How serious are prescription drug charges in Maryland?

As with most drug crimes, the consequences associated with prescription drug violations can be quite severe in the state of Maryland. In recent years, prescription drug abuse has become a widespread problem across the United States. In response to what many deem a national crisis, prescription drug violations are high priorities for law enforcement on the local and federal levels. In making prescription drug issues a high priority, those charged with such crimes may be in more trouble than they believe.

Some of the most common prescription drug violations include:

— Possessing drugs without a valid prescription

— Forging prescriptions or obtaining prescription medication by fraud

— Doctor shopping, or visiting multiple health care providers to obtain prescriptions

— Selling prescription drugs

In Maryland, most prescription drug-related charges are misdemeanors, but even so, those convicted will likely face life-changing consequences. For example, forging a prescription could lead to a two-year jail sentence combined with a $1,000 fine. Even the most lenient drug charges could mean at least six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Further, those who have been charged with such drug crimes often face other charges at the same time. For example, if a person is caught with unlawful prescription drugs while driving a motor vehicle, his or her charges may increase.

Because each prescription drug case is unique, it is usually beneficial to seek advice from a criminal defense attorney. Doing so ensures your rights remain protected and that your case undergoes a thorough investigation by a professional who is on your side. In some cases, it is possible to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed.

Source: Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, “Sentencing Guidelines Offense Table,” accessed Sep. 12, 2016

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