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Drug Offenses

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Drug-Related Charges – An Overview

Drug charges cover a wide range of crimes, from the less severe, such as simple possession of a small amount of certain drugs, to the more serious, such as participation in an ongoing drug-related criminal enterprise or manufacturing and distributing drugs. Facing any charge can be upsetting. Drug offenses can carry the risk of serious penalties upon conviction; An experienced criminal defense attorney can take some of the fear out of drug charges by answering questions and guiding an accused offender through the complex legal maze that awaits them.

Drug-related charges typically involve highly complex legal issues and bear the risk of serious consequences, including imprisonment, permanent difficulties obtaining employment which result from obtaining a criminal record, and deportation for resident aliens.  You need to have an experienced lawyer on your side to ensure that this mistake or bad decision does not ruin the rest of your life.
Whether representing a first-time offender charged with possession of marihuana, or defending an individual accused of selling drugs, criminal defense attorney Marc Emden brings almost 30 years of experience defending such clients in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and in Federal court. 

An experienced trial attorney, Marc Emden has represented clients accused of or under investigation for all types of federal and state criminal offenses.  Regardless of the nature or severity of the allegations of drug crimes and regardless of whether you’ve been arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, or for possession of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, or marijuana, for an experienced and professional representation against drug trafficking or drug possession charges contact Marc Emden today.

Prescription fraud charges are most often filed against those suffering from chronic pain or serious medical problems. Though legal consequences for drug charges can be severe, alleged violators of prescription medication laws often experience leniency from the court system when working with an experienced criminal defense attorney because:

  • It is often the criminal offence for the accused
  • Because no one is injured or suffers significant loss in prescription fraud cases, they have a low rating in the courts’ "culpability index."
  • The courts often tend to be more forgiving of individuals driven to commit crimes due to excessive physical pain

If you face charges of prescription drug fraud, contact the Marc Emden for experienced legal help and a skilled, thoroughly prepared defense.

Many Case Dismissals and Lenient Sentences have Resulted from My Skill and Experience

Marc Emden has handled scores of drug crime charges, and is skilled at helping the court understand the medical and personal issues that can lead to prescription drug fraud.  Our convicted clients often receive lenient sentences, including:

  • Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Addiction counseling

Have you been charged with stealing a doctor’s prescription pad, forging a signature and illegally acquiring:

  • OxyContin?
  • Percocet?
  • Vicodin?
  • Adderall?
  • Any other controlled substance?

We have provided effective legal help for many clients in the past. For example, in a recent case, our client was convicted of three prescription drug offenses. The result of my representation?  A suspended sentence and substance abuse treatment.

Skilled Defense and Investigation to Protect Your Rights

Experienced defense attorney Marc Emden will work diligently to defend you. No matter what evidence the government has, it may be possible to have your case dismissed or your charges reduced. He may be able to convince the judge to recommend drug treatment or counseling in lieu of jail time.
In your drug crime case, Marc Emden asks questions to obtain evidence that may result in the charges being dropped or your punishment minimized:

  • Was the search and seizure lawful?
  • Was your detention lawful?
  • Were you properly advised of your Miranda rights?
  • Can the government prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt?
  • Did you have the authority to possess the prescription medications?

The answers to these questions could result in your case being thrown out of court and charges dismissed. For an experienced defense, contact Marc Emden today.

Protecting Your Student’s Future

While college students are away from home enjoying freedom for the first time, it is not uncommon for them to experiment with drugs — particularly marijuana. Unfortunately, some students are aware of the serious consequences drug offenses carry.  Apart from facing criminal charges, they may also have to undergo a university disciplinary hearing.   A bad result could mean being banned from the dorms, a loss of scholarships, or even expulsion from college.
A criminal charge for drug possession, manufacturing, sale or trafficking (PWID) could trigger a full-blown investigation by the school.  You may have to repay tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships or housing assistance.  Few criminal convictions are more devastating to your future than drug manufacturing and cultivation.  Consequences can include:

  • Years of incarceration
  • A criminal record
  • Lifetime problems obtaining housing and employment
  • Restrictions on travel, etc.

If you, or your son or daughter, has been charged with possession of marijuana, other drugs, or drug paraphernalia, get immediate legal help. Contact Marc Emden to schedule an appointment.

How Marc Emden can help

Marc Emden represents students in both criminal drug cases and in student disciplinary hearings. His goal is to protect the student’s future, so that a mistake like simple possession of marijuana, or unlawful possession of prescription drugs does not limit a lifetime of potential.
The criminal case and the college disciplinary hearing are separate processes. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial, the college may still choose to investigate and possibly hold a hearing. The disciplinary hearing does not require the same degree of evidence as a criminal case.
Marc Emden represents students in all Maryland criminal courts and in student administration hearings at any Maryland college, including the University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College, Anne Arundel Community College, St. John’s College, Loyola College, Capital College, and the University of Baltimore.

Federal Drug Charges

Our judicial system is divided into state and federal courts. Whether persons accused of a drug-related crimes are prosecuted in the federal or state criminal system depends on the laws violated and the policies and procedures of each court system. While millions of felony prosecutions are filed each year, only about 3% are filed in the federal system. A crime may violate both a state and a federal law, and drug charges are no exception. Theoretically, the offender could be prosecuted in both systems for the same criminal activity, but this rarely occurs. Most federal and state prosecutors assign criminal cases based on availability of resources, which law most closely fits the criminal conduct, available punishment, and policy considerations. If accused of a drug charge, it is vital you contact an attorney who understands both systems through years of experience.

