In 2014, the state of Maryland changed its law to decriminalize adult possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana for personal use. That was a very positive step, but problems remain.
Under the new law, an adult can legally have a small amount (just over a third of an ounce) of cannabis on hand for personal use. If discovered by the police, it is considered a civil infraction, not a crime. The charge is no more serious than a traffic infraction and a first offense results in a $100 fine. If you are caught again, the fine goes up. As of 2016, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and smoking weed in public are also civil offenses, which can cost you a fine but no jail time.
Before you decide to risk maintaining a personal stash, though, keep in mind what the new law does not do:
- Possession with intent to distribute cannabis is still a criminal act. Depending on the amount, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Driving while impaired by marijuana is still illegal.
- People under 18 are still prohibited from possessing any amount of marijuana.
At The Law Offices of Richard B. Rosenblatt, PC, in Rockville, we provide dedicated, effective defense of people charged with misdemeanor marijuana crimes in Maryland. We know that any drug arrest is a big deal for you and your family, and we will fight for your rights and help you minimize the consequences.
Contact us online or call 301-637-0402 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.
Limiting the Consequences of Minor Marijuana Crimes
Paying a citation with no possibility for jail time is far different from a criminal conviction. If you have been arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor possession with intent to distribute or DUI-marijuana, do not assume you have no options.
Do not agree to plead guilty without talking to a lawyer first. You may not realize how serious the consequences may be.
Being convicted of a drug crime, misdemeanor or felony creates a black mark on your criminal record that can be used against you in several important ways:
- A misdemeanor marijuana conviction could get you deported — even if you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
- Any drug conviction could threaten your professional license.
- Even a misdemeanor conviction could bring on school discipline.
- A drug conviction could make you ineligible for certain jobs and benefit programs.
- Drug convictions appear on employers' and landlords' background checks.
- You could get fired for smoking marijuana, even for medical purposes.
- You could be evicted if you use a controlled substance in your unit.
- DUI-marijuana carries most of the same penalties as DUI-alcohol.
Fighting Misdemeanor Marijuana Charges in Maryland
Being charged with pot possession is not the same as being convicted. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys will fight hard for the best outcome available in your situation.
We will thoroughly investigate the charges against you, obtaining copies of the police record, witness statements and other evidence. Did the police have the right to arrest you? Did they perform the search legally? Did they have a good reason, or probable cause, to pull you over in the first place?
Depending on your case, we may move for dismissal or reduction of the charges. We may negotiate a plea bargain. In appropriate circumstances, we may be able to get you into a court-ordered substance abuse program instead of jail. If your best option is to fight the charges in court, we are experienced trial attorneys who are ready, willing and able to bring your case before a judge and jury.
Get the Answers You Need in a Free Initial Consultation
For aggressive representation by an attorney who will take your minor marijuana case seriously, call The Law Offices of Richard B. Rosenblatt, PC, in Rockville. Contact us online or call 301-637-0402 to schedule a free initial consultation for yourself or a loved one.