If you are facing drug charges in Maryland, you may be considering whether to accept a plea deal. This may be one way to avoid a harsh sentence, but there may be other viable options that can avoid a conviction altogether with a strong defense.
Before pleading guilty, consider your defense options.
As FindLaw explains, just because authorities find drugs in your vicinity or in your possession does not mean that you committed a crime. There are many valid circumstances where you may still be innocent.
Officers often charge people with drug possession after misidentifying the substance or when the substance was lawfully in someone’s possession. People are also charged just because they are near drugs. Regulated pharmaceuticals are legal to use with a prescription, for example, and officers may charge you with a crime for possessing medication that a doctor prescribed and this includes marijuana.
Also, many illegal drugs resemble legal substances. Law enforcement officers frequently mistake hemp for marijuana, for instance, or baking soda for cocaine.
You may also argue that the drugs belonged to another person or that you were unaware of their existence. Oftentimes, people have constitutional defenses under the 4th Amendment that they are completely unaware. That is why it is extremely important to seek legal counsel to evaluate your case.
Even if you are guilty of the offense, you may still have recourse. If officers deceptively convinced you to commit a crime you would not otherwise commit, they may be guilty of entrapment. They may lawfully use sting operations to catch you in the act of a crime, but they may not induce you to do something illegal.
If an officer found drugs in your possession, this evidence may not be admissible in court if the officer obtained it through unlawful search and seizure. If the officer searched your vehicle or person without a warrant, without probable cause, and without your consent, you may have a good reason to ask that a court dismiss the evidence under the Fourth Amendment.