Westminster Drug Lawyer

While public perceptions of certain controlled substances have changed in recent years, Maryland state law still treats marijuana possession as a civil offense and possession of all other controlled substances as misdemeanors. Courts may impose even harsher sentences against anyone convicted of distributing drugs or having the intent to do so, including the possibility of prison time.

When facing any drug-related criminal charge, seeking help from a seasoned Westminster drug lawyer should be a top priority. These cases can be complicated on both legal and personal levels, and guidance from an experienced defense attorney could be vital to protecting your long-term interests.

Drug Possession Charges in Westminster

Under Maryland Code, Criminal Law §5-601, it is a misdemeanor for someone to possess, obtain through fraud, or administer to another person any controlled substance besides marijuana. First-time offenses under this statute may result in maximum sanctions of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, with maximum jail sentences increasing to 18 months for second and third convictions and two years for fourth and subsequent convictions.

Maryland decriminalized the possession of marijuana for personal use in 2016, so possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana is considered a civil offense. These charges are punishable by a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second, and a $500 fine for third and subsequent offenses. However, this does not mean the drug has been fully legalized. Possessing over 10 grams of marijuana can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense with maximum penalties of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Furthermore, as a Westminster drug attorney could explain, possession of drug paraphernalia may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor under Maryland Code, Criminal Law §5-619, with or without controlled substances being present.

Enhanced Penalties for Controlled Substance Distribution

Maryland Code, Criminal Law §5-602 prohibits distributing, dispensing, or possessing in sufficient quality to indicate a plan to distribute any controlled substance. As per Maryland Code, Criminal Law §§5-607 through 5-609, this offense is a felony punishable by five years imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines. Offenses involving Schedule I or Schedule II drugs as defined by Maryland Code, Criminal Law §§5-402 through 5-406 have maximum sanctions of 20 years and $15,000 in fines, with substantially increased penalties possible for repeat offenders. Any offense involving heroin or fentanyl may be punished by an additional ten years of imprisonment on top of the standard penalties.

It is worth noting that anyone who possesses, distributes, or manufactures more than the legally specified amount of a controlled substance is subject to a mandatory minimum five-year prison term and a maximum $100,000 fine under Maryland Code, Criminal Law §5-612. These quantity thresholds include the following:

  • 50 pounds of marijuana
  • 16 ounces of liquid phencyclidine (PCP)
  • 448 grams of cocaine or cocaine base, phencyclidine mixture, or methamphetamine
  • 28 grams of morphine, opium, or fentanyl mixture
  • Five grams of fentanyl
  • 1,000 dosage units of LSD

A drug attorney in Westminster could explain the differences between various drug offenses and how best to combat them during a private consultation.

Contact a Westminster Drug Attorney for Help

Making sense of Maryland’s drug laws can be a deceptively complex endeavor. Regardless of whether you are facing charges for unlawful possession or distribution of a controlled substance, you may face stressful and even devastating sanctions. Fortunately, help is available from dedicated legal professionals with the expertise and experience to help you defend your rights.

A conversation with a Westminster drug lawyer could provide answers to your questions and clarity about your next steps. Call today to schedule a meeting.