Being arrested for drug crimes at any point is scary enough. But what happens when someone is charged with the most severe level of possession and distribution crimes? Drug charges related to Schedule I and II substances carry the harshest penalties that can be imposed upon a convicted defendant.
If you’re facing criminal charges related to drugs, the first thing you should do it take time to familiarize yourself with Maryland drug laws. This will allow you to make an informed decision about how to proceed and discuss your situation with a Maryland criminal law attorney.
Schedule I vs. Schedule II Drugs
There are currently five schedules of drugsthat are used to assess the mental and physical impact of a substance on the human body under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I and Schedule II are considered to be the most dangerous and highly regulated drugs. As such, illegal possession carries strict penalties depending upon the type and circumstances.
What Are Schedule I Drugs?
Schedule I drugs are considered to be the most physically and psychoactively invasive controlled dangerous substances (CDS). There are three criteria used to gauge the qualifying characteristics of a Schedule I substance:
- No acceptable medical use in the United States;
- High potential for abuse; and,
- Unsafe to use without medical supervision.
Commonly known Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin, peyote, psychedelic mushrooms, and marijuana. It’s important to note that marijuana carries less severe penalties, and is legal for someone who carries a valid Maryland Marijuana Cannabis Commission (MMCC) card to possess certain amounts of marijuana.
What Are Schedule II Drugs?
Schedule II drugs are considered to be addictive with high abuse potential like Schedule I drugs. However, Schedule II drugs are different in that they are approved for medical use under harsh restrictions. Substances under this class include cocaine, methamphetamine, opium, and hydrocodone.
Possible Fines and Jail Time for Schedule I and II Drug Charges in Maryland
Drug crimes are some of the most frequent criminal offenses in Maryland. They can include simple possession, sales, distribution, and manufacturing. The state laws are clear: a) a person may not possess Schedule I substance under any circumstance, and b) a person may not possess a Schedule II substance without formal authorization. In addition to possession, a person cannot:
- own production or manufacturing equipment
- distribute or sell a CDS
- write fraudulent prescriptions
Maryland’s drug laws and sentencing guidelines are akin to federal regulations. The general rule for Schedule I and II drugs is that they carry the harshest penalties. This factorincludesa mandatory minimum sentence for the most severe violations.
Penalties for Possession of Schedule I and II Substances in Maryland
Possession of a CDS is considered to be a misdemeanor in Maryland. Jail time for possession convictions carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Fines are maxed out at $25,000. The actual sentence imposed is based on aggravating factors surrounding the conviction including:
- criminal background
- location and quantity of the drug
- presence of paraphernalia like scales
- large amounts of cash.
If someone brings drugs into the state of Maryland, fines and prison time maximum limits increase since it falls under drug trafficking statutes. Fines can be as high as $50,000 and 25 years in prison.
Penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute Schedule I and II Substances in Maryland
The previously-listed factors could bump charges up to possession with intent to distribute Schedule I and II drugs in Maryland. Presence of large quantities of drugs, cash, scales, manufacturing equipment gives police probable cause to arrest on distribution charges. Sentencing guidelines for intent to distribute Schedule I and II narcotics and hallucinogensinclude fines up to $25,000 and 20 years in prison.
Hiring a Maryland Criminal Law Attorney for Schedule I and II Drug Charges
As licensed attorneys practicing criminal law in Maryland, we cannot tell you to hire a lawyer. You have to make that decision on your own. Here’s the deal: drug charges in Maryland can be fought. You can fight them on your own with limited legal knowledge, or you can hire a professional who can:
- protect your constitutional rights
- navigate the legal and court system
- create a defense that gives a fighting chance
At Falodun & Associates, our team will be there for you every step of the way; from the initial arraignment to the final order. Contact our office for a free consultation by calling 301-289-7737.