Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer in Ocean City, MD
Ocean City Maryland is one of the premier vacation destinations in the country but it’s also a hotbed for drug crimes. Local law enforcement agencies like the Ocean City Police Department’s Narcotics Unit, the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team and the Ocean City Police Special Enforcement Unit have ramped up their efforts to make drug arrests a top priority.
The most aggressively pursued charges are those considered to be “high stakes” and involve the sale, distribution, manufacture, and importation of controlled substances. In fact, it’s not uncommon for police to employ any of the following to bring drug dealers and drug traffickers to justice:
- undercover operations
These crimes, which are classified as felonies carry more severe penalties than simple possession of drugs. While a misdemeanor drug possession charge is still serious and carries up to four years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine; felony drug charge imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Felony Drug Crime Convictions
A conviction for a felony drug crime is devastating. Not only are you facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence, heavy fines, probation, and treatment/education classes but a criminal record can wreak havoc on your life your years to come. It may hinder your ability to seek gainful employment, find an apartment, and obtain credit.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or are being investigated for a felony drug crime, you need to retain a drug crime lawyer who will tenaciously fight to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. This type of crime demands swift and immediate legal attention. Attorney Richard Brueckner is a reputable criminal defense lawyer in the Ocean City area and is committed to delivering favorable outcomes for his clients. He has extensive knowledge of state and federal drug laws and will devote all his resources to providing you with the best defense possible.
As a former prosecutor, Richard J. Brueckner knows how the other side gathers evidence to prove guilt. During that time, he developed a passion for defending those accused of importation of drug charges and won upwards of 80 jury trials and obtained favorable outcomes in over a thousand cases involving drunk driving offenses, weapons, and drug charges.
Felony Drug Crimes
- Possession of a large number of CDS
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Possession of production equipment
- Drug kingpin charges
- Importing CDS into Maryland
- Possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime
Drug Classification Schedules in Maryland
Maryland law classifies drugs with the potential for abuse into five different categories (or “schedules”).
- Schedule I: considered to be the most addictive, these drugs serve no medical purpose and are considered by the state of Maryland to pose a danger to the welfare of its citizens.
- Heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy), LSD, Marijuana (10 grams or more), Cocaine
- Schedule II: high potential for abuse and a high potential for severe psychological or physical dependency, but a currently accepted medical use.
- Cocaine, Opium, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth), Codeine, Morphine, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine
- Schedule III: less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs, moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence
- benzphetamine (Didrex), phendimetrazine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone.
- Schedule IV: less potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, they have a limited potential for dependency, and they are accepted in medical treatment.
- Ambien, Xanax, Valium
- Schedule V: low potential for abuse, limited risk for dependency, and accepted medical uses
- Cough Suppressants with Codeine
Possession with Intent to Distribute, Distribution, or Manufacturing a Controlled Dangerous Substance
Under Code Section 5-602 it is illegal to sell, distribute, or manufacture a controlled substance or to possess a controlled substance in a sufficient quantity which indicates an intent to sell or distribute. If convicted of Possession with Intent to Distribute CDS, Distribution of CDS, or Manufacturing CDS, the severity of your punishment will depend on the scale of the drugs involved in the crime and whether you are a repeat offender.
- Schedule I and II: If this is your first offense and the drug involved is classified as Schedule I or Schedule II, you would be facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.Second offense: a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence
- Third offense: 25-year mandatory minimum and $100,000 fine
- Fourth offense: 40 years mandatory
- Schedules III-V: for first offense, up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000
- Second offense: 2-year mandatory prison sentence
- Marijuana: 5 years in jail and $15,000 fine
- Second offense carries a two-year mandatory minimum without parole
Additional penalties for Fentanyl or Heroin containing Fentanyl
- adds an additional 10 years to the sentence
How Does a Prosecutor Prove Intent?
A prosecutor will attempt to elevate the charge of simple possession to possession with intent to distribute if there were enormous quantities of drugs present at the time of your arrest. They will also point to the presence of certain items such as plastic baggies, digital scales, or large quantities of cash which could infer your intent to sell or distribute the drugs. Depending on the number of drugs found, you may be considered a “volume dealer” which can trigger a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 years and a fine up to $100,000.
You would qualify as a volume dealer if you possessed any of the following:
- 50 pounds of marijuana
- 448 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine (meth)
- 50 grams of crack cocaine (crack)
- 28 grams of morphine or opium
- 1,000 or more doses of lysergic acid (LSD)
Federal agents and the federal court system will get involved if they believe you were involved in a large-scale drug operation involving large amounts of drugs, large amounts of money, and the transportation of these large amounts of drugs or money over state lines.
Aggravating Factors that Enhance Penalties for Drug Crimes
There are certain circumstances that can enhance the penalties for a Maryland drug crime, including:
- possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime
- distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school (up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine)
- using minors for the manufacture or delivery of drugs (maximum prison term of 20 years and a maximum fine of $20,000)
Trafficking and Importing Drugs into Maryland
It is illegal to import controlled substances into Maryland without authorization. Trafficking is an extremely serious drug crime. For example, bringing 4 grams of heroin into the state is a felony charge that carries up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. In some cases, a prosecutor may try to label you as a “drug kingpin” or someone who organizes, supervises, and finances ways to bring drugs into the state for distribution and sale. Drug kingpin crimes carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison with a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence with the possibility of a $1 million fine.
Strategies For Fighting a Felony Drug Charge in Ocean City
- Challenge Legality of Traffic Stop: Mr. Brueckner will examine the police report to identify the initial reason why you were arrested. If you were pulled in your car, the police must have had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. Even if you were speeding, in order to search your car there must be drugs or paraphernalia in plain sight that gives an officer probable cause to search your vehicle.
- Challenge Constitutionality of Search and Seizure: When an officer searches your person, car, or home during a police investigation they must follow strict procedures and guidelines to ensure that they don’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights. They cannot proceed with a search if they do not have a search warrant or reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If your constitutional rights were violated, any evidence of illegal substances found would be inadmissible in court.
- Challenge the Weight of Drugs: The weight of drugs found can greatly impact your charge and sentence. We can file a motion to have the drug measurements tested for accuracy in a volume drug dealing case.
- Duress or Coercion If you were forced to carry or hold drugs for someone else (such as being held at gunpoint and ordered to transport drugs), you can claim that you were coerced into doing so.
- Discredit Circumstantial Evidence: A prosecutor may try to prove the intent to distribute based on circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is different from direct evidence. Direct evidence tends to point to a suspect directly, such as an eyewitness account, fingerprint evidence, videotape recordings, etc. whereas circumstantial evidence relies on an inference or assumption
The sooner that you speak to a Felony Drug Crimes Attorney the better your strategy will be. It’s important to take action quickly. Contact Richard J. Brueckner now for experienced Felony Drug Crime defense. Tel:410-430-1464