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Riverdale Attorney Fights for Clients Under New Maryland Drug Laws

Elimination of mandatory minimums gives some defendants a second chance

Harsh punishments for drug-related offenses have created numerous problems for individuals in Maryland as well as trouble for the state’s criminal justice system. But a strong, experienced defense lawyer can help clients take advantage of recent legal reforms and press for a result that truly reflects justice. At the Law Office of Keith A. Showstack, P.C. in Riverdale, I fight on behalf of Maryland clients who are accused of drug-related offenses and other charges. With 15 years of legal experience, I know how to challenge law enforcement authorities and make full use of new laws such as the 2017 Justice Reinvestment Act, which ended mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug offenders. Whether you need a tough trial advocate or someone to negotiate for a favorable plea agreement, I have the skill and determination to protect your rights.

Dedicated defense lawyer assists people facing controlled substance charges

Though some changes have made drug-crime sentencing more reasonable, tough sanctions still exist for these charges under Title 5 of the Maryland Criminal Law, including:

  • Marijuana possession — Possession of 10 grams or fewer of marijuana is a civil offense, punishable by a fine. However, larger amounts trigger misdemeanor or felony charges, starting with a six-month jail term.
  • Possession of other drugs — Holding crack, heroin, cocaine, fentanyl or any other non-marijuana controlled substances can lead to a one-year misdemeanor sentence for a first conviction, and tougher punishments for multiple offenders.
  • Distribution or possession with intent to distribute — A first offense for marijuana distribution or possession with the intent to distribute carries a maximum penalty of five years’ incarceration and a $15,000 fine. For other illegal drugs, the first-time offender maximum rises to 20 years.
  • Drug kingpin — Someone who qualifies for treatment as a drug kingpin under state law by organizing, supervising, financing or managing the sales of controlled substances is subject to a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
  • Common nuisance charges — When a vehicle, home or another type of structure is used to store, manufacture or sell drugs, it is classified as a common nuisance. The person who controls a property used as a common nuisance can face up to 20 years in prison.

Eliminating mandatory minimums should reduce the unfairness of a system where people feel compelled to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Still, prosecutors try to pressure defendants into giving up their rights. Before you attempt to work things out on your own, it’s best to gain the perspective of a qualified drug crime defense lawyer. My firm offers a free initial consultation to make things easier.

Tough advocate works to prevent the adverse effects of a drug conviction

The negative effects of a controlled substance conviction go beyond incarceration. Even a minor drug crime can prevent you from getting the job or home that you want. Information goes online quickly and often can’t be erased, no matter how your life has changed. It can be easy to feel intimidated when you’re looking at a potentially heavy sentence, but I can often identify problems within the police process that can help exclude evidence and possibly lead to a dismissal or acquittal that keeps your record clean. When possible, my firm also helps clients pursue diversion or substance abuse treatment as alternatives to incarceration.

Contact a proven Maryland criminal defense attorney for a free consultation

The Law Office of Keith A. Showstack, P.C. represents Maryland clients in drug crime prosecutions and a full range of criminal defense matters. Please call 301-209-0055 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation at my office in Riverdale.