Detroit Drug Possession Lawyer
When you are suspected of possessing a controlled substance in Michigan, that’s a very serious legal matter. Most possession charges in Michigan are felony offenses that can have lasting consequences, depending on the type of drug and the amount you are alleged to have possessed.
Michigan Possession Charges
A conviction for possession of a controlled substance can be punished with years, decades, or even life in prison, and huge fines of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars — up to $1 million. Other consequences of a conviction that may negatively impact your life include:
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- A permanent criminal record as a drug offender
- Loss of your job or denial of employment
- Denial of rental housing
- Loss or revocation of a license to practice a profession, meaning you can’t work as a teacher, lawyer, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or another licensed professional
- Loss of eligibility for federal financial aid to pay for college
- Denial or revocation of an immigration visa, green card, or citizenship application, and possible deportation if you’re not a U.S. citizen
If you or a family member has been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Michigan, it’s vital that you get help from an experienced drug attorney. A good Detroit drug possession lawyer can fight for you even before you ever get charged. If you know you’re under investigation, a lawyer can help you when you’re being questioned by police or when they want to search your property for evidence.
An experienced Michigan drug lawyer might be able to help you avoid getting charged, or if you are charged your lawyer can aggressively represent you in court and work to get your case dismissed or to convince a court to treat you with leniency to lessen the impacts of a conviction.
Penalties for a Drug Possession Conviction
When you’re convicted of drug possession in Michigan, the sentence can be quite harsh. Penalties are based on the type of drug, and in the case of narcotics on the amount of the drug you were alleged to have possessed. The larger the amount, the more severe the potential prison sentence and fines.
Under Section 333.7403 of the Michigan Public Health Code, the penalties for a drug possession conviction include:
- LSD, Peyote, Mescaline, DMT, Psilocin, Psilocybin or Schedule 5 drugs — This is a misdemeanor, and you may be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail and ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000.
- