There are many different types of drug crimes under Maine and federal law. Depending on the seriousness of the charge, an individual may be prosecuted by the state or by the federal government. Typically if you are charged federally, you will be facing more severe potential penalties.
Before we review potential penalties, it is important to know the different types of drug crimes.
Drug paraphernalia. Basically, drug paraphernalia is any implement that may be used to take or manufacture drugs. This includes items like bongs, pipes, rolling papers, and syringes and the like. Possession of drug paraphernalia is generally a misdemeanor under Maine law. Typically, punishment for possessing drug paraphernalia is less severe than for possession of illegal drugs. Nonetheless, the statute does provide for a term of incarceration of up to one year and/or a significant fine.
Drug possession. The severity of a drug possession charge depends on the type and quantity of the illegal substance charged as an offense. For example, possession of less than 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana in Maine is not a crime but possession of more than that amount may be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount. Generally speaking, possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and similar drugs is a felony unless in a very small amounts which is misdemeanor. ( 200 milligrams or less for heroin and opioids and 2 grams or less for cocaine or cocaine base). Possession of large quantities illegal drugs gives rise to a permissible inference that the person is involved in unlawful trafficking of drugs. ThusSuch an inference is permissible if a person is in possession of more than 1 pound of marijuana or more than 14 ounces of cocaine or methamphetamine.
Furnishing drugs. A person who knowingly or intentionally furnishes an illegal drug to another may be charged with furnishing. Again, the severity of the offense depends on the type and quantity of the drug involved with cocaine, heroin and similar drugs resulting in felony charges and less serious drugs in misdemeanor offenses.
Drug trafficking. Simply stated, drug trafficking is the unlawful selling of illegal drugs and almost always results in felony charges. As with furnishing, the severity of the charge is based on the type and quantity of drug involved. A person may be charged with the more serious crime of Aggravated Trafficking if he or she has a prior conviction for a similar offense, sells drugs within 1000 feet of a school, involves someone under the age of 18, possesses a firearm or sells large quantities of an unlawful drug.
Other drug crimes in Maine. In addition to the offenses described above, there are other drug crimes in Maine such as Unlawful Cultivation of Marijuana, Unlawful Operation of Methamphetamine Lab and Illegal Importation of Unlawful Drugs. As with the other drug crimes, the severity of the charge and penalties depend the type and quantity of the drugs involved but except for a few exceptions these charges are usually felony offenses.
The foregoing reveals that drug charges in Maine are serious crimes with severe consequences particularly if the case is prosecuted federally. Often times the viability of such charges is dependent on legality of the search and seizure of the drugs involved whether as the result of the stop and search of a vehicle, the search of a home or building or the search of the person charged with the crime. It is therefore critical that one charged with drug crimes in Maine retain a lawyer with experience in handling these charges like the Law Office of Richard S. Berne.
Contact us for all of your legal needs. We will inform you of your options and advise you of the most effective way to help.!