Ellicott City and Annapolis Drug Crime Defense Attorney
Fighting for clients in Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and beyond
Any arrest feels awful, but facing a drug charge can be an especially frightening and overwhelming experience. Entering the criminal justice system can leave you feeling powerless and without hope, particularly if you are also battling with the challenges of a drug addiction. Many offenses involving heroin, cocaine, and other scheduled drugs are felonies. While possession of medical marijuana and small amounts of marijuana may be legal, possession of larger amounts is still a crime.
Consulting with an experienced Annapolis drug crime attorney can get you moving in the right direction to fight your charges and protect your rights. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I provide my clients with the tough defense that a drug crime charge requires. I work to suppress evidence of drugs that were illegally seized. I work aggressively to obtain dismissals and acquittals. I also pursue two common options in drug cases – plea bargain agreements and placement in county drug court programs where the focus is on rehabilitation and not punishment.
What are the categories and drug schedules in Maryland?
Drug crimes can be tried in federal court or state court, depending on such factors as whether the drugs were transported across state lines, the amount of drugs in your possession, and the type of drug in question. In Maryland, there are numerous types of drug-related crimes for dangerous controlled substances, prescriptions, and other substances.
Controlled substances are generally categorized according to the following schedules:
- Schedule I. This category includes heroin, various types of morphine, marijuana. These drugs have a high potential for abuse, don’t have an accepted medical use in the U.S., and lack accepted safety for use of the substance under medical supervision”
- Schedule II. This schedule includes various forms of opium, oxycodone, and fentanyl (an opioid). Schedule II drugs have a high potential for drug abuse and do have accepted medical uses (with restrictions).
- Schedule III. This category includes testosterone and other drugs which have a potential for abuse. These drugs are considered somewhat less dangerous than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs, and have a well-documented medical use.
- Schedule IV. This category includes barbital and other drugs which have a low potential for abuse relative to other schedules, and have an accepted medical use.
- Schedule V. This category includes pregabalin (Lyrica) and other drugs with a low abuse level and an accepted medical use.
Prescription drugs are also regulated by Maryland law.
What drug crimes can you be arrested for in Annapolis or Ellicott City?
Drug crimes, according to Maryland law, include:
- 5-601. Possessing or administering controlled dangerous substance.
- 5-601.1. Citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.
- 5-602. Distributing, possessing with intent to distribute, or dispensing controlled dangerous substance
- 5-603. Equipment to produce controlled dangerous substance
- 5-604. Counterfeit substance
- 5-605. Keeping common nuisance
- 5-606. False prescription
- 5-617. Distributing faked controlled dangerous substance
- 5-618. Possession or purchase of noncontrolled substance
- 5-619. Drug paraphernalia.
- 5-620. Controlled paraphernalia
- 5-621. Use of weapon as separate crime
- 5-622. Firearm crimes
- 5-623. Proceeds of drug crime
- 5-624. Drug-induced conduct
- 5-627. Controlled dangerous substance near school
- 5-628. Use of minor
The most serious drug crime offenders are categorized by § 5-612.
- Volume dealers
- Drug kingpins
- Drug importers
In Annapolis and Ellicott City, many people are accused of possession, often of an illegal amount of marijuana.
What are the penalties for drug crime convictions in Maryland?
The potential consequences of a drug conviction depending on the specific details of the case. While a simple possession charge may result in a small fine or short jail sentence, drug trafficking or manufacturing can land you in jail for the rest of your life. Multiple convictions can also result in extended jail sentences, so no matter the charge, it’s important to secure the services of an aggressive Annapolis drug crime defense attorney.
In general, first-time defendants charged with personal possession may be eligible for an alternative drug diversion program. One common diversion program is a drug treatment court program that provides for extensive treatment, monitored by a drug court judge. On successful completion of the treatment program, the charges against the defendant may be dismissed. The programs generally last 12 to 18 months and involves four phases. Your behavior is continually monitored by the judge assigned to your case. Arundel County has its own drug treatment court.
However, in cases where it’s clear the defendant was trying to profit from the drugs, even first-time offenders will likely face prison time and large fines.
Anyone convicted of a second or repeat offense will normally not be eligible for a drug court treatment program. Repeat offenses for any drug crime conviction carry long prison sentences and substantial fines. Feel free to contact my office if you are unsure about the charges against you and the possible consequences of conviction.
What are some possible defenses to an Annapolis drug charge?
A common defense strategy is to seek to have evidence of the drugs suppressed because the police did not have proper grounds to seize the drugs from you or from anyone else. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects your right against unreasonable search and seizures. It requires that all searches either require a warrant or that the police have a reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has been committed. In our experience, we’ve found that often the police did not have a reasonable suspicion and didn’t obtain a warrant.
Other common drug defenses include:
- The drugs don’t belong to you
- The drugs were planted or there’s some form of entrapment
- The chain of custody of the drugs f was broken
- The amount of the drugs is less than charged
- The police didn’t have grounds to stop your vehicle
- The government can’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt
Once I review the specific details of a case, I create a defense strategy that pursues the best possible outcome. I argue the law and the facts. If arrested for a misdemeanor or felony drug crime in Howard County or Anne Arundel County, your first call must be to a knowledgeable Annapolis drug defense attorney. Let me help you through this difficult time by using my skills and dedication to defend your best interests.
Contact an approachable Annapolis drug crimes attorney today
At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I’ve been providing the citizens of Annapolis and Ellicott City with serious representation for more than 18 years. I provide accessible, effective, and knowledgeable representation in Maryland drug crimes cases. If you are charged with a drug crime and want to learn how I can help, call my office today at 410.777.8103 or complete our contact forms to schedule a consultation.
And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.