Heroin Defense Lawyer in Bowie and Crofton
Representing those charged with drug crimes throughout Maryland
Heroin is an illegal narcotic street drug, classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. It can be snorted as a powder, smoked, or cooked and injected. The affordable street price of the wildly addictive substance is fueling the ongoing addiction crisis.
The heroin supply in Maryland is purer, stronger, and deadlier than the narcotic white powder found in other U.S. cities; according to a release from the office of Lt. Governor Rutherford, “Some parts of Maryland have the highest per capita rate of heroin and opioid drug use in the United States,” with an estimated 1 in 10 people addicted to heroin.
At Carey Law Office, we understand that sometimes when people are trapped in the cycle of addiction, they have little control over their actions and choices. We are here to protect your rights when you are accused of possession of heroin. We do not judge you; rather, we work with you to get you the help and treatment you need, and to diminish the charges against you as much as possible.
Heroin and fentanyl deaths from opioid overdoses
As if heroin were not deadly enough on its own, drug dealers have begun to lace heroin with fentanyl, a deadly synthetic narcotic that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. As a result, the drug overdose death rate doubled between 2015 and 2016, with approximately 19,400 people dying from synthetic opioids in 2016 alone. Due to the deadly nature of the opioid epidemic and its status as a national health emergency, law enforcement is coming down hard on drug dealers and handling those suffering from drug addiction as individuals with health problems rather than as criminals.
Maryland drug crime laws regarding the possession and sale of heroin
Heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance (CDS). The penalties for crimes involving CDSs and paraphernalia, such as possession, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking heroin include the following:
Possession: For a first or second offense, the penalty might include up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $15,000, or both. For a third offense, the consequences increase to up to 25 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Fourth-time offenders may face up to 40 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. These are all felony offenses, per Maryland law.
Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, dispensing a CDS, and possessing paraphernalia: These offenses are felonies punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years, a fine not exceeding $15,000, or both for a first or second offense. For a third-time offender, the possible prison term increases to up to 25 years, a fine of $25,000, or both. A fourth-time offender might expect to receive a sentence of 40 years and a fine of $25,000.
Participation in a drug treatment program can be required with conviction of any of these offenses.
Consequences of a drug crime conviction
Even after you have served jail time, paid any fines and court fees, there is still a price to be paid if you are convicted of a drug crime in Maryland. While some people consider a misdemeanor a minor offense, having a criminal record can keep you from getting a job, qualifying for housing, educational, and professional opportunities. A convicted felon may have difficulty obtaining child custody, could have his or her security clearance revoked, lose his or her professional license, and lose his or her right to carry a gun. Your future is at stake; do not leave it to chance if you are facing drug crime charges. At Carey Law Office, we are here to thoroughly investigate your case and work towards the best results for you.
Federal drug charges for heroin
Federal offenses often carry more severe penalties than offenses charged by the state. If you are arrested by DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) or FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents, it is vital that you work with a Bowie criminal defense attorney with federal drug crime experience. Given that our neighboring city of Baltimore has been designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, local law enforcement receives support from federal agencies. The DEA invests a lot of time and resources into investigating and prosecuting the trafficking of heroin and other illegal CDS throughout Maryland.
If a person should die of a heroin overdose, as is increasingly happening when the product is cut with fentanyl, both local and federal law enforcement work their way up the chain of commerce until they can locate the source from which the heroin is flowing. Every dealer who represents a link in that chain could face homicide charges.
Penalties for federal drug charges
Those who are convicted of federal drug crimes such as trafficking or conspiracy can face anywhere from five years to a life sentence in prison. Fines can be upwards of thousands to more than $1 million, and you may also face asset forfeiture, the seizing of any assets (such as money, vehicles, homes, etc.) that were either used in the commission of the crime, or were gained as a result of the crime.
At Carey Law Office, we learn all the details of your case, offer you a realistic assessment of your options, and help you decide whether it makes sense to take a plea deal (if one has been offered) or if your chances look better going to trial.
Practical guidance for clients facing charges related to heroin
If you are facing heroin charges, or any other drug crime charges, Carey Law Office is here to protect your rights. From our office locations in Bowie and Crofton, we serve clients throughout Maryland. You are welcome to call 301-464-2500 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation.