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Do first-time drug possession offenders go to jail in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Drug Charges

If you have been arrested for drug possession in Maryland, you may be wondering if it automatically means that you’ll have to spend time in jail if you’re convicted. In truth, it depends on the amount and type of drugs in question, among other factors. You could go to jail, even as a first-time offender, or not.

For instance, the possession of a relatively small amount of cannabis (less than 10g) is not a criminal offense in Maryland. Instead, you will be charged with a civil offense tied to legal penalties that do not include a jail term. However, possessing larger amounts of cannabis or even small amounts of other controlled substances could result in severe consequences if convicted, including time in jail.

You may face misdemeanor or felony charges for drug possession

The nature of your charges also plays a crucial role. You may face misdemeanor or felony drug possession charges, depending on the circumstances of your case, and the potential penalties can vary significantly.

For instance, jail time is less likely for misdemeanor drug possession charges if you have no prior convictions, although it is not entirely ruled out. On the other hand, felony charges for drug possession can lead to harsher penalties, such as lengthy prison terms. The presence of aggravating factors in your case could also determine the legal penalties of a conviction.

It’s worth noting that Maryland law provides judges with some discretion when it comes to sentencing. The court may consider alternatives to incarceration, especially for first-time offenders. Seeking legal guidance when facing drug possession charges is crucial in navigating the legal complexities of a drug charge scenario and protecting your interests. This may involve negotiating reduced charges, exploring diversion options or presenting a compelling defense to increase the odds of a desirable outcome.