Explaining Drug Possession and Distribution in Maryland
The topic for discussion today is an exploration of an important facet of Maryland criminal law – drug possession and drug distribution. The following sections will outline key definitions and penalty structures associated with Maryland drug laws.
What are the Laws in Maryland Concerning Drug Possession?
As outlined in Code of Maryland Section 5-601, absent a legitimate medical reason, it is a crime to possess controlled substances in Maryland. Controlled substances include illegal drugs – such as LSD, heroin or cocaine – and certain pharmaceuticals – such as opioids and other prescription painkillers. Unless a person has a valid prescription, it is a crime to possess controlled substances in Maryland.
What are the Penalties in Maryland Concerning Drug Possession?
The state-specific penalties for drug possession are also detailed in Code of Maryland Section 5-601. In most cases, drug possession in Maryland is a misdemeanor crime. The penalties include a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
Maryland has a slightly reduced penalty scheme for the crime of marijuana possession. Possessing marijuana in an amount greater than 10 grams is still a misdemeanor crime, but the maximum sentence drops to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
What are the Laws in Maryland Concerning Drug Distribution?
According to the language of Code of Maryland Section 5-602, it is a crime to distribute or dispense illegal drugs. Stated otherwise, if a person in possession of illegal drugs gives some or all of those drugs to another person, then it qualifies as drug distribution.
On a related note, possession of a large quantity of illegal drugs can result in a charge of intent to distribute. Essentially, Maryland law considers the possession of large quantities of illegal drugs as proof of a desire to distribute or dispense.
What are the Penalties in Maryland Concerning Drug Distribution?
The penalties for drug distribution in Maryland appear in Code of Maryland Section 5-608. Maryland law bases the penalty for drug distribution on the type of illegal substance involved in the crime.
For illegal drugs on Schedules I and II – including cocaine, crack, ecstasy and heroin – the penalties are extremely harsh. The maximum sentence includes 20 years in jail and $15,000 in fines.
For any drugs not listed on Schedule I or II, the penalties are a little less severe. The maximum sentence includes five years in jail and $15,000 in fines.
Contact Us for Assistance
If are facing criminal charges for drug possession or distribution, it can be incredibly constructive to seek legal counsel from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Don’t hesitate to contact Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered in Maryland for help today.