Maryland Drug Penalties
Drug charges can have a wide variety of outcomes and consequences. A local skilled drug offense attorney can help someone when they are facing Maryland drug penalties. A major aspect is getting the person treatment for addiction. Whether it is a first-time offense or a repeat offense, an attorney will have the skills to assess the case and evidence and provide sound legal counsel.
If you are facing drug offenses in Maryland, it is essential that you consult with an experienced drug attorney. A first-time offense penalty will differ from a repeat offender. In Maryland, there are alternative sentencing programs to ensure that you are getting treatment if necessary.
In Maryland, the laws are harsh against drug crimes. Although there is certainly a treatment or an approach in many instances, judges have no hesitation to put somebody and incarcerate somebody for an extended period of time if they feel it is appropriate to do so for a drug offense.
There is a wide range of penalties a person can expect to find if guilty of their drug-related charge. It could be anywhere from a simple slap on the wrist to 20 years or more incarceration.
The severity of potential Maryland drug penalties changes between the first time and repeat offenses for drug crimes. The law is going to be changing soon, but as it stands, the penalty for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, such as cocaine or heroin, as of October this year, it is going to change from four years’ incarceration on the first offense to only one year incarceration in the first offense because they want to be more treatment-oriented. However, on the second offense, it can carry double that up to two years’ incarceration, still, half of what a first offense is now but double what it is going to be, and a third or any subsequent offense thereafter will carry up to three-year incarceration.
First Time Offense
A first time-charge would be treated differently compared to the treatment of a repeat offense. A first offense likely would not even show up as a conviction. Most likely, they are given the benefit of what is called a probation before judgment which is not a conviction. It allows someone to keep their record clean and so long as they stay out of trouble and follow what the judge orders, they might be able to get it off their record at a later date. If they re-offend or lose the benefit of probation before judgment or a conviction, they still will not necessarily go to jail but they will have a criminal record and can have one permanently.
However, on a second guilty, that means that they were not successful at the first time staying out of trouble, did not learn from the experience and the judge can give them up to two years’ incarceration. Typically, they don’t get the full amount incarceration. That is the maximum they are facing. Generally, they will get what is called a split sentence. They will get some incarceration followed by a period of probation for which they have to stay out of trouble. If they violate that probation, at that point, then they stand to serve or face the balance or the remaining incarceration they didn’t serve originally over their head that they did not serve.
Typically there is a diversion program or alternative sentencing for a first-time drug offender. If someone has no record and if it is a first-time offense, there is, frequently, an offering of some type of alternative resolution that requires drug classes, some community service, payment of some fees in which case they can get the matter resolved or otherwise dismissed upon successful completion of the program.
Factors That Influence Severity of Penalty
There are several factors that can influence how harsh a drug penalty is in Maryland. Even though a lot of times different drugs carry the same potential penalties, the perception of it and the danger it has to society will change how it is perceived. For example, somebody in possession of heroin will be treated differently than someone in possession of ecstasy because ecstasy is a party drug; college kids don’t have the addictive qualities or natures but is still carries same potential Maryland drug penalties whereas heroin is a blight on society. People are constantly overdosing and dying on a daily basis and it will be treated far more harshly even though it carries the same potential penalty as possession of ecstasy.
Benefits of a Legal Team
An attorney can be a guide to an individual to help do everything possible in preparation. The first thing that an attorney will do is see if there is anything that can be done to address the case itself. If there is a flaw and the charging documents, the police overstep, an attorney can fight the case and beat it. Fighting a case and beating it does not help the underlying person if they need help with an addiction.
The attorney will also seek what needs to be done or what can be done to help the person address a problem if there is one and go through the steps that even if they – regardless of what the outcome may be – can help the individual both from any problems of addiction they may have or at the very least, pick the steps necessary to put a good front in front of a judge or prosecutor that can persuade them to believe the individual charged can benefit from diversion or treatment as opposed to incarceration.
A knowledgeable drug attorney understands Maryland drug penalties and can help their client get into a treatment program. There are many benefits to hiring a drug offense attorney. If you are seeking legal counsel for drug offenses, it is imperative that you consult a drug attorney. There can be impacts on career opportunities, and reputation if you are facing Maryland drug penalties.