The laws of Maryland and the federal government recognize no acceptable reason for you to possess heroin. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies this narcotic as a Schedule I substance highly prone to abuse and lacking medicinal value. This designation motivates the state to treat you harshly. A defendant could also face federal criminal charges after the seizure of a large amount of heroin or evidence that suggests participation in the interstate drug trade.
Drug testing possible
After police arrest a person suspected of heroin possession or involvement in its manufacture or distribution, the criminal justice system collects evidence to support drug charges. Law enforcement will test the confiscated substance to confirm that it is heroin and also test the suspect’s saliva, blood, urine or hair. Clinical detection of heroin in your system counts as possession and could result in criminal prosecution.
Penalties upon conviction
Should the state secure a conviction against you, a judge may sentence you to prison time and fines. The amount of heroin and whether or not you intended to sell it determine the length of prison terms and fines. Sentencing guidelines authorizes multiple years in prison and millions in fines for people convicted on heroin charges. Your previous criminal history, if any, influences the sentencing as well. Someone with prior convictions can face harsher penalties than a first-time offender.
Some jurisdictions operate what are called drug courts. These courts emphasize addiction treatment instead of only punishment. Having your case diverted to a drug court could reduce the possibility of serving time in prison although a prison sentence remains an option. Either way, your sentence will include mandatory treatment and counseling meant to guide you past a lifestyle that includes heroin use.