When it comes to a drug conviction in Maryland, various penalties come into play. The consequences of a conviction depend on the amount and type of drug, if there were extenuating circumstances such as trying to sell the drugs versus just use them, and whether this is your first offense of if you have been charged with a drug offense in the past.
The consequences of a possession charge
Possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense. It is not punishable with jail time, but instead a $100 fine. Ten grams to under 50 pounds is a misdemeanor that can bring a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. If more than 50 pounds of marijuana is found it becomes a felony, which can mean a fine of up to $100,000 and five years in prison.
Possession of cocaine is a misdemeanor if you are caught with less than 28 grams, and can carry a fine up to $25,000 and up to four years in prison. Once it becomes a felony the fine rises to $50,000 and prison time increases to 25 years. Lighter sentences are possible, though, and not everyone sees the maximum jail time or fines.
The consequences of a distribution charge
If you are caught distributing, or selling, drugs, or if you are charged with intent to distribute marijuana in Maryland, it is an automatic felony, punishable with at least five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Fines can rise to $1,000,000 and prison time can go as high as 40 years.
For those who are attempting to sell or distribute cocaine, the jail time can be 20 years or rise as high as 40 years, and subsequent offenses mean double penalties. Trying to distribute near a school also means increased penalties. For those considered to be a drug "kingpin," fines up to $1,000,000 are entirely possible, as are 40 or more years in jail.
The amount and type of drug makes a difference
In Maryland, charges become more serious, and consequences much harsher, the most "dangerous" a drug is seen to be. For example, drugs like cocaine carry more serious consequences than charges involving marijuana. For those who are dealing with arrests and potential convictions for drug crimes, a good attorney is necessary to protect their rights and interests, and to provide them with the best possible outcome for their case.