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What constitutes a felony for transportation of drugs?

While possession and sale of controlled substances are widely known to be crimes, the transportation of illegal drugs across state lines can constitute not only a federal crime, but can be a separate felony under Maryland law as well. Not every amount of of a controlled substance will trigger such a transportation felony, however.

For marijuana, the limit is 45 kilograms. For cocaine or a mixture with cocaine, it is 28 grams. A minimum of four grams of morphine, opium or their derivatives will leave a person subject to the felony drug charge. For LSD or a mixture of LSD, the limit is 1,000 dosage units. With phencyclidine as liquid or powder, the limit is 28 grams. With any mixture that has phencyclidine, the level is 112 grams. Methaqualone has a limit of 1,000 dosage units. Methamphetamine or a mixture with meth is listed at 28 grams. For fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue, the limit is four grams.

The penalties for these acts are clear. Someone who is convicted of these transportation crimes will be charged with a felony, and a conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison, a fine of up to $50,000, or both. There are instances in which a person is authorized to possess marijuana. If one is not authorized to have it, and transports more than 5 kilograms, but less than 45 kilograms into the state, then one can be facing up to ten years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Obviously, this is just one of many criminal statutes Maryland has that deal with possession and distribution of controlled substances. Just because someone transports less than the above listed amounts, does not mean that person will avoid prosecution, it's just that a different statute will apply. While the laws can be somewhat confusing regarding drug charges, the penalties are clear. Those who are arrested and convicted will face harsh punishments that can affect their lives for many years, if not forever. The financial costs are also daunting. Those who are confronted with these charges should do their best to protect themselves by considering contacting a legal professional experienced with defense of drug charges in Maryland.

Source: mgaleg.maryland.gov, "5-614," accessed on Feb. 21, 2015

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