Common Drug Offenses in Maryland

The most common drug cases in Maryland involve possession of marijuana for less than 10 grams or for a large quantity. Cases involving heroin and methamphetamines also seem to be on the rise, as well as synthetic marijuana. Those seem to be the top four right now.

Common Ways Drug Offenses Are Charged

The common scenarios are largely when people try to transport drugs in their vehicle. Most commonly, a person’s car is stopped for speeding or having a taillight out, the officer approaches the vehicle, smells marijuana, and asks the people in the vehicle if they have been smoking. If they have smoked recently, they may admit it but even if they don’t, the officer asks them to step out of the vehicle and then upon a search – if they can rightfully show that they had the ability to do a search – they find marijuana in the vehicle or in the trunk.

Seth Okin’s Approach to Maryland Drug Cases

When I first look at a case, I want to know which drug we’re talking about, because some of them have more of a distinction. Marijuana is the most common. It’s not usually thought of as a violent drug, but when you talk about heroin, methamphetamines, or crack cocaine, they are more likely to be associated with violence and guns.

Common Questions People Have For Their Attorney

The most frequent questions that clients ask me are if they are looking at jail time and if they have a chance to win at trial. Those are usually the first two things that people ask.

I tell everybody the same thing: all of these cases are very distinct and very fact dependent. Each case has its own unique scenario. Drug cases are also very scientific, which is how I generally define them when I talk to people.

There is a science behind drug cases, literally and figuratively. If the police seized something, what was that something, who was the officer, and what did they do with it? For instance, if an officer gets out of their vehicle, comes up to your vehicle, even just for a traffic stop, smells marijuana, and finds it. Did he tag it correctly for evidence? When it goes back to the lab, a chemist is the next person who would open the bag and then they would have the ability to test whatever is inside. You always want to request the presence of a chemist and especially the chemist’s report because sometimes they think they found marijuana but it really wasn’t. Up until October of last year, as long as it’s synthetic it was actually legal, only as of October first of 2013 was the synthetic type outlawed in Maryland. Sometimes when they test the substance, they think it is marijuana but it’s not. Even now they test any drug because they want to know exactly what it is. Without the knowledge of which one it is, it is very difficult to start a case.

Most of my clients know what drug they had on them. I’ve never actually had a client say that they didn’t know what it was. They can always tell me which drug we are talking about. Then I ask about the circumstances surrounding how the drug was found on them or how it was seized. Was it in a home and was there an actual search warrant that was issued to allow them to go in for the search? If they were in a vehicle, I want to know the circumstances surrounding the stop. How did they get in the car, what was the reason, and was it a legitimate reason? If any of the case listings are out of line, I file motions to suppress. If I am successful in the suppression issue,that particular evidence gets thrown out and cannot be used by the state. That puts them in a better position to win.