Ocean City Aggravating Factors in Drug Charges

In Maryland, penalties for drug charges depend on a variety of factors and can range from a small fine to years of incarceration. It is important to know these factors along with what someone arrested for a drug charge ought to expect. To learn more on this topic, or for specific information regarding your charge, reach out to an Ocean City drug attorney as soon as possible.

Range of Charges

The severity of the drug charge is determined by the facts of each case. If a person is in possession of a small amount of drugs, then that would be a misdemeanor possession charge. In that case, the State has to prove either that the person possessed the substance, or that they exercised some sort of control over such.

As far as the penalties, and depending on the substance, simple possession can carry anywhere from 90 days in jail to four years. The incarceration period could potentially greater if the person has a prior record and qualifies for enhanced penalties.

A more serious offense is possession with intent to distribute. This requires the State to prove not just that the person possessed the drugs but also that they specifically intended to distribute them to other people. This more serious offense carries a maximum sentence of five years if is it marijuana, and up to twenty years for heroin or cocaine. With simple possession, somebody possesses only enough for them to use it, and they are likely dealing with a substance abuse issue. Drug distribution, on the other hand, involves people making money off of someone else’s addiction, so they are going to be treated much harsher than the recipient.

Distribution is a very severe charge, and is categorized as a felony. In addition to proving intent, the State will also have to prove that the person actually did deliver the substance to another individual. That would be considered distribution. The maximum penalty is up to twenty years in prison, or potentially more if the person has prior records of drug convictions.

Aggravating Factors of Distribution

The reason distribution is considered to be more serious than simple possession is primarily because of the accompanying culture. The culture of drug distribution oftentimes includes significant amounts of violence. It is not unusual for illegal firearms to be present. There can be collateral damage as a direct result of the use of these illegal weapons. Therefore, their presence is an aggravating factor.

Another reason distribution is viewed more seriously than simple possession is that the customers are likely to engage in negative behaviors as they are driven by their addiction and less likely to exhibit good judgment. It is possible they could steal and commit other crimes to be able to satisfy their addiction and that is a significant public health risk. Because of this, the criminal justice system is going to penalize harshly people that are contributing to that state of affairs.

What To Expect After An Arrest

After a person is arrested they are taken to the public safety building which is located on 65th Street in Ocean City. They would then be processed, which means they would be finger printed and have their photograph taken. The officer might ask to have an interrogation of that person and see if they would be willing to speak to the law enforcement personnel.

As part of the booking process, the accused would be seen by a district court commissioner. The commissioner would get information from the person, among other things, about:

  • Home Address
  • Employment
  • Community Ties
  • Prior Record

The commissioner will  then set a bond and the person then has the choice of posting that bond or not. If they do, it will be either themselves or through a bail bondsman  to help them be able to pay a full amount. If the person does not post bond, they will appear in front of the district court judge who will then review the bond status. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether to decrease, increase, or not change the bond.

When To Contact A Drug Attorney

A person who has been arrested may contact an attorney as soon as they have access to a telephone. Typically,  once the person begins the booking process, they could get access to a telephone and  start looking for an attorney. If you are facing drug possession charges or believe you may be, it is important to reach out to an experienced Ocean City drug lawyer as soon as possible. Having one by your side will help ensure you understand your rights and fight for the best possible outcome as you build a defense together.