It is true, the way that most people now view marijuana is not how they once did. Maryland, like other states, has loosened its stance when it comes to punishing those found with small amounts of the drug. So, if an officer catches you with marijuana on your person, you may be thinking what's the big deal?
Maryland updated marijuana laws around 2014. What do the current laws say about the drug? How can I fight a marijuana charge?
Current crimes and penalties
There are three basic categories under which drug crimes fall. These are possession, sale and trafficking. As it currently stands, the penalties for these crimes in regard to marijuana -- if convicted -- are:
- Possession: For those found with 10 grams or less, the penalty is a fine only -- which can range anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the number of offenses on your record. For those found with anything from 10 grams up to 50 pounds, this is a misdemeanor that is punishable up to one year in jail or a fine of $1,000.
- Sale: This is a felony-level offense that is punishable anywhere from five to 40 years imprisonment and/or a hefty fine.
- Trafficking: This is also a felony-level offense that is punishable up to 40 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000,000.
So, a minor possessions charge may not seem like a big deal, other than the fact that it can drain you financially. A conviction on sales or trafficking, though, can drastically change the course of your life.
Alternatives to jail
If convicted for sale or trafficking, the only alternative to jail is a fine. There it will be up to a judge to decide if incarceration is necessary. For possession charges, however, drug court may be an alternative for repeat offenders. Drug court is a supervised treatment program meant to help people beat their drug dependency. Your legal counsel can provide more information on this topic if it applies to your situation.
Fight, with help
You may be able to fight marijuana drug charges, regardless of how minor or significant they are. An experienced criminal defense attorney can answer any questions you have about your case, which will allow you to make informed legal decisions and help you as you fight for the best outcome possible.