Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

How accidentally being in a drug-free zone could mean trouble

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Drug Charges

In Maryland, drug-free zones are areas with strict penalties for drug-related offenses. These zones are common at or near schools, parks and public housing.

Facing drug charges for activity within these zones can lead to severe consequences.

Consequences of violating drug laws in drug-free zones

Drug-free zones in Maryland encompass locations within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and public housing. The consequences for drug charges vary depending on factors such as the type and quantity of drugs, as well as prior criminal history. However, a person convicted of selling drugs within these areas may receive double the standard sentence for the offense.

Zero-tolerance policy

Nearly 25% of people 12 and older use illicit drugs, and Maryland upholds a zero-tolerance policy in drug-free zones. Law enforcement agencies actively patrol these areas and use various strategies to identify and apprehend people.

A person might accidentally find themselves in a drug-free zone through a variety of scenarios. One is driving through a neighborhood and inadvertently entering a drug-free zone without realizing it, especially if the boundaries lack clear markers. Similarly, someone walking or biking through a neighborhood might unknowingly cross into a drug-free zone. This could happen if they take a different route than usual.

Meanwhile, someone might be visiting a friend or family member who lives within a drug-free zone and not realize the implications until after the fact. For example, they might go to a park or playground to meet someone without considering the ramifications. Using public transportation could also inadvertently take someone through a drug-free zone.

Individuals who work for delivery services may also enter drug-free zones while making deliveries. In all these scenarios, the person may not have any intention of engaging in drug-related activities and may simply be going about their daily routine.

Drug-free zones serve as protective measures. Violating drug laws within these areas, even if accidentally, carries severe consequences.