We have many clients who come to us completely frustrated. They get pulled over, or get pulled over while driving in another person’s car, and get in trouble for either guns or drugs that are not even theirs. Maryland prosecutors are very aggressive in charging everyone in the car. Many times, there is little effort spent by the authorities to determine who actually the drugs belong to.
What is even more disturbing is that if the person in your car has enough drugs on them, or in their car, you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute. This charge is far more serious and carries a much larger potential prison term than “simple” possession for personal use. Many times you cannot fight the amount. However, you have a right to show the jury in your defense that you did not possess the drugs. It isn’t enough to show the amount, they have to show that you had an intent to possess the drugs in Maryland.
We have defended many clients against these types of charges and they are incredibly challenging due to the publicity regarding drug deaths and the epidemic of heroin and fentanyl.
When a jury is instructed about possession, they can consider how close you are in the car to the drugs, but they have to also consider other things that your attorney MUST highlight to the jury. The jury instructions reads as follows:
A person not in actual possession, who has both the power and the intention to exercise control over something, either personally or through another person, has indirect possession. In determining whether the defendant had indirect possession of the substance, consider all of the surrounding circumstances. These circumstances include the distance between the defendant and the substance, whether the defendant had some ownership or possessory interest in the [place] [vehicle] where the substance was found, and any indications that the defendant was participating, alone or with others in the use and enjoyment of the substance.
A skilled attorney can point to your behavior to show that you lacked the intent to exercise dominion over the drugs. It may be that you don’t own the vehicle, or there is no text or phone calls indicating you are in the drug trade, or that it was dark outside and the drugs were not visible to you.
Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver in Maryland is very easy to charge by the prosecutors. As long as you are in the car, or even house sometimes, the prosecutor can usually get an indictment. If you have such charges pending against you, and you would like a free consultation, feel free to email Justin Eisele at justin.eisele at seddiqlaw.com or call at 301.513.7832.