Information about Maryland marijuana possession
June 15, 2011 3:07 PM   Subscribe

My friend was pulled over in Maryland last weekend for I believe speeding and was ultimately charged with both possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. Can you provide guidance as to what this friend might expect?

My friend was pulled over in Maryland last weekend for I believe speeding and was ultimately charged with both possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. I said they need to obtain a local criminal defense attorney, but that I would look into it / speak to some friends whom I know have already dealt with this type of charge in MD (expect to do so later tonight)...

Ultimately I am going to try to find my friend an appropriate local defense attorney after speaking with some people (but I am certainly open to recommendations from the hive - feel free to memail me). However, at this point I am really just looking for information on the process in Maryland (I would like to be able to reassure my friend but I cannot find anything of particular value via google - everything is just criminal defense advertisements).

Maryland seems pretty strict which is a bit concerning at this point. My friend is not a MD resident and thus will also be concerned about the process itself (how often will this person need to plan on having to travel to MD to take care of this)... Does anyone have any experience with these types of charges in MD? My friend does not have a criminal record - any idea on chances of keeping it that way? (I realize I have not provided any specifics, but I do not have them)...

I understand that none of the responses are intended to be legal advice. Just looking for general information (or a point in the right direction) so that I can familiarize myself with what this person can expect to go through and provide some guidance.
posted by lulz to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need to have your friend talk this over with a barred attorney experienced in criminal matters in Maryland. I am a Maryland attorney, but I am not your friends attorney, nor your attorney. I do know several criminal practitioners in Maryland--please check your MeMail.

Your friend should not discuss the particulars of the matter with you, or anyone else, or you could be interviewed by the police. The information he told you could be used by the police.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:40 PM on June 15, 2011

I am an attorney, but I am not your or your friend's attorney. This is absolutely not legal advice. I will emphasize that your friend absolutely should hire a competent attorney with criminal law experience to represent him or her.

I can't offer you anything specific to Maryland, but I can give a little advice about selecting an attorney. First: your friend needs to stop talking about this with anyone except attorneys. It's okay for your friend to give information to attorneys who may potentially represent him or her (NB: after they ask for it). Even if he or she doesn't hire them, those conversations are still confidential. His or her conversations with you and your friends who have dealt with these kinds of charges are not. As a result, your friend really needs to do the calling around himself or herself. He or she is the client here, not you, and the attorneys are not going to want to talk to you about the facts of the case.

Second, your friend should look local. If possible, your friend needs to know who the arresting officer works for (e.g. city, county, or state) and what court the case will be heard at. Your friend will probably want someone who knows the prosecuting attorney and judge that will be handling the case. Experience counts for a lot in criminal cases; they almost all end with plea bargains, so knowing how low a plea can go with a particular prosecutor is important.

Third, your friend should shop around until they find someone they are comfortable with. Things to look for: being upfront about fees, responding promptly to inquiries, and being upfront about who will actually be handling your friend's case (it may not be the person your friend talks to on the phone or even at the initial consultation). Your friend should make sure they are comfortable with the person actually handling the case, not just whoever they talk to at the firm first.
posted by jedicus at 3:48 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might look at the MCDAA (Maryland Criminal Attorneys Association) website if you'd like to search for an attorney.
posted by mrs. taters at 10:40 AM on June 16, 2011

*Criminal DEFENSE Attorneys Association, sorry, I knew that looked off
posted by mrs. taters at 10:40 AM on June 16, 2011

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