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Drug Crimes

Everything you need to know when charged with a drug related offense, and how we attack the issue head on to either vindicate you or mitigate your charges

What Are the Different Drug Charges In Michigan?

Before diving into the various different drug-related charges one could face, here are some collateral consequences to keep in mind for all drug charges;

  • Driving privileges may be suspended – On conviction of certain drug offenses , the Secretary of State must suspend the client’s driving privileges for a period of 6 months or 1 year, if the client has a prior conviction within 7 years. However, a restricted license is available under certain circumstances after a specified period of suspension.
  • A conviction may render a client ineligible for public housing assistance, educational grants, student loans, or work assistance and welfare benefits, e.g., cash assistance or food stamps.
  • A client who has a professional license (e.g., a lawyer, a nurse, a doctor) may suffer restrictions on the license, loss of the license, or both.
  • A conviction for any felony prohibits the client from remaining or becoming a medical marijuana caregiver.
  • A conviction will result in the loss of voting rights and ineligibility for jury duty and, if the individual is an immigrant and not a U.S. citizen, deportation.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused possessed a controlled substance; and 
  2. The accused knew that he/she possessed a controlled substance.

Special Considerations

  • The element of quantity is established by the aggregate weight of the mixture, not by the weight of the pure controlled substance alone.
  • More than mere association must be shown to establish joint possession. ‘An additional independent factor linking the defendant with the narcotic must be shown.
  • Possession requires that the defendant was aware of the presence and character of the substance and intentionally and consciously possessed it.
  • A person’s presence, by itself, at a location where drugs are found is insufficient to prove constructive possession.
  • A defendant may be exempt from prosecution if the evidence against the defendant is derived from the defendant’s seeking medical assistance for himself or herself or for another person for an overdose or other emergency resulting from use of a controlled substance.

Penalty

  • For possession of cocaine:
    • In an amount of 1,000 grams or more of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both.
    • In an amount of 450 grams or more but less than 1,000 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • In an amount of 50 grams or more but less than 450 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.
    • In an amount of 25 grams or more but less than 50 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
    • In an amount less than 25 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • For possession of ecstasy or MDMA or methamphetamine: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $15,000, or both. 
  • For possession of a controlled substance classified in schedules 1, 2, 3, or 4: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 
  • For possession of lysergic acid diethylamide, peyote, mescaline, dimethyltryptamine, psilocyn, psilocybin, or a controlled substance classified in schedule 5: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 
  • For possession of marijuana: misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. (with the recent passing of Prop 1, this no longer applies. See new law FAQs here)

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused used a controlled substance; and 
  2. At the time he or she used it, the accused knew it was a controlled substance.

Special Considerations

  • The unlawful use of a controlled substance is rarely charged as a substantive offense. Most often, prosecutors, municipal attorneys, and defense lawyers see this offense as part of a plea bargain in which the accused pleads guilty to the use of a controlled substance in exchange for the dismissal of a different charge, e.g., possession of a controlled substance.

Penalty

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both, if the substance is a controlled substance classified in schedules 1 or 2 as a narcotic drug or ecstasy/MDMA,  cocaine, or methamphetamine

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, if the substance is a controlled substance classified in schedules 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine of not more than $500, or both, for lysergic acid diethylamide, peyote, mescaline, dimethyltryptamine, psilocyn, psilocybin, or a controlled substance classified in schedule 5.

Misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than $100, or both, for marijuana, catha edulis, or salvia divinorum

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused possessed a controlled substance;
  2. The accused knew he or she possessed a controlled substance; and
  3. The accused intended to deliver the controlled substance to someone else.

Special Considerations

  • For the offense of possession with intent to deliver, the possession must be coupled with a specific intent to deliver.
  • While the prosecution will attempt to argue that the totality of the circumstances demonstrates an intent to deliver, evidence of personal consumption along with other evidence of the accused’s habit for using drugs may help cast doubt on the state’s case.

Penalty

  • For substances classified in schedules 1 or 2 that is a narcotic drug or a drug described in MCL 333.7214(a)(iv):
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 1,000 grams or more of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 450 grams or more but less than 1,000 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 50 grams or more but less than 450 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount less than 50 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Substance described in MCL 333.7212(1)(h) or .7214(c)(ii): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Any other controlled substance classified in schedules 1, 2, or 3, except marijuana or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 4: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 
  • For marijuana, a mixture containing marijuana, or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d):
    • For amount of 45 kilograms or more, or 200 plants or more: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, or both.
    • For amount of 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms, or 20 plants or more but fewer than 200 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • For amount less than 5 kilograms or fewer than 20 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 5: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 

A term of imprisonment imposed under this statute may be imposed to run consecutively with any term of imprisonment imposed for the commission of another felony. 

