Harford County Criminal Defense: How will the October 1 Marijuana decriminalization effect Harford County

April 16, 2014 No Comments by KurtNachtman

As your Harford County Criminal Defense lawyer, it is always important to keep up with changes in the law.  Earlier this month, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana (less than 10g).  This will become effective on October 1, 2014.  The important question to all Harford County Criminal Defense practitioners, is what will the local law enforcement do with this major shift in the law.

Unfortunately, I predict few changes to law enforcement strategy, particularly in Harford County, which is notoriously the toughest jurisdiction on crime in the State.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Police officers will not be able to tell if Marijuana is more or less than 10 grams.  If it is more, the offense is still a crime with a penalty of 1 year in jail and a $2500 fine.
  2. Police officers will still be looking to stop vehicles where people have recently smoked marijuana based upon “plain smell.”
  3. Based upon that plain smell, and knowing that if more than 10 grams is found, officers will still search vehicles.
  4. In California, where a similar law exists, this was permitted by courts.  In Mass., the courts decided this type of search was illegal.  The searches will continue until appeals courts decide one way or another.
  5. Pending cases will still be prosecuted fully based upon the Harford County prosecutor’s “no drop” policy where cases cannot be dismissed, except by a judge.
  6. If you are on probation, marijuana use could be a violation of probation if so ordered by the probation judge.

In fact, if  you review this Baltimore Sun article, police officers are already saying nothing will change!

Harford County Criminal Defense: Bottom Line

Harford County is still the same place.  It is and will continue to be the toughest jurisdiction in the State on crime and if you find yourself charged with any type of Harford County Crime, you absolutely need an attorney who knows the courts and the system to protect your rights.  Contact us for a free consultation in our Bel Air office!