Ellicott City Drug Crime Defense Lawyers

Protecting the rights of those accused of state and federal drug crimes

Drug crime convictions come with serious penalties here in Maryland and throughout the country. And, as the opioid crisis continues taking lives, many prosecutors are beginning to pursue murder and manslaughter charges against those who supply users with fatal doses of drugs. Working with a drug crime defense attorney gives you the best chance at success for your case.

At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, our criminal defense attorneys fight for your rights. We understand the potential and severe consequences of being charged of a drug crime and we work tenaciously to protect your future. Talk to our Ellicott City attorneys today – we’ll review your case and counsel you on your next steps.

Drug laws in Maryland

The crackdown on drugs cries shows no signs of abating. According to the Washington Post, 20 states and the federal government have enacted laws specifically to prosecute drug dealers following fatal overdoses, and another 16 states are using existing manslaughter laws to do the same.

Maryland’s drug laws are the same as federal laws, though state penalties are typically less severe than federal ones, and state courts have more flexibility in sentencing. The Maryland criminal code states that you can’t possess or administer a controlled dangerous substance without a valid prescription.

Also, you may not:

  • Distribute or intend to distribute a controlled substance
  • Own equipment designed to produce controlled substances
  • Possess 10 grams or more of marijuana (less than 10 grams is a civil offense)
  • Sell controlled substances
  • Write fraudulent prescriptions

Note: You could also face charges for possession of drug paraphernalia like pipes, small baggies, needles or scales. Although separately these may not count as drug paraphernalia, together they could lead to additional charges or penalties.

Different types of drugs fall into different types of drug schedules.

Classification of drug schedules in Ellicott City, MD

The DEA classifies drugs into five categories, depending on the drug’s medical use as well as the drug’s potential for abuse or dependency. These categories are:

  • Schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, LSD, cannabis, ecstasy, methaqualone and peyote.
  • Schedule II drugs. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and physical/emotional dependence. These include hydrocodone (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III drugs. Schedule III drugs and substances have a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, and their abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Examples include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV drugs. Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse and dependence and include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien and Tramadol.
  • Schedule V drugs. These also have low potential for abuse, and typically consist of medications containing limited amounts of narcotics. Examples include cough medicine with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), and other medications like Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica and Parepectolin.

Penalties for Ellicott City drug crimes

Generally, charges involving Schedule I and Schedule II drugs have the most severe penalties. Between huge fines and jail time, it’s imperative to have an experienced defense attorney on your side. If you’re found guilty of drug-related charges, judges can be harsh when handing out punishment. Our attorneys work with you from the very beginning to strategize and minimize the charges against you.

Penalties for drug offense can vary widely, depending on the situation and the particular drug and amount. You could receive anything from a slap on the wrist to 10 years in jail. Again, don’t try to go it alone. Our attorneys are here for you, and can explain in detail the possible penalties for your case and how we can work to mitigate them.

Maryland courts take the following into consideration when deciding on penalties:

  • Is it a first-time offense? First-time offenders are typically treated differently than repeat offenders. Often, they receive probation rather than a conviction, which would allow you to keep your record clean as long as you stay out of trouble.
  • However, repeat offenders won’t get away as easily. A judge has the right to order jail time and another period of probation.
  • Many first-time offenders may be handed an alternative sentencing. This could be anything from a drug treatment program to community service to financial penalties, upon completion of which the charges will be dismissed.

How our drug crime defense attorneys can help

Our vast experience with the law gives you an edge when you hire us for your defense. We know when authorities are required to show a warrant, and when they illegally obtain evidence. We go through your case with a fine-tooth comb to find the details to get your charges dismissed or minimized. And we’re not afraid to go to trial, if that’s what it takes to protect your rights.

Following are just a few of the types of cases we handle:

  • Cocaine offenses
  • Cultivation
  • Driving under the influence
  • Drug sales
  • Drug trafficking
  • Intent to distribute
  • Manufacturing
  • Marijuana offenses
  • Possession
  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Transportation possession

Talk to our Ellicott City drug crime defense attorneys today

Drug crime convictions can put your freedom at risk and your entire future in jeopardy. As Maryland laws get more and more strict, you may face fines, prison time and a permanent criminal record. The drug crime defense lawyers at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law won’t let you face this battle alone. Addiction is not a crime – it’s a disease. Call our office today at 410-777-8103 or fill our contact form to schedule a consultation.

And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.