All drug crimes are considered serious and may involve harsh penalties, but possession with intent to distribute is regarded with special animus by the justice system since by definition it involves more widespread distribution of illegal substances. Drug trafficking refers to cultivating, manufacturing, importing, dispensing, distributing or selling prohibited drugs whether on a large scale or even selling some extra pain pills to a friend. According to the Department of Justice, drug trafficking accounts for almost one-fifth of all drug-related arrests. You may be accused of drug trafficking if you are found to possess large quantities of illegal substances and paraphernalia to facilitate production, growth, and transport of such drugs. You may even be charged with intent to distribute if you are found with a small amount, but also have “evidence” of distribution, such as a scale, small baggies, large amounts of cash, etc.
If you have been arrested for Possession With Intent to Distribute (PWID), or actual Distribution in Maryland, you are probably overwhelmed by thoughts of the possible consequences of a conviction. Why not give yourself the advantage of consulting with an accomplished criminal defense attorney? As the lead attorney of the Law Offices of Asher Weinberg, located in Silver Spring, I have a decade of successful experience defending clients in Montgomery, Prince George, Howard, and Anne Arundel Counties. I make it a priority to give each of my clients responsive, individualized attention. When you come to me, you can trust me to presume your innocence and to treat you with compassion and respect.
Schedules of Controlled Substances
Drug trafficking may be prosecuted under state or federal statutes, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. The government classifies controlled substances according to “schedules” (categories) determined by their potential for medical use as well as by their tendency to become addictive. Illegal substances range from Schedule I drugs like opioids, heroin, and LSD to Schedule II drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl, all the way to Schedule V drugs like cough syrup with codeine. Both the type and quantity of drug you possess will affect your charges and your sentence if you are convicted of drug trafficking.
The Controversy Surrounding Convictions for Drug Trafficking
While drug trafficking laws have been designed to capture kingpins of the drug industry and weaken drug cartels, the fact is that these laws often result in incarceration for middle or lower level dealers who may be sentenced to longer sentences than violent criminals, while the “big bosses” of the industry remain free.
Proving Drug Trafficking
In order to prove a charge of drug trafficking against you, the prosecution must be able to demonstrate that you were:
- Knowingly in possession of illegal controlled substances
- Involved in the sale, transport, or importation of such drugs or had the intention to sell or deliver them
The second element elevates the crime from “possession” to “distribution” and makes it a felony, heightening your risk of receiving a harsher punishment if convicted. In addition to possessing a quantity of drugs beyond an amount intended for personal use, other criteria that may be used as evidence of trafficking. These include the presence of drug paraphernalia such as scales, pipes, bongs, syringes, plastic baggies, or records of sales and purchases. Most often, drug traffickers also possess a large quantity of cash. In making their case against you, prosecutors are also likely to seek witnesses who claim to have bought drugs from or sold drugs to you. The contents of your cell phone or social media accounts often contain evidence of distribution.
Penalties for Drug Trafficking
As noted, the penalties for drug trafficking are harsh. Punishments for trafficking in Schedule I or II illegal substances are as follows:
- Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 for trafficking heroin, cocaine, etc.
- Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000 for trafficking in LSD, PCP, and other hallucinogens
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000 for Schedule III, IV, or V drugs
Important Knowledge About Marijuana
While medical marijuana is now legal in Maryland and possessing small quantities of the drug are not generally prosecuted, possession of large amounts of marijuana still carries harsh penalties and violates federal as well as state law. Under the law, marijuana is designated a Schedule I drug.
Contact Our Silver Spring Drug Trafficking Attorney
It is always a mistake to take a drug charge of any kind lightly. Come to the Law Office of Asher Weinberg to discuss your case as soon as you can. Once I hear the details of your case, I will create a strong strategy to defend you. I have extensive experience and skillful litigation tactics to protect you. Beyond that, I have the determination to work intensively to preserve your freedom. Defenses I may use include  lack of knowledge that there were drugs in your possession  duress — you were being threatened or intimidated to commit this crime  mistake of fact — you thought the substance was something else, not an illegal drug  you were riding in someone else’s car and unaware that the vehicle housed illegal drugs.
Once I investigate your case thoroughly, I will find the best way to win you a dismissal or an acquittal. If the evidence against you is airtight, I will be honest with you about your chances and talk to you about negotiating a plea to a lesser crime with lighter penalties. Call me or contact me through my website. I am your side. I will work hard and never stop fighting for your rights.
The Law Offices of Asher Weinberg is located in Silver Spring and provides drug trafficking defense throughout Maryland including Montgomery County, Prince George County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County.