The war on drugs is very much alive in Maryland. Maryland drug offense charges stem out of allegedly possessing, distributing, or manufacturing “controlled dangerous substances,” such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and various prescription drugs. Charges for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”), possession with intent to distribute, and manufacturing are particularly serious. Prison sentences, upon conviction, can be lengthy. In certain situations, minimum sentences are mandatory. In short, if you are facing charges stemming from the possession, manufacturing, or distribution of CDS, you need a skilled trial attorney. The attorneys at Ortega Law, LLC have the experience and the skill to protect your rights.
Crimes involving production and distribution of CDS, such as possession with intent to distribute, distribution, and manufacturing are all felonies, and have essentially the same penalty structure. If you are charged with one of these crimes, you may see them stated as possession with intent to distribute CDS, distribution of CDS, or manufacturing. The charge will also usually state exactly which controlled dangerous substance was involved, which is important for sentencing purposes.
It should also come as no surprise that the larger the amount of CDS the greater the potential penalty. Depending upon the particular substance and the quantity, you can be charged as a volume dealer. Volume dealers face an enhanced mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 5 years and a potential fine of up to $100,000.00.
Many times drug charges stem from the execution of search warrants upon a home or other enclosed area. It is even more common, however, for a traffic stop to lead to drug charges. Traffic stops are a favorite tool for police officers to aggressively enforce drug laws. Expired tags, tinted windows, and other minor traffic infractions are often used to stop a person in hopes of searching the car and finding illegal drugs.
In situations like the traffic stop mentioned above, it is important to know your rights. The police officers do not have the right to search your vehicle without probable cause to believe that there is something illegal in your car, a warrant, or some other narrow exception to the warrant requirement. If the police ask if they can search your car, you have every right to tell them no. If they do search your car, the police will have to justify why they stopped it and why they searched it. An illegal stop or search could lead to your case being dismissed. Contact Ortega Law today for a free case evaluation to see if your rights were violated.
No drug related law is changing faster than the laws surrounding marijuana. While marijuana is still illegal in Maryland, it is no longer a criminal act to possess less than 10 grams. Now, if you are found in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana you will receive a civil citation. These changes in Maryland, as they relate to marijuana, is evidenced by the ongoing establishment of dispensaries and farms for the growth and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. These drastic changes are in line with the growing national trend away from the stigma and criminalization of marijuana.
While the use and possession of certain amounts of marijuana is permitted, the distribution of marijuana remains highly criminalized. The potential penalty for distribution, or possession with intent to distribute, marijuana is five years and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Thus, while the perception of marijuana is evolving, the sale of it can leave you with a felony conviction. Contact Ortega Law today to discuss possible defenses such as medical marijuana.