In the history of American criminal justice, drug offenses have generally been subject to some of the harshest penalties of all criminal charges. The current penal code in effect in Maryland continues this trend. Defendants who are convicted of drug offenses are subject to jail time, fines and court fees, substance abuse counseling, community service, driver’s license suspension, and a host of other sanctions. Some other serious consequences that may result from even a first-time drug offense include the following:
- Professional Discipline: Any defendant who holds a professional license is subject to discipline by the licensing board. Sometimes, the discipline can occur before a conviction is even finalized. Doctors, lawyers, contractors, accountants, electricians, and many other professionals must report to state licensing agencies. In addition to any penalties through the criminal justice system, the careers of licensed professionals are placed in jeopardy when they are charged with a drug offense.
- Enforcement of Federal Marijuana Laws: The conflict between state and federal law is apparent in many aspects of Maryland life. Medical cannabis businesses cannot bank in federal institutions, because their funds are considered illegal drug money. Federal employment is usually not available to Marylanders who use medical marijuana. And in perhaps the most confusing of all restrictions, the possession of marijuana is illegal on federal lands within state borders—even for those who hold valid medical marijuana cards. Federal lands in Maryland include such popular destinations as Antietam National Battlefield, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Piscataway Park, and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
- Federal enforcement of marijuana laws has been inconsistent, and highly dependent upon the policies of the ruling political party. Regardless of political policies, Marylanders expose themselves to criminal liability when they possess marijuana on any federal lands. Federal drug charges can carry even harsher penalties and collateral consequences than state drug charges.
- Long-Term Collateral Consequences: If you are convicted of a drug crime, it is likely that you will be subject to long-term consequences as a result of your criminal record. Employers are often hesitant to hire people with a history of drug abuse or convictions, and a drug crime conviction may make it difficult to rent an apartment. In addition, individuals who are convicted of a drug crime may be excluded from the federal student loan program, which can make it difficult to pursue a college education. Foreign nationals who are convicted of drug crimes may face serious immigration consequences, including deportation.
Call a Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is facing drug charges, a skilled Maryland criminal defense lawyer can protect your legal rights during this critical period. Attorney G. Randolph Rice, Jr. has decades of experience in negotiating and litigating Maryland drug cases. Learn why defendants in the Baltimore area and throughout the state of Maryland trust attorney Randolph Rice. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule your free consultation today.