Drug possession charges may be the most frequently seen criminal charges in Maryland courts. But their prevalence doesn’t make them any less serious. These charges have the potential to change your life, your reputation, and ultimately take away your freedom. Facing charges like these takes experience and assertiveness. While you may understand the basics of criminal court, a local criminal defense attorney is often your best advocate.
Maryland drug possession laws are actually relatively simple, as written in the criminal statutes. But while this makes them easy to understand, it also makes them potentially more damaging. Unlike some states, Maryland law doesn’t prescribe a certain sentence for a certain amount of drugs. Instead, that sentence is determined by the judge. Whether it’s heroin, prescription drugs, or GHB, you could face the same penalty. And this can be scary when you don’t see yourself as a hardened criminal or a drug addict.
What Does Drug Possession Mean Under Maryland Law?
Legally, possession refers to having control over something. This means the drugs don’t have to be in your pocket or your hand. If you can exercise control over them, they are in your possession. If the drugs are found under your car seat, on your end table, or laying loose in your lap, you are considered in “possession” of them.
Marijuana is the only drug that requires a different penalty under Maryland law. If you are convicted of being in possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana, you will face misdemeanor penalties of up to one year in jail.
Ten grams of weed or less has been decriminalized down to a civil penalty of $100. For more information on Maryland marijuana charges, see our Maryland Marijuana Possession page.
Maryland Drug Possession – Penalties
If you are found in possession of any other drug, aside from marijuana, you will face a felony charge. Possession of drugs carries a potential 4-year prison sentence and fines reaching $25,000. This maximum potential sentence applies to drugs like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, meth, and prescription drugs.
Alternatives to Incarceration
There are no hard and fast rules in Maryland when it comes to who gets probation and who doesn’t. There are no guaranteed second chances here. The court, with the help of the prosecution, will weigh many factors in determining your sentence. With the assistance of an aggressive defense attorney, you may be able to argue that you are a good candidate for such an alternative, increasing your chances of being granted probation instead of active jail time. But remember, if you’re caught in violation of this probation, you could go back to jail.
When you are charged with drug possession, having someone in your corner looking out for your best interest is important. While we can tell you what the law says, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build a rock-solid defense and weigh any other potential options.