Penalties Are Generally Heavier In Case Minors Are Involved In Possession Or Sale
There are different charges people can get for that, contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Even child abuse has been charged in certain cases. So those add on to the penalties.
As mentioned earlier, the penalties in Maryland are generally pretty harsh for any type of distribution or intent to distribute, and judges have a wide scale in what they can sentence. Depending on the severity of the crime or severity of what it looks like. For example, a drug dealer giving something to another drug dealer in small amounts isn’t going to look nearly as bad as a drug dealer giving something to a 13 year old, and that wouldn’t look as bad as a drug dealer giving something to an 8 year old
A judge is going to look at that and depending on how red you make a judge’s face, there’s going to be a difference in the sentence, and the worse a crime, generally the worse a judge will give a sentence on.
Alternative Sentencing In The State Of Maryland
Maryland has a couple of ways of alternative sentencing. They have two different methods to do it.
One is called a stet. Stet is essentially an agreement by the state and the defendant that for certain conditions the state will not take a case forward. A stetted case means that a case is put on an inactive docket for one year and any time within that year a defendant has the right to re-open that case, and so does the state, and the state could re-open that case for good cause shown at a later date.
Stets are often given in drug crimes in return for community service. More likely than not for a first time offender, a stet can be negotiated. Somebody does not get fined, they do not get convicted. After three years, they can get their record expunged almost unconditionally, within three years after showing good cause and have the case expunged.
Generally, for people who are looking for jobs, people who have graduated college, people who did or completed extra community service, or numerous reasons. It could be good cause shown to get somebody’s record expunged.
Once you get past the stet, then the next level of a second chance statute is Maryland’s probation before judgement statute. What happens in a probation before judgement is generally agreed to by the state’s attorney ahead of time in return for a plea. Sometimes a judge can grant probation before judgement if he sees somebody is fit and worthy for it even after a trial.
Generally, probation before judgements are given to people who don’t have convictions. In a probation before judgement, a person would plead guilty or get convicted and they would have good reasons or be able to impress the judge in one way or another that they deserved a second chance.
The judge would convict them with one stroke of the pen, they would give them a fine, and also potentially give them a suspended jail sentence, and with the next stroke of the pen they would put them on probation and they would essentially strike the conviction.
This means that somebody’s not convicted and that’s something they can’t really use for enhanced sentencing in the future, or to disable somebody from some type of right that they would have. They would be on probation for a period, and once their probation would expire, they would have the same right to get this expunged as somebody with a stet. Three years after the date or with good cause shown at any time after that.
Hope For People After A Conviction To Return To Normal Life Once Again
There’s always hope after something like this happens. The first step is whether or not a person can rehabilitate themselves. The worst part of the whole situation is if somebody has a drug charge and they’re able to rehabilitate themselves afterwards, then they’re going to be able to move on with their life.
If somebody does not, then they can end up with multiple charges, and the more you get, the harsher the penalties. The worse it will look on somebody’s criminal record.
For somebody that has a first time drug offense and they’re not distributing or doing something very serious or intent to distribute, such as with possessions, an attorney can get those expunged, and get those off somebody’s record.
The expungement statute in Maryland is very broad as far as the misdemeanors and the possession are concerned, and it allows the judges to take this off your record and for the most part, they’re fairly easy to obtain. As long as somebody stays clean and doesn’t have multiple offenses, for example college students who are doing things and experimenting.
More than 95% of these people end up coming back to their attorney having their records expunged, graduating college, and going through and having a normal life.
So a drug charge is not something that’s going to cripple you or cause you problems, unless you do something serious with it. Good representation is very important because knowing the right way to go about a case, knowing what your options are, whether PBJ (Probation Before Judgement) or a stet is available are extremely important tools that you can use, and also knowing the expungement and when and how to get these things off your record.
If you need an Attorney In Maryland Who Can Handle Drug Charges, call the law firm of Phillips, Worthington and Allen for a free initial consultation at (301) 892-6007 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.