Drug trafficking is an offense that covers the sale, manufacture, or transportation of a large amount of one or more controlled substances. It’s a serious crime that can severely impact the future of anyone who is charged with it. Since drug trafficking can be both a federal and state offense, fighting it requires the highest level of legal expertise. A lawyer who is experienced battling drug trafficking charges can help clients defend themselves by questioning the validity of the evidence presented by the prosecution and crafting a defense to prove their client’s innocence.
If drug trafficking charges are currently threatening your future or the future of someone close to you, get in touch with the Maryland drug trafficking defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys will work to protect your rights and your future at every step. Call us at (410) 694-7291 today to set up your free initial consultation.
Defining Drug Trafficking in Maryland
Drug trafficking is defined as the manufacture, import, export, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance, including those that are counterfeit. Drug trafficking could also be defined as the possession of a controlled substance (or counterfeit controlled substance) with the intent to manufacture, import, export, distribute, or dispense. Drug trafficking is defined by the amount of the substance that a person possesses, which means that it is possible to be charged with drug trafficking even if you possess a large amount of a controlled substance for personal use.
Drug trafficking can also be charged in conjunction with other drug crimes. Similar drug-related crimes include:
- Drug possession – Possessing marijuana or other illegal forms of narcotics
- Drug cultivation – Growing or otherwise reproducing illegal drugs
- Drug distribution – Small-scale operations involved in manufacturing, transporting, and selling controlled substances
- Drug manufacturing – Large operations that manufacture, transport, and conduct the sale of controlled substances
Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Maryland
Drug trafficking charges may be either a federal charge, state charge, or both. If the controlled substance in question is brought across state lines (or brought in from another country), the defendant will face federal criminal charges; if the substance is contained within one state, they will likely face state criminal charges, though they may also be charged with “possession with intent to distribute.” Bringing controlled substances across state lines can result in both federal and state criminal charges.
Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties
Penalties for federal drug trafficking charges are heavily dependent on a few factors. Firstly, penalties are determined by the exact amount of the controlled substance that was allegedly held by the defendant. For example, possessing between 500 and 4,999 grams of cocaine or a cocaine mixture is an offense that carries a penalty of imprisonment for up to five years for a first offense, while a first-time charge of possessing more than 5 kgs of cocaine can result in up to 10 years in prison. Other controlled substances have different weight thresholds for what is considered to be trafficking.
State Drug Trafficking Penalties
In Maryland, drug trafficking is charged as “possession with intent to distribute.” According to the Maryland State Code, possession with intent to distribute carries a penalty that can include a fine of up to $15,000 and up to five years in prison if the substance is marijuana or a Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V drug. If the controlled substance is a Schedule I or Schedule II drug (other than marijuana), the penalties may be a prison sentence of up to 20 years and up to $25,000 in fines.
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help with Drug Trafficking Charges
If you have been charged with drug trafficking in Maryland, the best thing you can do for your future is to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you. A lawyer can help you to better understand the charges made against you, work with you to prepare for court appearances, make sure that the prosecution follows procedure and respects your rights, and ensure that all of the evidence used against you is valid.
The most important thing a lawyer can do to mitigate your drug trafficking charges is to craft a defense for you. Possible defenses that a lawyer can use to defend you against drug trafficking charges include:
- Invalid evidence – If the search that resulted in the seizure of the drugs was not done legally, or if they searched your property without a warrant, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence and your case may be thrown out.
- Lack of intent – This defense can work if you prove that you did not intend to distribute the drugs that you possessed. This defense can work if, for example, you borrowed someone’s car and had no knowledge of the presence of drugs in the vehicle.
- Lack of actual possession – When using this defense, you will have to prove that the drugs that law enforcement found were not truly in your possession and that you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyers Available in Maryland
The Maryland drug trafficking defense lawyers from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice are available to assist you with your drug trafficking case. Don’t risk your future by not fighting hard enough against your charges; instead, work with our team of experienced legal professionals to mitigate your charges or have them dismissed altogether. Call us at (410) 694-7291 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.