You could face charges for possession of either drugs or drug paraphernalia in Maryland. Drug paraphernalia are items that you use to take a drug, such as bongs, needles and pipes. Items that store drugs also count as paraphernalia.
In Maryland, drug paraphernalia is usually a fine-only offense. However, you may face additional penalties for other drug crimes like drug possession and drug trafficking. It depends on the details of your case and how much of an illegal substance was in your possession. Regular paraphernalia charges could come with a fine of up to $500. A paraphernalia sentence in connection with drugs related to that item has a higher potential fine of up to $25,000. You could also face up to four years in prison.
Possession of controlled paraphernalia
There is a specific type of paraphernalia charge in Maryland that’s called possession of controlled paraphernalia. This means that you were carrying syringes, needles, injectors or capsules.
Type of drug
In most cases, law enforcement finds a type of drug in addition to the paraphernalia. The type of drug influences how the court evaluates whether an item is paraphernalia. Pipes and papers often indicate marijuana use, so they tend to have lesser penalties than needles and syringes that people use for more illicit substances.
Law enforcement may search you or your vehicle if they have probable cause to search. If they smell marijuana or another drug on you, then this gives them probable cause. You have the right to stay silent, however, while they search. The law doesn’t require that you inform them of whether you have drugs hidden somewhere.
Drug paraphernalia is illegal to have if you use it for illegal drugs. You probably won’t have to go to jail for this charge alone, as long as it was only marijuana-type paraphernalia.