Understanding Drug Crime Charges
Sept. 26, 2023
Drug crime charges are serious and should be treated as such. Criminal offenses involving drugs and controlled substances are vigorously prosecuted and harshly penalized in the state of Maryland. A drug crime conviction can wreck your personal and professional life, as having a criminal record negatively impacts your employment and housing opportunities, not to mention the possibility of serving time in jail or prison.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you mitigate the consequences of drug crime charges and protect your rights and freedom. Our attorneys at Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC represent individuals dealing with all kinds of drug-related charges in Rockville, Maryland, and surrounding counties, including Montgomery County, Fredrick County, Howard County, and Prince George’s County.
Types of Drug Crimes
Maryland law recognizes various types of drug crimes:
Drug possession. If drugs are found on your person (e.g., in your pocket or backpack), in your vehicle, or anywhere you had reasonable access to, you can face drug possession charges.
Drug manufacturing. This category of drug crimes applies when the defendant is caught creating, growing, cultivating, or otherwise producing illegal drugs.
Drug trafficking. These charges apply when the defendant has the intent to sell and distribute controlled substances for personal gain or profit.
Federal and Maryland drug laws largely overlap, especially when it comes to classifying drugs based on their medical value and risk of abuse. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 divides drugs into five categories, which are known as schedules:
Schedule I are the most dangerous drugs due to their high abuse potential and no medical benefit (heroin, LSD, MDMA, marijuana, etc.);
Schedule II drugs are less dangerous than Schedule I drugs but still have a high potential for abuse and very limited medical value (cocaine, methadone, morphine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, etc.);
Schedule III drugs have a less severe level of abuse and are known for their acceptable medicinal uses (anabolic steroids, buprenorphine, ketamine, etc.);
Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous drugs with the lowest potential abuse and widely accepted medical use (clonazepam, alprazolam, diazepam, carisoprodol, and certain cough preparations).
While federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug that has no medical value and a high potential for abuse, many states (Maryland included) have approved laws that legalized marijuana for medical purposes. However, recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in the state of Marijuana.
Common Defenses in Drug Crime Cases
Depending on the facts of your case, there could be many defenses available to keep you out of jail or prison and help you avoid a conviction. Some of the common defense strategies used in drug crime cases include:
Unlawful searches and seizures. If law enforcement found drugs in your possession in violation of your rights granted by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (e.g., the police did not have a warrant and lacked probable cause to search your person, your vehicle, or your home), you may be able to get the drug charges dismissed on the ground of unlawful searches and seizures.
No control over the drug. If law enforcement found drugs in your constructive possession, which is a legal term used to describe a situation when a drug is not in the person’s direct physical control, you can avoid a conviction if there is no proof that you had control over the drug or knew about its existence.
Legal prescription. You are considered to be in lawful possession of a drug if you have a legal prescription for it. If you can demonstrate a valid prescription, the charges against you will be dismissed.
Insufficient quantity. One of the elements required by the statutes to secure a drug crime conviction is proving that the defendant possessed or sold a certain amount of the drug in question.
Entrapment. When a person is being induced or encouraged by law enforcement to commit a crime that they ordinarily would not have committed, that person may not be convicted. This defense is known as “entrapment.”
Our drug crime defense attorneys at Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC can formulate the strongest defense possible for your unique circumstances to help you avoid a conviction or reach a much better outcome than you may initially expect. We will explain every tactic available to you so you can make an informed decision on how you’d prefer to proceed.
Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions
Drug charges are taken very seriously in the state of Maryland and prosecuted as such. Because of the state’s harsh stance on drug offenses, a person convicted of such a crime can face severe and life-altering consequences and penalties.
Possible penalties include incarceration, fines, and the loss of certain rights and privileges, including but not limited to the right to possess a firearm.
If appropriate, the defendant may also be sentenced to a drug treatment program. A criminal record can also impact other areas of the defendant’s life, as having a conviction can make it more difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, and obtain loans, among other things.
Strategic Legal Representation
At Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC, we understand the risks of face when being charged with a drug crime in Maryland. No matter how serious the drug crime charges against you are or how dire your situation may seem, our defense attorneys can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the criminal justice system while fighting for a favorable resolution of your case.
We are well-versed in the state’s criminal code and are committed to fighting on your behalf to protect your freedom, reputation, and future. Reach out to our Rockville, Maryland, office today to schedule a case evaluation and discuss your situation.