice, Murtha & Psoras online right away, or call today at (410) 694-7291.