What are the penalties for drug crimes?
Baltimore criminal defense lawyers explain some of Maryland’s Drug Crime Laws.
Maryland’s drug charges and penalties are outlined in Sections § 5-601 through § 5-610 of Maryland Criminal Law.
The first factor affecting drug crime penalties in Maryland is the nature of the crime committed. An alleged offender could be charged with possession, administering, trafficking, intending to sell, distributing, falsifying prescription drugs, or manufacturing and cultivation. In general, possession and conspiracy charges are prosecuted as misdemeanors and the rest as felonies.
Another factor that affects drug crime penalties is the quantity of the drug. Several states, including Maryland, have lower charges for marijuana based on quantity.
This brings us to the next factor; the type of drug. As previously mentioned, there are some types of drugs that have been slightly decriminalized. Other illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, LSD, or ecstasy are categorized as either a Schedule I or II narcotic or hallucinogenic controlled substance. Narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs in Schedules I and II have different maximum penalties.
A third important factor is the record of the defendant. It is important to remember that Maryland Law outlines the maximum penalties for any given drug crime. This means that, by law, a judge cannot impose a more severe sentence than what is considered the maximum for that charge. However, repeat offenders can be subjected to enhanced penalties if the prosecution chooses to seek them and follows the correct procedures.
As demonstrated, there are many different factors that affect exactly what penalty will be imposed for a drug crime. There are many factors that may help or worsen the case. A criminal defense lawyer can help persuade the prosecution to reduce their charges, or the judge to lessen their sentence.