Drug possession on a college campus is far from rare. Many students use prescription drugs as study aids, and a high proportion of students use recreational drugs, whether they be prescription drugs, marijuana, or more illicit drugs. Drug possession charges on a college campus can often be quite unfair, and our attorneys look to stand up for students at the University of Maryland and other young people charged with drug possession in Maryland.
If you or your child was arrested for drug possession while attending UMD, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our drug possession defense attorney for University of Maryland students may be able to take your case and fight to keep you in school and out of jail. For a free legal consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (410) 694-7291.
Drug Possession Laws in Maryland
In Maryland, as in most states, drugs are categorized by “Schedule.” The most dangerous drugs are contained in Schedule I, which includes drugs that contain little to no therapeutic use and are dangerous for people to have in their possession. Most “narcotics” – drugs produced from the coca leaf (cocaine) or poppy straw (heroin) – are contained in schedules I through III. Other drugs listed on Schedule I through Schedule V are all considered “controlled dangerous substances” under Maryland law, and it is generally illegal to possess them without a valid prescription in your name.
Merely possessing drugs for personal use – known as “simple possession” – is the most common drug crime. If you have a higher quantity of drugs and there is evidence that you have the drugs so that you can sell them or distribute them, you can be charged with “possession with intent to distribute” (PWID), which is a more serious offense. You can also be charged with actually delivering or selling drugs, and you can be charged with possessing any precursors or elements used to “cook” or manufacture drugs.
There are additional charges available for possessing drug paraphernalia. This typically includes things to store drugs, such as baggies or vials; things used to consume drugs, such as pipes or bongs; and things used to divide and prepare drugs, such as scales and grinders.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Maryland
Generally speaking, possession of any illegal drugs without a valid prescription can lead to substantial jail time and fines. First-time offenders charged with simple possession could face up to a year in jail and fines up to $5,000. Repeat offenders face higher penalties, as do those accused of possession with the intent to deliver.
Fortunately, penalties for marijuana possession are typically lowered. In fact, possession of under 10 grams of marijuana is not a crime in Maryland and is punished by a fine of $100. Repeat offenses increase to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. Otherwise, possession of marijuana in excess of 10 grams is punished as a misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
More severe drug charges can lead to long-term incarceration and very high fines for charges related to drug distribution and trafficking. Talk to a lawyer about any of these charges.
Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in MD
There are many standard defenses that people accused of drug possession can use to fight the charges against them. Some of these defenses only work in certain situations, but they may make the difference between jail time and no jail time in your case.
The first and simplest defense is to claim that you had a prescription for the drugs. If you were carrying prescription medication in a pill case or in your pocket, you might not have immediate proof that they were prescribed to you. Producing the prescription bottle will often help clear up any misunderstandings. If prosecutors continue to give you a hard time, your attorney can work to handle their complaints.
One of the other common defenses people use is to claim that the drugs are not theirs. This defense is best used in cases of “constructive possession.” “Constructive possession” means that you had access to the drugs and knowledge that they were there. This is different from “actual possession,” which means that the drugs were on your person. If drugs were found on the floor of a car or in a shared space in a dorm room, police may charge anyone who was in the car or had access to the dorm room with drug possession. However, if you had no knowledge that the drugs were there – or that they were actual drugs – you may be able to beat these charges. It is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, so any evidence your attorney can present to challenge their accusations may help you avoid the charges.
Lastly, many drug cases can be challenged by fighting to keep evidence out of the case. This can occur if drug lab results are tainted or skewed by bias or if police illegally search or seize your property while investigating the possession charges. Talk to a lawyer about what defenses are appropriate in your case.
Call Our UMD Drug Possession Defense Attorneys Today for a Free Legal Consultation
If you have been arrested and charged with drug possession or you have a college-aged child who was arrested while attending the University of Maryland, it is vital to speak with an attorney. The Law Offices of Randolph Rice’s drug possession defense attorneys for UMD students represent the accused and fight to get charges and fines dropped for drug possession cases. For a free legal consultation on how to proceed with your case, call our attorneys today at (410) 694-7291.