Searches and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures of his or her person or property. A search may involve an inspection of the person or his or her surroundings or property. Seizure refers to taking the person or property into police custody.  Often, if a seizure is invalid, it is because the seizure was preceded by an unlawful search.

The Role of the Grand Jury

The Fifth Amendment mandates that charges for all capital and "infamous" crimes be brought by an indictment returned by a grand jury. This Amendment has been interpreted to require an indictment to charge all federal felonies, including federal drug charges, unless a defendant waives his or her right to be indicted. The Supreme Court has decided, however, that states are not bound by this. Although legal counsel for the accused and for witnesses testifying before the grand jury cannot be in the grand jury room, an experienced criminal attorney can provide advice outside of the presence of the jury, and explain the grand jury process, taking some of the mystery and fear out of this procedure.

Treatment Is Often Better than Incarceration for Drug Offenders

It costs a national average of over $20,000 per year to incarcerate someone. With about 150,000 inmates currently serving time on drug possession charges, we are spending nearly $3,000,000 each year to hold these people. Research has indicated that every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a reduction from $4 to $7 in drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft.  With such significant savings at stake, more courts are looking to drug treatment, as opposed to imprisonment, when sentencing drug offenders.  Experienced criminal attorneys can describe the treatment options available to drug offenders and push for those options rather than imprisonment.

Immigration Issues for Drug Offenses

Every year, thousands of immigrants, many of them long-time permanent residents, are placed under removal proceedings because of offenses involving drugs. Some of these offenses were minor and many may have been committed many years ago. However, there is no statute of limitation in removal proceedings. Many of these offenses are classified as "aggravated felonies" although they are neither "aggravated" nor are they "felonies". Others are classified as "crimes of moral turpitude". When representing many foreign-born persons, we are always mindful of the effect a conviction for a drug offense could have upon them.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. The police did not read me my rights; will my case be dismissed?
A.  The Police are required to read you your "Miranda Rights" only if two requirements are met. You must first be in police custody and you must be interrogated (questioned) about the crime. If the police violated your rights, your statement could be suppressed and may not be admissible against you in a trial.

Q.  I just got arrested for possession of marijuana and it is my first offense.  Will I go to jail?
A.  No, it would be extremely unlikely that you would go to jail for a first offense of this kind.

Q.  My roommate has a marijuana plant in his closet, and his ex-girlfriend called the cops.  Am I in trouble?
A.  You face a criminal charge only if you are deemed to have “possessed “this drug. If the plant was not located in any area over which you have control, then you should not have been deemed to have possessed this drug.  Remember. you always run the risk of the police charging you with a crime if you live with or keep company with individuals who are breaking the law.

Q.  If I get probation, will I have mandatory drug testing as a condition?
A.  If one of the conditions of your probation is that you refrain from using any illegal drugs, then drug testing from  6 months to up to one year is likely.

Q.  I was riding in my buddy’s car when he got pulled over.  The cops found a pipe in the car.  Can I be charged with possession of paraphernalia?
A.  If you were not aware of the presence of the pipe or it was not in an area over which you have control, then you should not be guilty of a crime.  Any time you ride in a car which contains illegal contraband, you run the risk of facing criminal charges.

Q. The cops arrested me in an area known for drug trafficking, and I had $2000 on me.  What can they charge me for that?
A. Depending upon the facts of the case, you could be charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute, or not charged with a crime at all.

Q. What will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there if I have a  lawyer?
A. You need to be present at all court dates unless you are excused from attending by the Court.  If your first court date is called an "Attorney or Preliminary Inquiry" date, then you can often avoid having to appear once your attorney files papers with the Court advising it that you have retained an attorney. 

Q. What is bail?
A. Bail money is money paid to the court to guarantee that the person arrested who is released from jail will show up for all required court appearances.

Q. How can someone post my bail?
There are several types of bail in Maryland:

  1. Cash Bail- The judge permits the person posting the bail to deposit a percentage (usually 10%) with the court. Once the case is concluded the deposit amount is refunded.
  2. Property Bail- One home or land may used to post bail provide that the person posting the bond possesses sufficient equity in the property to match the bond amount
  3. Intangible Assets- includes things like stock certificates, bank books, and certificates of deposit
  4. Bail Bondsmen- Bondsman charge a fee usually 10% of the bond set by the judge or commissioner. The fee you pay the bondsman in non refundable. 

Bonds may be posted by anyone provided they are 18 years of age or older.

Q. In which court will my case be handled?
A.  The District Court handles most cases involving motor vehicles, all misdemeanors, and some felonies.  The Circuit court hears felonies, and appeals from the District Court.

Q. What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
A. In most cases, a misdemeanor is an offense for which the maximum period of incarceration is one year.

Q. Will my case receive a trial before a judge or a jury?
A.  In Maryland, Defendants have a right to a trial by jury where the maximum period of incarceration is greater than 90 days.
Please note that these answers should not be construed as legal advice in all situations. You should speak with an attorney before making any decisions about your legal matter.  These answers are intended only to provide general information.