Drug-related crimes are very serious and can lead to jail time, major fines, and may even limit future opportunities. A drug crime conviction will remain on your criminal record for all to see (unless you qualify for expungement, which is rare). This can make it difficult to obtain a job, keep your driver’s license, receive a student loan, or even be approved for housing.
If you have been accused of a drug crime, you should contact an experienced Towson, MD drug crime lawyer immediately. At Albers & Associates, we handle all types of drug crime cases, including both felony and misdemeanor charges. Our attorneys understand the gravity of your case and are prepared to aggressively advocate for you and your rights.
For a free, confidential consultation, call (443) 665-8030 or contact us online.
Controlled Substances in Maryland
Many drugs are labeled as “controlled substances,” meaning they are regulated by the government. These include opiates, amphetamines, painkillers, and many other kinds of drugs. Controlled substances are separated into five different levels, known as schedules. Each schedule is different and carries a different level of consequences.
The different drug schedules in Maryland include:
- Schedule I: Schedule I controlled substances currently have no accepted medical usage and have a high probability of abuse. Examples of Schedule I drugs in Maryland include heroin, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.
- Schedule II: Schedule II drugs are defined as having a high potential for abuse, as well as a tendency to cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples include Ritalin, Adderall, cocaine, methamphetamine, and Vicodin.
- Schedule III: Schedule III drugs have a potential for abuse but less so than Schedule I or II drugs. Typically, this refers to drugs for which there is a relatively low chance of physical dependency but a somewhat high chance for psychological dependency. Examples include codeine, suboxone, and Vicodin with Tylenol.
- Schedule IV: Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse, relative to Schedule I, II, and III drugs. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs include prescription anxiety and depression medications, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Soma.
- Schedule V: Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse out of all the controlled substances. Schedule V drugs consist of drugs/medications that contain limited amounts of certain narcotics. For example, Robitussin contains small amounts of codeine and can be abused if someone takes too much of it.
Types of Drug Crimes & How They’re Charged
A variety of criminal offenses fall under the category of drug crimes in Maryland. These offenses may be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the type of offense that allegedly occurred, the presence of any aggravating factors, and more.
Some of the most common types of drug crimes in Maryland include:
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Possession of drug paraphernalia—such as syringes, rolling papers, prescription pill bottles, or pipes—is typically charged as a misdemeanor in Maryland. First-time offenders face a $500 fine, while second-time offenders may face up to two years in jail and fines up to $2,000.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug possession can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the type and amount of the controlled substance allegedly in the person’s possession. Penalties range from $1,000 to $25,000 in fines and up to four years in prison (or more, depending on the circumstances).
- Manufacturing a Controlled Substance: Drug manufacturing, or creating/growing a controlled substance, is typically charged as a felony in Maryland. The penalties for manufacturing a controlled substance depend on the type of drug allegedly manufactured or cultivated, as well as the amount. They may range from $20,000 to $25,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
- Trafficking a Controlled Substance: Drug trafficking involves the distribution of a controlled substance for profit/personal gain. This charge also includes purchasing or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. This is a serious felony offense in Maryland and carries harsh penalties, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and possible life imprisonment.
- Dealing a Controlled Substance: Drug dealing is similar to drug trafficking, but it involves the distribution or sale of controlled substances on a smaller scale. Usually, a person will be charged with drug dealing (instead of drug trafficking) if they are selling/distributing or attempting to sell/distribute less than 50 grams of a controlled substance. This is a felony in Maryland, and possible penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and up to 10 years in jail.
Why Is Marijuana a Schedule I Substance?
Marijuana, or weed as it is known on the street, was on the original list of Schedule I substances in 1970 when President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act into law. From there, its history has been cloudy.
While still on the federal Schedule I list, many states have legalized the drug for either medical or recreational uses. In 2013, Maryland joined this list by allowing for the medical usage of marijuana when bought from a state-licensed dispensary.
Additionally, charges for possession of marijuana have been greatly reduced in the state. Previously, as little as 10 grams could land you serious jail time and give you a criminal record, but under current laws, possession of 10 grams or less is treated like a traffic infraction.
If you were previously convicted of a marijuana-related crime, you may be eligible to have it expunged from your record. To find out if you are eligible, you should consult with an experienced Towson, MD drug crimes lawyer at Albers & Associates. We are happy to answer your questions and provide detailed information specific to your situation during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go to Jail in Maryland?
In many cases, first-time drug offenders do face jail time if they are convicted. However, this is not always the case. Many factors play a role in the exact penalties you could face if you have been arrested for the first time on drug charges. Some of these factors include the type of crime you are charged with, the type and amount of the controlled substance allegedly involved, and more. Additionally, the judge has a certain amount of discretion when it comes to sentencing drug crime cases.
It is very important that you work with a skilled lawyer who can protect you and your freedom. If you are facing drug offense charges, reach out to Albers & Associates right away to speak to one of our Towson drug crime lawyers about your legal rights and options. We can help you understand the possible penalties you may face, as well as the potential defenses at your disposal.
You Can Count on Albers & Associates
No matter the severity of your charges, if you have been accused of a drug-related crime, you should seek the services of a Towson, MD drug crimes lawyer. Our team has served Towson and the surrounding areas for years; we know the ins and outs of Maryland drug law and are prepared to fight tirelessly for you and your rights.
Contact us today to learn what your options are and how you should proceed. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, as well as share how we can help you with your drug crime defense.
Contact us online using our secure request form or call (443) 665-8030 to schedule a complimentary consultation with our team today.