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused delivered or attempted to deliver a controlled substance; and 
  2. The accused knew that he or she delivered or attempted to deliver a controlled substance.

Special Considerations

  • Delivery does not necessarily imply an exchange of money or goods, as does sale. It is defined as “the actual, constructive, or attempted transfer from 1 person to another of a controlled substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.”
  • It is the element of transfer that distinguishes delivery from possession. However, a trial court can convict a defendant of both possession and delivery based on a single event.

Penalty

  • For substances classified in schedules 1 or 2 that is a narcotic drug or a drug described in MCL 333.7214(a)(iv):
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 1,000 grams or more of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 450 grams or more but less than 1,000 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 50 grams or more but less than 450 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount less than 50 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Substance described in MCL 333.7212(1)(h) or .7214(c)(ii): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Any other controlled substance classified in schedules 1, 2, or 3, except marijuana or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 4: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 
  • For marijuana, a mixture containing marijuana, or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d):
    • For amount of 45 kilograms or more, or 200 plants or more: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, or both.
    • For amount of 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms, or 20 plants or more but fewer than 200 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • For amount less than 5 kilograms or fewer than 20 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 5: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 

A term of imprisonment imposed under this statute may be imposed to run consecutively with any term of imprisonment imposed for the commission of another felony. 

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused delivered or caused to be delivered a controlled substance or gamma-butyrolactone;
  2. The accused knew he/she was delivering or causing  to be delivered a controlled substance or gamma-butyrolactone; 
  3. The complainant did not consent to this delivery; and 
  4. When the accused delivered the substance or caused it to be delivered to complainant, the accused intended to commit an act of criminal sexual penetration or sexual contact against complainant or intended to attempt an act of criminal sexual penetration or contact against complainant, or intended to assault complainant with the intent to sexually penetrate or have sexual contact with him or her.

Special Considerations

  • “Delivery” means that the defendant intentionally transferred or attempted to transfer the substance to another person, or caused that substance to be delivered to another person.

Penalty

Felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused delivered a controlled substance to another person;
  2. The accused knew that he or she was delivering a controlled substance;
  3. The controlled substance was consumed by the other person; and 
  4. Consuming the controlled substance caused the victim’s death.

Special Considerations

  • To sustain a case, the prosecution must establish both a link between the drugs consumed by the deceased and his or her death and a link between those drugs and the accused. Typically, the prosecution will rely on circumstantial evidence to connect the accused’s alleged delivery to the death of the deceased.
  • Because the decedent is typically an addict, he or she may have had more than one source or supplier of drugs. Accordingly, we will  investigate other possible sources of drugs to argue that the accused was not the cause of the decedent’s death and instead that another person was responsible.
  • We become extremely familiar with the medical and toxicological evidence to be sure there was not an intervening or superseding cause of death, which can make all the difference at trial.

Penalty

Felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years.

To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused manufactured a controlled substance;
  2. The accused knew that he or she was manufacturing a controlled substance;
  3. The accused was not legally authorized to manufacture this substance; and 
  4. The accused was not preparing or compounding this substance for his or her own use.

Special Considerations

  • To convert powdered cocaine into free base or crack cocaine is to “manufacture” cocaine for purposes of this statute.
  • While knowledge of the nature of the substance may be required, knowledge of the quantity of the substance is not an essential element of the offense.
  • We conduct our own discovery-gathering process to learn as much as possible about the conduct of the police, the location of evidence found, the lack of evidence found, the connection of the evidence to the accused, and any other facts and circumstances that may help neutralize incriminating evidence or place it in a different light.
  • By challenging how the police seized evidence or searched the accused or location and discovered evidence of illegal manufacture, we may be able to force the suppression or exclusion of some, if not all, of the evidence in the case.

