Many states throughout the country are trying to wrestle with the rampant issue of opioid addiction, and the crime that results from the issue. Some states have taken the stance of pursuing harsher punishments for drug crimes, while others prefer the approach of helping to treat those who are addicted to drugs like heroin by instituting "drug courts." It may be that the right course of action is somewhere in between.
In Maryland, recent changes to the drug laws mean that anyone who faces drug charges will need to get the most up-to-date information about the charges. In many cases, drug possession charges are misdemeanors. But, for allegations of manufacturing or distributing drugs, Maryland residents may face felony charges.
And, the severity of the potential penalty for a drug charge will vary depending on the type of drug involved. Charges that involve opioids, such as heroin, could leave a Maryland resident facing a prison sentence that could last several years. Marijuana charges, on the other hand, include penalties that can be much less severe.
Whatever the alleged drug involved or the potential penalty, drug crimes in Maryland are serious cases to deal with. Criminal defendants have the right to present a defense in front of a jury of their peers, but, in many cases, that isn't the preferred option. Many defendants instead choose to engage the prosecution in plea negotiations. But, sometimes taking the case before a jury is the best option. Each case is different, so the strategy will be different for each criminal defendant.