Washington County Drug Lawyer
Possessing, selling, or trafficking drugs can lead to serious legal trouble if those drugs are on the controlled substances list in Washington County. If you are accused of possessing a large amount, the penalties that you can face if you get convicted can be even worse.
Hiring a Washington County drug lawyer can be the best way to fight against an accusation of a drug crime. With the help of a drug attorney, you can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, fight to keep important pieces of it out of court, and raise legal defenses that can show your innocence.
What are Controlled Substances?
All drug crimes involve controlled substances. Controlled substances are drugs that are regulated by law in Washington County because of their potential for addiction and lack of medicinal use.
Some of these substances are so addictive and have so few recognized medical applications that they are always prohibited, like heroin or cocaine. Other controlled substances have a medical purpose but are ripe for abuse, and so can only be legally obtained through a prescription.
Depending on how addictive and useful a drug is determines which Schedule it falls in the controlled substances listing. More dangerous drugs fall closer to Schedule I, while less dangerous substances fall closer to Schedule V.
The type and Schedule of the drug involved in an alleged drug crime can play a significant part in a drug case and determine the penalties that are possible for a conviction.
The Crime of Drug Possession
In Washington County, the most common drug crime is for drug possession. Using or even possessing a controlled substance without authorization can violate Maryland Criminal Code § 5-601.
First time offenses of drug possession are misdemeanors. These are punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. Subsequent offenses come with harsher penalties.
Possession with Intent to Sell a Controlled Substance
If a charge for drug possession involves copious amounts of a controlled substance, though, the accusation becomes much more severe because law enforcement presume that having a large quantity of drugs means that there was an intent to sell it.
The amount necessary to turn a drug possession allegation into one of possession with intent to sell depends on the particular drug at issue. However, the penalties of a conviction are almost always felonies that carry more than a year in jail.
In 2014, Washington County decriminalized the possession of less than ten grams of marijuana. While this sounds like it is perfectly legal to carry small amounts of marijuana, it only means that there will not be any criminal charges. People who are found to have less than ten grams of marijuana in their possession will still be ticketed and fined $100 for a first offense, much like a traffic ticket.
Possible Legal Defenses to Drug Charges
Defending against an allegation of a drug crime is essential, especially if the accusation involves enough of a controlled substance for the charge to be possession with an intent to sell.
A Washington County drug lawyer understands how drug investigations and prosecutions work and can challenge the prosecutor’s case and raise applicable defenses to protect a defendant’s rights and interests.
One of the most important rights implicated in a drug investigation is the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. These prohibit searches and seizures that are unreasonable.
If police violate these rights when they gather evidence of a drug crime, that evidence can be excluded from court. Without this evidence, the prosecutor’s case can become so weak that the charges may even be dropped.
Work with a Washington County Drug Attorney Today
Facing an accusation of a drug crime is a terrible and nerve-wracking ordeal. The potential of a conviction that carries jail time and a heavy fine can weigh heavily on the mind of anyone who has been accused.
By hiring a Washington County drug lawyer to argue on your behalf, you can tap into the knowledge and experience of someone who has navigated these dangerous waters before. Contact an attorney today for the consultation that can get your defense strategy off the ground.