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Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS)

A Controlled Dangerous Substance is an illegal drug. The most commonly known are marijuana, cocaine and heroin, although many other drugs are illegal or restricted to use with a doctor’s prescription.


Possession of CDS is the knowing exercise of control or dominion over the illicit substance in question. This is most common when drugs are found on a defendant’s person, but a defendant may also be in constructive possession if the illegal drugs are nearby, in plain view, in the defendant’s home or car, and so on. This is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 4 years or a $25,000 fine, or both. If the offense concerns only marijuana, it is punishable by imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine of up to $1000, or both. Less than 10 grams of marijuana provokes a civil penalty.


Distribution of CDS is the transfer of CDS from one person to another. Money does not have to change hands, nor does the defendant have to be a regular drug dealer, to be convicted of this crime. Possession of a large enough quantity of CDS to indicate intention to distribute is also sufficient for conviction. This is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years or a fine of up to $15,000, or both. If the illegal drugs involved are narcotics, it is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years or a fine up to $25,000, or both.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia is anything used to create, process, package, or use CDS. Many otherwise innocent items can be become criminal in certain context, such as kitchen scales, razor blades, plastic baggies, and so on. The court will consider the presence of CDS nearby, any residue on the items, and other related factors to decide if the items are drug paraphernalia. This is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 for a first offense, and imprisonment up to 2 years and a fine of up to $2000 for subsequent offenses.

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