While laws change over time, when it comes to the possession of certain drugs, both federal and state laws likely prohibit the possession of it. Thus, when an individual is accused of illicit drug possession, it is important to understand the charges faced and what laws apply, as this could help the accused with the defense against these criminal allegations.
Drug possession charges
In the state of Maryland, like other states, the severity of drug possession charges is based on the drug type in question as well as the quantity involved. While the state of Maryland, like several others in the nation, decriminalized or even legalized possession of marijuana, federal law still lists it as a controlled substances and compares it to hard drugs like heroin. This means that if an individual is found in possession of marijuana and it is less than 10 grams, it is considered a civil offense similar to a moving violation.
However, if one is found in possession with a large quantity of marijuana along with evidence that supports the intent to sell it or traffic it, this could lead to severe penalties. While penalties for less than 10 grams result in small fines, if one is charged with the possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana but less than 50 pounds, this is considered a misdemeanor that could result in a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Possession of 50 pounds or more of marijuana is considered a felony that could result in up to five years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
Depending on the circumstances, an individual may have various defense options. To begin, one might have the defense that they were in lawful possession of the substance. The state of Maryland recognizes the lawful use of marijuana for medical purposes. Next, one could argue that the drugs are not theirs or that they did not have knowledge that they were in possession of it because it belongs to someone else.
No matter one’s situation, he or she has the right to assert a criminal defense against drug charges. Initiating a strong and timely defense could help one diminish the impact the charges have by reducing the charges or even having some or all of them dismissed. Therefore, it is imperative to explore the defense options available.