Heroin laws in Maryland provide harsh penalties

Heroin addiction is a serious problem in this country. In fact, the problem has become so widespread that the term “heroin epidemic” has become rather commonplace. Maryland isn’t an exception to this rapid rise in heroin addiction. A Hartford County Health officer notes that heroin addiction is a public health issue. Still, the state laws punish those who are found to be in possession of heroin, as well as those to sell or traffic the illegal drug.

The possession of heroin is a misdemeanor, but the incarceration sentence is considerable. You can face up to four years of incarceration if you are found guilty of a first offense of heroin possession. If the conviction is for a subsequent offense, up to eight years of incarceration can be included as part of the sentence. Fines are also possible.

If you are found in possession of heroin and it is determined that you brought an amount of more than four grams into the state, you face very harsh penalties. You can be sentenced with up to 25 years of incarceration and up to $50,000 in fines for that charge.

The issue with these harsh penalties is that they don’t do much to help treat the underlying addiction. You might be able to detox from heroin while you are incarcerated, but you might go back to using the drug when you get back out.

One way that some Maryland courts are handling this conundrum is by offering people facing heroin possession charges the chance to go through drug court. Drug court brings treatment and the criminal justice system together to try to treat the addiction to help the person avoid future criminal charges. If you think this option might help you, it is imperative that you explore the possibility early in your criminal case.

Source: FindLaw, “Maryland Heroin Laws,” accessed May 30, 2016

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