Penalty

  • For substances classified in schedules 1 or 2 that is a narcotic drug or a drug described in MCL 333.7214(a)(iv):
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 1,000 grams or more of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years, a fine of not more than $1,000,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 450 grams or more but less than 1,000 grams of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount of 50 grams or more but less than 450 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.
    • Controlled substance in an amount less than 50 grams, of any mixture containing that substance: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Substance described in MCL 333.7212(1)(h) or .7214(c)(ii): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.
  • Any other controlled substance classified in schedules 1, 2, or 3, except marijuana or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d): felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 4: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 
  • For marijuana, a mixture containing marijuana, or a substance listed in MCL 333.7212(1)(d):
    • For amount of 45 kilograms or more, or 200 plants or more: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, or both.
    • For amount of 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms, or 20 plants or more but fewer than 200 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years, a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
    • For amount less than 5 kilograms or fewer than 20 plants: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.
  • For substances classified in schedule 5: felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both. 

A term of imprisonment imposed under this statute may be imposed to run consecutively with any term of imprisonment imposed for the commission of another felony. 

What will we do as your Defense Attorney?

These are very serious charges that require an aggressive defense in which all of the facts of the case are thoroughly reviewed. We listen carefully to what our clients tell us in order to both put together a strong defense and mitigate sentencing. We do this in several ways.

First, we never take for granted that the police report is an accurate representation of the incident in question. These reports are usually very biased towards convicting the accused, and are therefore often filled with inconsistencies. We use our client’s testimony, research, private investigators, and crime scene visits to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and ultimately, prove your innocence or argue that the facts are so that a lenient sentence is appropriate. We always visit the scene of the crime. It’s the only way to learn details showing that the police investigation was flawed or that the prosecution’s eyewitness could not have seen what he or she claims.

The strongest defenses for possession are that the accused did not have actual or constructive possession, unlawful search & seizure, or the accused was a victim of entrapment. We will use all of the facts in your case to lobby for either dropping the charges or reducing the charge to a lesser offense. Namely, we will challenge the witness’s credibility (such as the witness’s ability to see clearly and whether the witness has any special reason to lie) which will be critical to attempting to undermine the witness’s claimed observation of actual possession. 

We will attempt to highlight the facts and circumstances that do not connect the accused and the drugs. For example, when the police pulled behind a vehicle and the accused did not reach or gesture toward the area where drugs were eventually found, we will  argue that the absence of furtive gestures undermines a claim that the accused possessed the drugs.

Often times an informant’s testimony is key to establishing the element of possession, so we will use the gathered facts to undermine the informant’s believability.

A search & seizure is almost always involved in these cases so we will look closely for any Fourth Amendment issues.

Squad car videos from a traffic stop in which the police claim to have found drugs may prove particularly helpful in establishing that the drugs were not in a place accessible to or known by the accused. Police often do not preserve these, so we demand them through FOIA requests.

In Michigan, entrapment is analyzed according to a two-pronged test, with entrapment existing if either prong is met. The court must consider whether (1) the police engaged in impermissible conduct that would induce a law-abiding person to commit a crime in similar circumstances, or (2) the police engaged in conduct so reprehensible that it cannot be tolerated. We will gather and dissect all of the evidence to decide if entrapment was likely.

If the accused is between the ages of 17 and 24 they may be eligible to qualify for a sentence under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA). This Act allows the client to plead guilty, but have the offense dismissed by the court if he or she satisfies the terms set by the court. HYTA does not apply to any felony where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment (such as First Degree Arson). With that said, we always try to plea down to a non–life offense such as simple Second Degree Arson, so that HYTA is available. 

Convincing the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a Use should always be on the table.  Mitigating factors that we look out for are things like the lack of a criminal record or good public reputation of the accused. Also important is to show that the accused is seeking treatment at NA or taking other steps to kick their bad habit.  In other words the punishment must fit the crime or we will not stand for it. 

Under MCL 333.7411, an individual who has not been previously convicted of a narcotics offense and either pleads guilty or is found guilty (no contest pleas are not permitted under this statute) of certain narcotics offenses may have the court defer adjudication of the matter and place the accused on probation without entering a conviction. On successful completion of probation and a sentence, the court must discharge and dismiss the accused’s matter without a conviction. We always consider this as a viable option.

Schedule a free consultation!

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Why work with us?

  • Tenacious representation for an AFFORDABLE PRICE!
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  • Educated on Modern Issues & Laws!

Email: kerrylawpllc@gmail.com

Tel: (734) 263-1193

Address: 214 S. Main St. Ste 200
                 Ann Arbor MI, 48104
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