Dignity, Respect
& Justice

Prescription drug possession penalties in Maryland

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Millions of people take medications that were prescribed by their doctors every day, but many others obtain these drugs illegally because of the effects they have on the human body. Individuals who obtain prescription medications without a valid scrip can be charged with drug possession in Maryland, and even people who have valid prescriptions can find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they keep their drugs in containers that do not have a pharmacy label.

Drug schedules

State and federal laws classify controlled substances, including prescription drugs, into schedules based on their addictive properties and medical uses. A substance that is likely to cause dependence and has no known medical uses would be classified as a Schedule I drug, but a medication prescribed by a doctor would not fall into this category. Most opioid drugs are Schedule II controlled substances in Maryland, and stimulants and depressants are most often classified as Schedule III drugs.

Prescription drug penalties in Maryland

The drug laws in Maryland give judges a great deal of discretion when handing down sentences for prescription drug possession. Possession of a controlled substance is charged as a misdemeanor in Maryland. The maximum penalties are four years in prison and a fine of $25,000, but most offenders receive far more lenient sentences. Factors that can influence sentencing include the type and quantity of the drug involved, the offender’s prior criminal record and mitigating factors mentioned during the criminal defense presentation.

Prescription medication labels

Being caught in possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription is a criminal offense in Maryland that carries a prison sentence of up to four years. If you are prescribed drugs and wish to carry them on your person or in your vehicle, you should make sure that you are able to show a police officer a valid prescription. Pharmacies attach prescription medication labels when they dispense drugs, which satisfy this requirement. If you decide to keep your prescription drugs in another container, make sure that you have this label with you at all times.