A Montgomery County Weapons and Drug Crimes Lawyer Can Help You Even Before You Have Been Charged
If you are charged and convicted of a weapon or drug crime in Maryland, the consequences can be severe and life-changing. Unfortunately, many people facing weapon or drug-related accusations are simply unaware that they need a defense attorney before they are even charged with a crime. A skilled and experienced Montgomery County weapons and drug crimes lawyer understands that evidence must be gathered and preliminary strategies need to be developed as quickly as possible.
Weapon Crimes in Maryland
A Montgomery County weapons crimes attorney at Meyers Defense understands the severe nature of weapons crimes. Contact us immediately if you even suspect that you might be charged with a weapons crime.
In Maryland, weapons crimes are identified in Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 4-203. Along with a General Provisions section, there are separate sections for Handguns, Assault Weapons and Detachable Magazines, a Uniform Machine Gun Act, and Destructive Devices. Some of the weapons crimes in Maryland include the below:
Carrying or Transporting a Handgun and Maryland Concealed Carry Laws
It is illegal to carry, wear, or transport an open or concealed handgun without a valid permit in Maryland. The law also prohibits carrying a gun on school property, in a vehicle traveling on a public road, a parking lot, a waterway, an airway, or with the intent of injuring or killing another person. However, there are some exceptions, such as transporting a gun to a repair shop.
Illegally carrying a firearm is a misdemeanor, and penalties vary depending on the number of previous offenses. The use of a firearm during a violent crime or a felony is a misdemeanor and can add up to 20 years to any other sentence imposed.
Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Gun laws in Maryland prohibit the possession, use, or sale of assault pistols. In addition, the law is quite specific about what assault pistols are prohibited, such as a Bushmaster semi-automatic pistol, a Heckler and Koch semi-automatic SP-89 pistol, and a Holmes MP-83 semiautomatic pistol, just to name a few.
The penalties for possessing an illegal firearm are up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Maryland EXILE Program
The Maryland EXILE program is a statewide initiative designed to prevent gun crimes and prosecute repeat offenders. Under EXILE, the State’s Attorney’s Office may consider federal prosecution for gun charges involving drugs, violent crimes, and defendants with prior criminal convictions.
Other Types of Gun Crimes
The following are also crimes under Maryland gun laws:
- Use of a weapon in a school zone.
- Unlawful possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon or drug user.
- Possession of an unregistered firearm.
Weapons charges in Maryland are quite severe, but a Montgomery County weapons crimes attorney understands a wide variety of defenses. Contact us if you even suspect you may be charged with a weapons crime in Maryland.
Weapon Crimes Defense in Maryland
At Meyers Defense, we will conduct an immediate independent investigation of the relevant facts. We will identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and examine the police conduct for any unlawful conduct by the police before, during, and after your arrest. There are various gun crime defense strategies in Maryland. Building your criminal defense early is critical to your defense. Some defenses include:
- Constructive possession. If the weapon was not directly under your control, even if the weapon was found nearby but not in your direct possession, this can be a critical defense.
- Illegal search and seizure. Many arrests for gun crimes occur after law enforcement searches a suspect’s car, house, or personal belongings without probable cause to believe you committed a crime or without a search warrant signed by a judge. If the police violated your Constitutional rights and found a firearm or anything else during an unlawful search, we will file and zealously litigate a motion to suppress the evidence.
Drug Possession in Maryland
In Maryland, the laws regarding drug possession, such as possessing or administering controlled dangerous substances, can be found at Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-601. The statute states that a person may not (1) possess or give to another a dangerous drug absent a valid prescription or (2) obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled dangerous substance.
Possession under Section 601 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The actual charge and penalties upon conviction are commonly based on the defendant’s criminal record and the amount of any given drug. Marijuana in any amount is excluded from Section 601.
The law states that a person may not (1) distribute or dispense a controlled dangerous substance; or (2) possess a controlled dangerous substance in sufficient quantity to indicate an intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
Regarding Possession with Intent to Distribute, general sentencing guidelines include:
- Schedule I and II (heroin, cocaine, etc.): up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $25,000.
- LSD, PCP, and other hallucinogens: Up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $20,000.
- Drugs other than Schedule I or II substances: Up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $15,000.
Possession with intent carries enhanced penalties in a school vehicle or within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school. The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and $20,000 in fines for the first offense, a mandatory five to 40 years in prison, and up to $40,000 in fines.
Drug trafficking is a serious offense. You will need the help of a Montgomery County drug crimes lawyer at Meyers Defense even before you are even charged.
Under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 5-601.1, possession of up to 10 grams is decriminalized and is subject to a civil fine of no more than $100. However, possession of larger amounts is a crime: for quantities between 10 grams and 50 pounds, the maximum penalty is one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. For amounts more than 50 pounds, the penalty is a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Possession of any amount with intent to deliver it is a felony. For amounts, less than 50 pounds, the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $15,000 fine, which is the same for amounts more than 50 pounds, except that a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years is imposed.
Maryland also has a “drug kingpin” statute that penalizes certain high-volume traffickers with 20 years to 40 years in prison, plus up to $1 million in fines.
Prescription Drug Crimes
In Maryland, a pharmacist may not knowingly sell or deliver to another a drug, medicine, chemical, or preparation for medicinal use that is essentially illegal unless prescribed.
Unfortunately, prescribing prescription drugs has become near-epidemic, and prescription drug cases are more serious than you might think. Maryland law enforcement has recently prioritized drug charges. Prescription drugs can be equally dangerous as non-prescription drugs when abused for recreational purposes.
A Montgomery County drug crimes lawyer at Meyers Defense can help you if you even suspect you may be charged with any prescription drug offenses.
The 4th Amendment’s Prohibition on Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
Through the Fourth Amendment, the Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. However, the Fourth Amendment is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those deemed unreasonable under the law.
Defense attorneys frequently claim that defendants get themselves into more trouble by not keeping quiet. Don’t make it easy for the police to shore up the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Meyers Defense as soon as possible so that an attorney can help you strategize the most effective way to invoke your rights and not incriminate yourself.
- You have the right to be treated with respect by the police. Do them the same courtesy.
- You have the right to remain silent, but you must evoke it aloud.
- You have the right to a lawyer, so ask for one immediately, and do not tell the police anything about “what happened.”
- Never resist arrest, even if you believe that the arrest is unlawful.
- You have the right to make a local phone call. Ask for it.
- Stay calm and polite.
- Do not obstruct or interfere with the police.
- Do not run or resist.
- Do not lie. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re keeping your mouth shut.
- Do not touch a police officer.
- Do not fight.
- Listen and follow directions. Calmly state your objections to the directions and complain later.
- Remember the encounter details and write down everything immediately, including the officer badge number, patrol car number, department the officer works from, description of officers, contact information from witnesses, etc. If injured, take photos of your injuries and seek medical treatment. File a complaint.
- Even in a situation where an officer is treating your friend poorly, you may be a witness, so maintain a safe distance, observe the officer’s actions, and state your objection loudly and clearly. Again, you are helping your friend the most by telling them what happened later.
Contact a Montgomery County Weapons Attorney Or A Montgomery County Drug Crimes Lawyer at Meyers Defense if You Even Suspect You May Be Charged
The police may be already investigating and preparing potential charges against you, and you should be preparing as well. Meyers Defense will help you get in front of any accusations will appear with you at any police meetings, arraignments, and other critical pretrial hearings, in order to zealously defend you as soon and comprehensively as possible. Contact us today.