Frederick County Drug Lawyer
If you are charged with violating any of Maryland’s drug laws, speaking with an experienced Frederick County drug lawyer is the first step to what could be an effective defense.
Drug Charges in Frederick County
There are a variety of ways in which people violate Maryland’s drug laws, including:
- Possessing or administering controlled substances [Maryland Annotated Code Section 5-601]
- Possessing controlled substances with intent to sell, distribute, or traffic [MD Section 5–602]
- Manufacturing controlled substances, or possessing equipment that is commonly used to manufacture them [MD Section 5–603]
Maryland law follows the Federal Substances Guidelines to classify drugs for the purposes of prosecution. It classifies each drug’s abuse properties, along with any medical value. There are five categories, and as a Frederick County drug lawyer can tell you, the lower the schedule number, the more serious the charges and penalties.
- Schedule I – Heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and other hallucinogens
- Schedule II – Cocaine, methamphetamine, crystal meth, morphine, and PCP
- Schedule III – Anabolic steroids, empirin, codeine and hydrocodone (and its derivatives), barbiturates, and other depressants
- Schedule IV – Prescription drugs such as Darvon, Valium, Rohypnol (“roofies”), and many other stimulants and tranquilizers
- Schedule V – Primarily codeine-based cough suppressants or other minor prescription drugs
Penalties for Drug-Possession Convictions
The following are possession-only drug penalties:
- Possession of a controlled substance (other than marijuana) is viewed as having just enough for personal consumption. The penalty is up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both [MD Section 5-601(c)(1)].
- Possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana: A fine as high as $1,000, a jail sentence of up to a year, or both [MD Section 5-601(c)(2)].
- Possession of Marijuana less than 10 grams is no longer a criminally prosecuted charge for those persons above the age of 21. You will receive a civil citation. If you are found in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana the police can no longer arrest you for simple possession. Instead they must issue a civil citation. You will have the option to pay the civil citation or request a hearing just like a traffic ticket. The civil penalty for a first offense is a fine up to $100. The penalty for a second offense is a fine of up to $250.
- Felony possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance: A first conviction results in a prison sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Subsequent convictions bring a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years a fine of up to $100,000 [MD Section 5–608(a) & (b)(1)].
- Possession of a Schedule III or V controlled substance: A first offense brings up to five years in prison, a fine up to $15,000, or both. A second offense brings a mandatory minimum of two, and as much as five, years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine, or both [MD Section 5-607].
- Possession with intent to distribute controlled substances (Schedules III through V). This is referred to the “volume dealer” law [MD Section 5–612]. Large amounts of controlled substances seized can raise this violation to “possession with intent.” These amounts are listed in MD Section 5-612(a). Hiring a Frederick County drug attorney can be an asset in such cases as penalties involve a mandatory minimum prison sentence beginning at five years and up to 40 years, along with a fine up to $100,000, depending on the controlled substance and the amount in possession.
These punishments alone are reasons to quickly retain a Frederick County drug lawyer in order to mount the proper defense.
Enhanced Drug Conviction Penalties
Those who are found guilty of any drug-manufacturing charge may be ordered by the court to pay for the costs of any cleanup that may be required [MD Section 5–610].
If suspects have a weapon with them when charged with transporting or distributing controlled substances, they could serve up to a mandatory five years and as much as 20 years in prison. If convicted a second time for this violation, the minimum prison sentence is 20 years [MD Section 5-621(c)(1)].
It is also illegal for anyone to possess, manufacture, sell, or distribute drugs within 1,000 feet of any primary or secondary school, as well as on a school bus. First convictions bring up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Second convictions bring a maximum sentence of 40 years and a fine of up to $40,000 [MD Section 5-627(c)].
Federal Drug Charges
These offenses [United States Code, Chapter 13, Part D] primarily surround the manufacture, distribution, and transportation of controlled substances across state lines. Conviction of drug crimes and other associated offenses, such as engaging in a criminal conspiracy to violate federal drug laws, can bring penalties and fines much more severe than might be imposed in a Maryland Court.
A Frederick County Drug Lawyer Can Help
A drug charges defense attorney who has experience defending those accused of state or federal drug charges can be discuss your options with you.