When does drug possession become a felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Facing drug charges of any severity can fill you with dread and uncertainty. If the charges against you escalate to that of a felony offense, the consequences you might face can affect you for the rest of your life.

The Maryland legal code on dangerous substances outlines when drug possession is a felony. By understanding the circumstances that can heighten the charges you face, you can build the best defense for your case.

Intent to distribute

Distributing, intending to distribute or keeping controlled substances in common areas where others may access them are felony offenses. Similarly, possessing equipment with which you might produce controlled substances is also a felony. Possession of such equipment can facilitate the reasonable assumption that you have the intent to sell or distribute the substances you are able to manufacture.


Drug possession also escalates to a felony if you are guilty of counterfeit behavior. This includes altering labels on a container to indicate that the substance comes from a different distributor or manufacturer, as well as falsifying prescriptions.

Possession of dangerous drugs

Drug possession that might otherwise be a misdemeanor offense escalates to a felony when the substances in question are particularly dangerous. This specifically includes narcotic drugs and hallucinogenic substances.

It is worth noting that repeat drug offenses are likely to result in harsher penalties and that a misdemeanor offense can even escalate to a felony if you have prior misdemeanor convictions on your record. However, you have the right to seek legal advocacy that can help you build the best defense possible toward lessening the charges against you.

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