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Cases involving fentanyl might move to the federal court system

The fentanyl crisis is one that can't be ignored. People frequently die because of this synthetic opioid. In fact, this drug is the cause of skyrocketing overdose deaths in Maryland from 2016 to 2017. It is also thought to be the driving force behind the sharp uptick that is projected from last year to now.

In 2016, there were 1,119 overdose deaths in our state. That number rose to 1,594 in 2017. It is expected to top 2,000 by the end of this year. This unprecedented rise is why Maryland prosecutors are pushing more fentanyl cases to be tried in federal court.

In Baltimore, an effort is underway to have all arrests related to fentanyl reviewed by city, state and national authorities. Cases that can be bumped up to the federal system will be tried there. The intent behind this is that people will think about the very harsh penalties that they could receive upon conviction in the federal court system.

The sentences defendants face in federal court are severe. Longer terms of incarceration, no possibility of parole and no option for suspended sentences mean that people convicted of these drug charges will have to serve the entire sentence they are given. Another consideration for defendants in these cases is that there isn't a guarantee that you will be housed in a prison close to home.

For people who are being arrested for cases involving fentanyl, considering the possibility of federal charges means that they need to think about their options carefully. You can't ignore these charges and hope they disappear. Instead, get to work on your defense right away.

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