Drug Crime Defense Lawyer in Bowie and Crofton

Representing those accused of state and federal drug crimes

Drug crime convictions carry severe penalties in Maryland and throughout the United States. As the death toll from the opioid crisis continues to rise in Maryland, prosecutors are starting to pursue manslaughter and murder charges against those supplying users with fatal doses of drugs. A story in the Baltimore Sun reports that “at least 21 people have been charged with manslaughter in overdose cases since 2014.” With the stakes getting higher and the penalties only growing increasingly severe, it is vital that you work with a qualified criminal defense attorney with decades of experience helping countless clients obtain justice.

At Carey Law Office, we are here to fight for your rights. We have earned an excellent reputation for providing effective defense strategies for clients accused of drug crimes and other crimes in Bowie and Crofton. We invite you to schedule a confidential consultation to review your case and receive sound, legal counsel about how you might proceed with your case.

Drug laws in Maryland

Like most states, Maryland’s drug laws mirror federal laws; however, the penalties under state law can be less severe, and allow for more flexibility in sentencing than federal statutes and penalties. Under the law, you cannot possess or administer a controlled dangerous substance, unless you have a valid prescription, or have written a valid prescription for another person.

Additionally, you cannot:

  • Own equipment designed to produce a controlled substance
  • Be in possession of 10 grams or more of marijuana (fewer than 10 grams is a civil offense, not a criminal one)
  • Distribute, or intend to distribute, a controlled substance
  • Sell controlled substances
  • Write fraudulent prescriptions

You may also face charges for possession of drug paraphernalia: bowls, roach clips, small baggies, needles, scales, etc. While some of these items may not be deemed paraphernalia on their own, they can lead to additional charges when processed together.

Classification of drug schedules in Maryland

Maryland law contains five “schedules” for classification of controlled substances (CDS):

Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use, they are unsafe and have a high potential for abuse. At this time, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I substance. Additional Schedule I drugs include:

Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Schedule II drugs include:

Schedule III substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I or II substances, but a moderate potential for dependence. Schedule III substances include:

  • Vicodin
  • Suboxone
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone
  • Ketoimine

Schedule IV substances have a low potential for abuse and have an accepted medical use. If these drugs are abused, they could lead to dependence. Schedule IV substances include:

  • Ativan
  • Soma
  • Klonopin
  • Valium
  • Xanax

Schedule V substances are not likely to be abused. They have accepted medical uses, but can cause dependence if abused. Schedule V substances include:

  • Ethyl morphine
  • Diphenoxylate
  • Medications containing codeine

Know the penalties for drug crime convictions

The general rule regarding drug crime penalties is that Schedule I and Schedule II drugs – the substances with the greatest potential for abuse – have the most severe penalties. Maryland has non-suspendable mandatory minimum sentences for certain offenses. The penalties for Maryland felony drug crimes might include prison for up to five years, a fine of $15,000, or both. A drug crime conviction ciuld also include participation in a drug treatment program.

The effect of the opioid epidemic on Maryland’s drug laws

The opioid crisis has affected every state in this country. As of right now, Maryland has one of the top 5 opioid-related death rates in the country. However, the number of heroin and prescription opioid-related deaths has fallen over the last year, as legislators and law enforcement have cracked down on those accused of making, buying, selling, distributing and/or trafficking opioids.

The primary target of these new laws and regulations is fentanyl, a Schedule II painkiller that is up to 100x more powerful than morphine. Per a Washington Post report, “This drug was implicated as a factor in nearly 70 percent of Maryland’s overdose deaths in 2017. It may even be the case that fentanyl is the cause of a sudden spike in cocaine-related deaths, from 464 in 2016 to 691 in 2017.” Fentanyl was a prescription painkiller, but over the last few years, the country has been flooded with illegal fentanyl coming in from different countries around the world.

Under MD Crim Law Code § 5-608.1 (2017), a person convicted of a drug crime involving fentanyl might be sentenced up to 10 years. (Those 10 years must be served consecutively with any other sentence imposed, meaning one after the other.) This can include anything from prescription fraud to selling fentanyl patches. If you are accused of a crime related to fentanyl or any kind of opioids, it is critical that you retain the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer right away.

Enhancements to drug crime sentences

When determining the penalties for drug crimes, certain factors, called “enhancements,” can increase the severity of the penalty. This could include factors including, but not limited to, the location where the alleged crime took place, any prior drug convictions, the quantity of a drug, and the presence of weapons or large amount of cash. For example, if an individual were arrested for selling drugs within a school drug-free zone or near a playground or childcare center; had several prior convictions for drug crimes; and was apprehended with a large quantity of contraband, weapons or large amounts of cash; these factors can affect the nature and severity of the sentence for drug crimes. At Carey Law Office, we understand how to use the most effective legal strategies to minimize the charges against you as much as possible.

Drug crimes carry serious consequences in Maryland, including fines, prison time, and the loss of your rights. If you are facing drug crime charges, it is critical that you contact Carey Law Office right away and schedule a consultation with our team. We know what kind of uphill battle you might be facing, especially if you are suffering from addiction. We will get through this together.

Consult with a Bowie and Crofton criminal defense lawyer when you are facing drug charges

If you are facing drug crime charges, Carey Law Office is here to help you. With locations in Bowie and Crofton, we proudly serve clients in Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and the surrounding areas. You are welcome to call 301-464-2500 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation now.