Drug Analysis/Drug Report in Maryland Possession Case

In a possession of marijuana, cocaine, or any drug case, there lies a fundamental but often overlooked question at the heart of the case–is the substance alleged to be a drug actually in fact that drug? Is that baggie of green leafy substance really marijuana? If so, how does the prosecutor prove that it is?

If you have been arrested or issued a criminal citation for possessing an illegal drug in Maryland, you probably saw, heard, or read in the statement of probable cause that the police officer “field tested” the drugs and that the field test came up “positive.” What that means is that the officer conducted a pseudo-scientific test at the scene giving the officer probable cause to make the arrest or issue the citation. What that does not mean is that, on the field test alone, the prosecutor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance are in fact drugs! Why not? The short answer is that the field test itself is NOT admissible as evidence.

If a proper and timely demand is made, the State’s Attorney must produce a scientific drug analysis conducted by a chemist. As an attorney who routinely handles these types of cases, I file an immediate demand for a drug report/drug analysis completed by a qualified chemist. If this demand is not done or is not done the right way, the Court may find that the defendant waived that right and that they will accept the officer’s testimony as to the identity of the alleged drugs.

What happens if your defense attorney demanded the chemical drug report timely prior to court, and your court date arrives and the drugs have not been analyzed? I can say from experience that your case is now in much better shape that it would have been without that drug report demand. There’s a good chance that the charges will be dropped. At the very least you have a better bargaining position and a chance for a more favorable outcome. In some jurisdictions the Court will give the State’s Attorney a certain period of time to comply with the defense attorney’s request for a drug report–for example, in Prince George’s County right now most of the judges will grant a postponement request by the prosecution if it has been fewer than 90 days since the arrest/citation. But regardless, the State can’t prove what you possessed is in fact drugs if your defense attorney made a demand for the drug report and that report is not prepared.

I have won countless drug cases by getting the charges dropped, including many where there was not much of a defense, just on the simple diligence of timely properly demanding that the State’s Attorney produce the chemical drug analysis. Sometimes this is your best shot to win a case. Other times you may have a solid defense, but this still has the potential to win a case without even going to trial. Be sure to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who routinely handles drug cases, and knows all the angles to get you the best result. If you are facing a possession charge or possession with intent to distribute, contact attorney Chris Peretti at 301-875-3472 for a free consultation.

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