Apart from cannabis, any other controlled substance is illegal in Maryland. However, illicit drug use remains high in the state. Therefore, carrying any type of controlled substance, even for personal use, may result in possession charges. Harsher penalties may apply if you were holding an excessive amount.
Drug possession vs. distribution
As per Maryland state laws, no person may be in possession of any controlled substance. With the exception of marijuana, if you are found with drugs such as cocaine, heroin or other controlled substances named by the DEA, you may face misdemeanor charges that carry imprisonment and fines.
The quantity of drugs in your custody and your criminal record will determine the severity of charges and penalties you face upon conviction. First-time offenders may receive a sentence of up to one year in prison and a max fine of $5,000 or both.
However, possession can cross the line to distribution if you are carrying a large amount of illegal drugs. Even without any plans of sharing or selling illegal drugs to anyone, law enforcement may assume that you have the intent to distribute them.
Distribution entails giving or selling illegal drugs to another party. In Maryland, holding an unlawful amount of drugs may satisfy the criteria for being a volume dealer.
Intent to distribute is a far more serious charge than simple possession. Additionally, the severity of the penalty would depend on the type of drug. Schedule I and Schedule 2 drugs could put you in jail for 20 years and set you back by up to $25,000.
A drug offense will appear on your criminal record regardless of whether it is possession or distribution. It might seem impossible but know that an arrest is not yet a conviction. A criminal defense attorney can still explore various legal defense tactics that may help reduce or drop your charges.