Drug crimes are taken seriously in Maryland, and the consequences for a felony conviction, in particular, may be harsh. However, even a misdemeanor may create a criminal record that will affect a prosecutor's willingness to negotiate or lead to a more severe penalty being imposed in future criminal cases. Federal drug crime convictions usually carry a mandatory minimum sentence. It is crucial to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney in these circumstances. The Rockville drug crime attorneys at Felsen & Sargent provide tough, knowledgeable representation to people accused of or charged with state or federal drug offenses. We can handle charges involving drug possession, possession with intent to sell or distribute, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, prescription fraud, or trafficking.Fighting Prosecution for Drug Offenses
Controlled substances in Maryland include prescription drugs like Xanax, club drugs like Ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, crack, cocaine, and marijuana. For example, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled hallucinogenic substance, the simple possession of which requires a different penalty from the others. The possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana is punished as a misdemeanor, which means you could face up to one year in jail. If you are caught with 10 grams or less, you may face a $100 civil penalty.
However, the possession of any other drug carries the potential of a harsh sentence because judges in Maryland have broad discretion over sentencing. Drug possession may be punished with up to four years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.
Other drug offenses, such as manufacturing and distribution, are considered more serious, and they are punished as felonies. For example, under § 5-612, manufacturing methamphetamine is prohibited. The maximum term of imprisonment that may be imposed is five years, and the maximum fine is $100,000. Using minors for the manufacture or delivery of drugs may be punished by a maximum prison term of 20 years and a maximum fine of $20,000.
When large quantities of drugs are involved, the federal government may bring charges. Under 21 U.S.C. § 841, it is unlawful for someone to manufacture, dispense, or distribute a controlled substance. Under 21 U.S.C. § 960, it is unlawful to knowingly and intentionally import or export a controlled substance. Mandatory minimum sentences are imposed for drug crimes. For example, if you are convicted of an offense involving one or more kilograms of heroin, you may face a 10-year mandatory minimum penalty with a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Although it may be daunting to be faced with state or federal criminal charges, there are often solid grounds to challenge the prosecution of a drug offense. The prosecution must prove every element of the drug offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the police did not follow the appropriate procedures and respect your constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, the evidence seized may be subject to a motion to suppress. For example, in order to search your home, police must have probable cause to believe that a search will yield evidence of criminal activity. If the police did not have probable cause and found cocaine in a search of your home, for example, it may be possible to get the cocaine suppressed. Without evidence of drugs, it may be difficult to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt," and a case may be considerably weakened. It may be possible to get the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Moreover, since Maryland judges have latitude when sentencing, it may help your case to be represented by an attorney who can point out all of the mitigating factors that should result in a lower sentence.Contact a Rockville Attorney Knowledgeable in Drug Crime Cases
The Rockville drug crime lawyers at Felsen & Sargent provide aggressive representation to people facing a wide range of charges. We represent defendants throughout Maryland, including in Silver Spring, Frederick, Upper Marlboro, and many areas of Montgomery County and Prince George's County. Call (301) 251-4010 or complete our online form to set up a free consultation. Felsen & Sargent also can assist people who need a DUI attorney or guidance in fighting other types of charges.