Howard County Drug Charges
In Maryland generally, drug charges come in two forms, misdemeanor possession of drugs, and felony possession with intent to distribute drugs. Howard County, like most counties in Maryland, have specialized detectives who investigate drug cases, and specialized prosecutors who prosecute drug distribution charges. While there are several niche charges related to drug possession and firearms, most drug cases involve either possession or distribution, or both. Both misdemeanor possession, and felony distribution carry the possibility of jail, making it essential to hire an experienced attorney to defend your case.
Misdemeanor drug possession in Howard County
Misdemeanor Drug Possession under Maryland Criminal Law Statute Section 5-601
- for a first conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both;
- for a second or third conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 18 months or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both; or
- for a fourth or subsequent conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.
Factors that might increase your chances of incarceration include:
- Prior convictions for drug offenses
- Prior convictions for other offenses
- Failure to adequately address a drug issue in the community
- The quantity of the drugs found
- Firearms in proximity to drugs found
Felony possession with intent to distribute
Felony Drug Distribution Charges Under Maryland Criminal Law Statute Section 5-602
(i) for a first conviction, imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding $15,000 or both
(ii)for a second conviction 20 years or a fine not exceeding $15,000 or both (iii) for a third conviction imprisonment not exceeding 25 years or a fine not exceeding $25,000 or both
(iv) for a fourth conviction imprisonment not exceeding 40 years or a fine not exceeding $25,000 or both if the person previously has served three or more separate terms of confinement as a result of three or more separate convictions
What are some defenses I could use?
Generally, possession and distribution defenses fall on two major areas of law:
- Challenges to searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution
Most drug charges arise from roadside stops and vehicle searches. Both the seizure of your vehicle and the subsequent search are governed by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and established Maryland law. The purpose for stopping a vehicle can be challenged, along with the probable cause for searching a vehicle. A knowledgeable drug charge lawyer will know exactly what to challenge, and what law he needs to bring to a suppression hearing.
- Scientific challenges under Maryland's Daubert standard.
Maryland's new standard for expert testimony is located in Rule 5-702 and states that expert testimony may be admitted, in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if the court determines that the testimony will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.
Other drug crimes in Howard County
Maryland has both criminal and civil "fine only" drug offenses. These include:
Possession of Marijuana over 10 grams [CIVIL OFFENSE]; and,
Possession of paraphernalia [CRIMINAL OFFENSE]
While each of these charges carries only a fine, a conviction could have other consequences that you should discuss with a qualified Howard County attorney.
Contact us today
The most important thing you can do if you're charged with a drug charge in Howard County is to speak with an experienced s attorney. Max Frizalone and Luke Woods have years of experience handling drug cases cases of every type. We are more than happy to provide a free consultation regarding your case, put our expertise to work for you.
Areas we serve
20701 (Annapolis Junction),21029 (Clarksville), 21044 (Columbia), 21045 (Columbia), 21046 (Columbia), 21723 (Cooksville),21036 (Dayton), 21075 (Elkridge), 21163 (Ellicott City), 21042 (Ellicott City), 21043 (Ellicott City), 20759 (Fulton), 21737 (Glenelg), 21738 (Glenwood), 20777 (Highland), 20794 (Jessup), 20763 (Savage), 20723 (Scaggsville), 21794 (West Friendship), 21797 (Woodbine)
About the County
According to the 2010 Census, there are 287,085 people residing in the County with a population density of 1,061 people per square mile (409 people per square kilometer). The county is the 21st largest out of 24 in Maryland and has a land area of 449 square miles (1,168 square kilometers). According to the United States Census Bureau, as of July 2016, there were an estimated 309,380 people living in Howard County.