Recently, a 23-year-old temporary custodian at a Charles County school was charged with dealing drugs to students on campus after hours. A school resource officer informed police that the suspect could be involved in illegal activity. Later that evening, police dogs signaled the presence of drugs in the suspect’s car that was parked on campus.
Law enforcement personnel found marijuana worth about $500, a scale and money in the vehicle during a search. The defendant faces three drug charges.
Selling drugs is a serious offense in the state of Maryland. However, the state further enhances penalties for those who deal drugs near or on school property even if classes were not in session. For a first offense, the offender will typically be subject to a felony penalty and could receive a prison sentence ranging from five to 20 years with fines up to $20,000. The minimum prison sentence is usually mandatory, and the person may not be eligible for parole during those five years. In addition, if the defendant is found guilty of selling drugs, he or she must serve the sentence consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
A criminal defense attorney can fight for the rights of clients, especially when they face mandatory penalties with serious consequences. A lawyer will attempt to find ways to reduce charges for those they represent. The attorney will look out for the best interests of the client, including the protections afforded to people by the Constitution related to search and seizure. If the authorities do not follow proper procedures during an arrest, the lawyer may be able to persuade the courts to drop charges or dismiss the case.
Source: 4 NBC Washington, “Custodian Accused of Selling Drugs on School Grounds in Maryland,” Jan. 11, 2013