Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
“Drug charges” is a blanket term that can be used to describe dozens of different crimes, from minor drug possession infractions that are tried as misdemeanors to serious felony accusations that can lead to years in jail. However, no matter what kind of drug charge you’re facing, you deserve to have the best legal defense possible to protect your rights and seek your best possible outcome.
When you work with Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law, you’re gaining a trusted partner throughout the entire process and a criminal defense attorney who will go above and beyond to give you affordable yet aggressive legal representation. If you’re in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, or anywhere throughout Queen Anne's County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, or Howard County, call today to schedule a free consultation.
Federal Drug Crimes
Drug crimes are tried at both the state and federal levels and in some cases both. In general, state charges will be less severe than a federal drug crime, but this isn’t always the case. Typically, you’ll be facing a state drug charge if the crime occurred within Maryland’s borders—whether it’s possession, possession with the intent to sell, distribution, or manufacturing of drugs.
A federal drug crime usually requires you to cross state or country lines either through distribution or sale. You may also see federal charges if the quantity of drugs in question is large enough or if you’re part of a large-scale trafficking operation. Also, the federal government will have jurisdiction over drug crimes committed on federal property such as a national park or public domain land.
Drug Charges in Maryland
Each state writes its own laws regarding drug charges, whose consequences vary in severity with the amount and type of drugs in question.
Many of these laws, including those in Maryland, rely on the federal drug schedules outlined in the next section. However, states still have flexibility in how they prosecute, and this is most often seen with more lenient sentencing for marijuana-related crimes. Although you should always consult with an attorney about your charges, below are some general state standards:
Manufacturing: Drug manufacturing charges can be issued for those who are caught producing drugs or even simply having the equipment to produce drugs. You may also face manufacturing charges if you’re caught with copious quantities of a chemical or ingredients that suggest the intent to manufacture. Manufacturing a controlled substance is typically a felony offense.
Delivery or Distribution: Drug distribution charges are taken very seriously in Maryland and can bring with them penalties of up to 20 years in prison. Penalties generally increase for “volume drug dealers” (for example those with over 50 pounds of marijuana or 50 grams of crack cocaine).
Sale: You may see charges of selling drugs both for being caught selling and for the intent to sell. For example, if you’re caught with large amounts of drugs, individual bags to pack them in, and a list of customers it may be inferred that you planned to sell or distribute them.
Possession: Possession charges are typically the least serious, but depending on the quantity and type can be tried as either a misdemeanor or felony. Additionally, Maryland has decriminalized some marijuana possession charges. If you’re caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana, you’ll only face a civil charge, not a criminal.
The federal government has created distinct categories of drugs (known as drug schedules) to help standardize criminal charges involving drugs.
There are five (I-V) different schedules, I being the most serious and V being the least serious. For example, schedule I drugs are generally considered to have no known medical uses and pose a substantial risk of abuse.
Schedule I drugs include LSD, marijuana, heroin, and ecstasy. Schedule V drugs, on the other hand, have the least potential for abuse and have known medical uses, with many available without a prescription. Examples of schedule V drugs include cough preparations like Robitussin or Parepectolin.
Anytime you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important you understand the potential outcomes of a guilty verdict since these will often be subject to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Your lawyer can educate you about these and strategize on the best defense to minimize these or to obtain sentencing alternatives.
Some of the possible penalties for drug crimes include fines, restitution, incarceration, completion of a drug rehabilitation program, probation, or community service. There are also more penalties that will continue to affect your life even after you’ve served your time, such as losing child custody or your right to buy firearms. Of course, your specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of your charges.
Drug Crimes Attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
For help addressing drug charges in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and the surrounding areas, turn to Kathleen M. Kirchner Attorney At Law. As an experienced and respected family law and criminal defense lawyer, she understands all that’s at stake and will aggressively fight for your best outcome.