Drug Crimes

Drug charges should be taken very seriously in Maryland because of the potential consequences on your life and future. If you are convicted of drug charges, the next time you apply for a job, you will have to answer “yes” if you are asked whether you have been arrested or convicted of a crime. If you are in college, you may lose eligibility for student loans or you could be expelled from school.

The Maryland Judiciary estimates that in fiscal 2015, approximately 23,691 violations involving the possession of a CDS, other than marijuana, in the District Courts, and approximately 13,038 violations in the circuit courts. Of those violations, 6,500 (50%) were in the Baltimore Circuit Court, 1,151 (9%) were in the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, and 90 (7%) were in the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) estimates that in fiscal 2015, it handled 337 intakes for individuals in which possession of CDS other than marijuana was the “most serious” offense. For those individuals, the average sentence was 28 months.


Attorney for “Drug Crimes” in Baltimore, MD

As a criminal defense attorney in Maryland, I have been aggressively defending clients for drug crimes including simple possession, drug distribution, trafficking and being a drug kingpin.

For 20 years, I have defended people in Baltimore, Arbutus, Catonsville, Annapolis, Bel Air, and throughout Maryland who have been charged with all types of drug crimes including:

Maryland’s drug crime penalties increase incrementally with any increase in the amount of drugs possessed and the number of prior convictions. My goal as your lawyer in a drug case is to get you through the process so you won’t end up with a conviction and a criminal record. If that is not possible, I will seek to minimize the possible consequences you face. I am skilled at having charges reduced and dismissed.

Contact the lawyers of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates at 443-709-9999 today.


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Providing Criminal Defense in Maryland Since 1992

Drug possession charges vary greatly in their level of seriousness, from first-time marijuana possession to multiple offenses for possession or even importing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Charges may be brought by the state or by the federal government, and penalties can include fines, probation, and jail or prison time.

The following links offer more information about drug charges in Maryland:

  • Drug possession: Drug possession charges can vary greatly in their level of seriousness, from first-time marijuana possession to possession of a threshold amount of cocaine, heroin or meth. The “scheduled drug or narcotic” can determine the type and magnitude of the charges.
  • Drug distribution charges: Many people think that only dealers can be charged with drug distribution. Simply sharing drugs with your friends, however, can result in serious felony charges that can lead to a lengthy prison sentence.
  • Maryland’s Drug Kingpin Statute: In Maryland, defendants facing drug distribution charges face enhanced criminal penalties if they are deemed to be drug “kingpins.”

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Drug Crimes Committed By School Property

Under MCDSA, a person may not manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to distribute CDS in a school vehicle or in, on, or within 1,000 feet of real property owned or leased to an elementary school, secondary school, or a county board and used for elementary or secondary education.

This prohibition applies regardless of whether the school was in session or whether the real property was being used for other than school purposes at the time of the violation.

A map or certified copy of a map made by a county or municipality to depict the location and boundaries of the area within 1,000 feet of the school property, and that is approved as an official record by the county or municipality, may be admitted as prima facie evidence of the location and boundaries.

The map or certified copy must be filed and maintained by the county or municipality as an official record and may be revised by the county or municipality. Other evidence may also be used or admissible, including maps or diagrams other than those approved by the county or municipality.


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Controlled Dangerous Substance in Maryland

Controlled Dangerous Substance (also known as “CDS” are listed on one of five schedules (Schedules I through V) set forth in statute depending on their potential for abuse and acceptance for medical use. Under MCDSA, “authorized provider” means:

  1. a person licensed, registered, or otherwise allowed to administer, distribute, dispense, or conduct research on CDS in the State in the course of professional practice or research or
  2. a pharmacy, laboratory, hospital, or other institution licensed, registered, or otherwise allowed to administer, distribute, dispense, or conduct research on CDS in the State in the course of professional practice or research.

The term “authorized provider” includes a scientific investigator; an individual authorized by the State to practice medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine; and a licensed animal control facility. An authorized provider may not prescribe, administer, manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess CDS, drug paraphernalia, or controlled paraphernalia except:

  • in the course of regular professional duties; and
  • in conformity with MCDSA and the standards of the authorized provider’s profession.

An authorized provider who knowingly or intentionally violates these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to maximum penalties of imprisonment for two years and/or a fine of $100,000. All other violations are subject to a civil penalty of up to $50,000.

Preliminary data from DHMH shows that the number of intoxication deaths continued to increase in 2015, with 889 deaths from January through September 2015, compared to 767 deaths during the same period in 2014 (a 16% increase).


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Prosecuting Pill Mills, Physicians, and Distributors in the State of Maryland

DHMH’s Division of Drug Control (DDC) enforces CDS regulations. Authorized providers must register with DDC and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in order to administer, prescribe, or dispense CDS. DDC registers approximately 32,000 practitioners and establishments in the State. Recently, physicians and other health care professions have been subject to prosecutions for the distribution of controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances resulting in death. These cases

These cases involve allegations that the physician prescribed dangerous controlled substances such as oxycodone, methadone, morphine, alprazolam, and other CDS to patients outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. Many of these cases involve a physician’s pain management practice which is described as a “pill mill” where individuals paid a fee to obtain CDS prescriptions without having to demonstrate any medical need.

In additional to prosecution the physicians involved in a “pill mill,” prosecutors can also go after “runners” and “distributors” for the operation. The prosecutors will allege that “runners” would visit the clinics with fictitious medical complaints to obtain prescriptions, fill the prescriptions, and give the prescribed substances to distributors. The “distributors” would ten sell the substances for profit.


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Drug Crime Charges and Criminal Diversion

The consequences of hiring the wrong lawyer can cost you the rest of your life. When I represent you, I will discuss possible criminal diversion alternatives to jail or prison that may be available in your case before you go to court.

Many counties in Maryland offer pretrial diversion classes. However, it is important that I review what is being offered to you because it may not be the best plan of action. Many times, the state offers a “stet” instead of a nol pros if you complete the program. A “stet” could result in a three-year wait to expunge (clear) your record instead of an immediate expungement.


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Finding a Lawyer for Attorney for Drug Crimes in Baltimore, Maryland

The most important advice for anyone charged with possession of an illegal drug is to not speak to the police or anyone else before you are represented by an experienced attorney.

Your first instinct may be to try and make the charges go away by talking to the police. However, trying to deal with the police on your own will usually result in worse consequences. Even if you think you are innocent, you could end up saying something to police that will result in serious criminal charges.

To protect your future, contact a criminal defense attorney in Maryland. We have two offices conveniently located in Catonsville and Arbutus, Maryland.  Call us to find out more about diversion programs for a first offense and ways to avoid harsh penalties for a second or subsequent offense. The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates are available 24/7 and offer a free initial consultation. To contact 443-709-9999 to discuss your case today.