Columbia Drug Enforcement
If you are being charged with an offense related to drugs, it is important to know how those offenses are viewed by law enforcement in your area. A Columbia drug attorney will be able to explain the nuances of Columbia law enforcement drug focus, as well as guide you through the process, which can be intimidating and complex. The attorney will be able to advise you on the best course of action at each of the various steps and decisions required.
Drugs are classified into various categories, called Schedules, based on two factors in particular:
- Acceptable medical use
- Potential for abuse or dependency
There are five schedules of drugs that law enforcement considers when determining a drug charge. These range from those with no currently acceptable medical uses and with a high potential for abuse and dependency (Schedule 1), all the way to those which are currently accepted in very small quantities as an ingredient in medicine, and simultaneously have a lower likelihood of creating dependency and therefore abuse (Schedule 5). An example of a Schedule 1 drug is heroin. An example of a Schedule 5 drug is Robitussin AC.
When someone is dealing with drug offenses, the schedule is not the most critical part. What is more significant at first is determining the nature of the drug in question. Ultimately, regardless of the schedule, they are all dangerous and can cause serious harm to the people involved in their trafficking and consumption. That is why they are generally prohibited and their use is heavily monitored.
That being said, some substances are more dangerous than others. For example, consider a situation where someone is caught with a large amount of prescription medication that was either intended for someone else, or that was simply not prescribed in the first place. That is very dangerous because there is a significant opiate and pill abuse epidemic throughout the country.
Therefore, it is a charge that is taken very seriously by law enforcement officials, from the arresting officers to the prosecuting attorneys and the presiding judges. Another example of what is considered a more serious situation is when somebody is caught with cocaine. It is not as accessible as prescription medication, but it is still as problematic. Marijuana is considered the least offensive drug, but it is also treated seriously.
Drug Possession Laws
Depending on the specific drug that the person is in possession of, the officer may have the ability to find a good reason to conduct a search. For example, marijuana can be smelled, and usually has a distinct odor that can give enough reason for an officer to do a search. Instances where the officer can smell the scent of marijuana coming from inside a car, or outside of someone’s apartment, is generally enough reason for an officer to conduct a search.
On the other hand, for other substances you cannot smell such as a bottle of pills or a little bag of cocaine, an officer must find another reason to search without consent. This could involve calling a K9 unit under certain circumstances, or if the driver is breaking another law -let’s say someone driving on a suspended license – the officer can proceed with a search, incident to an arrest.
Every state is permitted to create and enforce its own laws and regulations. That is why some states have legalized marijuana, like Colorado, Washington, and even DC to a certain extent, and Maryland as well. However, for the majority, most states do not. Many have bills in place but it’s all up to the state for it to pass. This is important because Maryland is not a huge state, so it very important you understand what you can and cannot do based upon the state you are in regarding marijuana laws.
How An Attorney Can Help
Because Columbia law enforcement takes drug charges very seriously, it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side to tell your side of the story. For instance, one very significant charge is prescription medication. However, the story behind the addiction is very relevant as well.
In many cases, inadvertently what happens is many individuals have injuries, get into car accidents, are not at fault. They were then prescribed pain medication and, by virtue of that, they became dependent on it, which then lead to a downward spiral involving abuse of the medication in question.
Even the best of us, even the strongest or the most law-abiding individuals can succumb to addiction. If you find yourself facing drug charges, it is important to have an attorney who will guide you through the defense process and help you get the help you need.