A 21-year-old White Plains man faces multiple charges including possession with the intent to distribute drugs after marijuana was allegedly found in his backpack. According to a South Maryland News Network report, the drug arrest occurred on Wolverine Place in Waldorf. Officials responded to a call regarding suspicious activity and found a car parked near a wooded area. In the woods, officers found two people, one of whom fled before being apprehended. Officials allegedly found marijuana and drug packaging materials in his backpack. He faces distribution charges as well as charges for resisting arrest.
Marijuana laws in Maryland have changed recently. As of October 1, 2014, possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana will result in a civil penalty instead of a criminal penalty. Earlier, even small amounts of marijuana could result in 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Now, being arrested for a small amount of marijuana will result in a civil penalty similar to receiving a speeding ticket. A first offense is a $100 fine and subsequent offenses will result in additional penalties.
However, there are still very harsh penalties for individuals convicted of possession with the intent to distribute. Possessing less than 50 pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute in Maryland is a felony punishable by five years of incarceration and a fine of $15,000. There are additional penalties for repeat offenders, individuals with over 50 pounds of marijuana, those who sold drugs to minors and individuals who possessed the marijuana in a school vehicle or within 1,000 feet of an elementary school.
If you have been arrested on drug-related charges, it is crucial that you take your case seriously. Ask to speak to your attorney and do not answer any questions until your attorney is present. You may be able to fight the charges or to have the penalties reduced. An experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer will be able to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.