Anne Arundel Drug Penalties

Criminal history plays a unique role in determining penalties in Anne Arundel drug cases. If an individual has priors on the exact same charge, or if an individual has had a prior possession with intent to distribute or a prior possession with intent to manufacture, whenever someone is charged with priors in any drug, then a person has to have a close look at what those priors are, when they occurred, and how many years apart they are.

A serious offense will always have enhanced penalties. If someone had a prior warrant 10 years ago, the judge is going to be harder on them. If they had a prior 30 years ago, a judge may consider being a little bit more lenient. The majority of these cases and the majority of these felonies, the higher drug possession with intent to distribute drugs or manufacturing, are generally going to be in front of the circuit courts. The penalties when there are prior convictions can be serious in Anne Arundel drug cases, so it is important to combat them early when facing charges with the help of a skilled drug attorney in Anne Arundel.

Repeat Offenses

If someone is looking at drug possession charges, the most basic penalties start at the bottom.  If an individual has priors, the penalties go up. Each case has a sentencing guideline, and the guideline for someone with no priors is as small as it can be, with no aggravating factors. They are always down at the bottom, but once they have prior offenses, the numbers start to jump. The penalty could become something substantially different.

If someone is looking at Schedule I or Schedule II drugs and specifically non-marijuana drugs, the most popular are heroin, crack, cocaine, LSD, meth, and MDMA, the penalty is 20 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. If they are looking at what these penalties can go up to, for a second offense, there is a two-year mandatory prison sentence and this mandatory minimum can attach.

Manufacturing, distribution, and possession with intent are felonies and while lesser drugs like marijuana come with smaller penalties, if an individual has been convicted and they think about the maximum penalties of 20 years on a first offense, they can only imagine what they are going to do to them on a second offense without a drug lawyer having to tell them that. In fact, attaching a mandatory minimum sentence tells the strength of where the state is coming from. If they see it once, they do not want to see it again and that is what they are telling an individual.

Court Considerations

Maryland Circuit Courts schedule for someone to come in for status conferences, motion hearings, and things that can be argued when facing an Anne Arundel drug case. Here, if an individual does not have anything to argue and is going in for a plea or if they are going to trial and are found guilty, all the circuit courts have solicitors that are distinct from a district court.

They have the same guidelines for each individual that come before them and the guidelines consist of considering what crime this is, where it rates, what the prior history is, if any, and if there is more than one event, an individual moves up and away from the actuality of probation with every number.

If an individual has a prior conviction and is facing an Anne Arundel drug case, then they may move the individual forward but may give them a suspended sentence. If an individual has multiple priors, that suspended sentence or even that probation is going to change into something much more substantial.

Prior Convictions

If an individual has a prior conviction, but it is something that is unrelated to drugs, it can still be laid against someone. If an individual has a prior conviction for a violent offense, that can still be in there. Those things are important. A person has to look exactly for what these priors were, when they were.

Just because someone does not have any drug priors but perhaps a person had a DUI, perhaps a person had an assault conviction, gun conviction, or something smaller on the line, it can still be laid against them. That is up to the judge to utilize that information. The sentencing guideline gets used in a certain way, but if this prior offense is on an exceptionally low level and not truly related, the judge can take that into consideration. An Anne Arundel drug attorney knows how to mitigate certain penalties considering prior offenses.

Diversion Programs

Diversion programs are few and far between for Anne Arundel drug cases. There is no technical rule in the State of Maryland especially in Anne Arundel County with regards to alternative sentencing. There are drug court programs that exist depending on where an individual is and which county an individual is in, but there is no distinctive policy for that to be inclusive of harder felony charges. Putting someone through a drug program would be one that involves substance abuse, drug abuse, and addressing any drugs that they may or may not be using, but have contact with and used in the past, even if they have never used a drug.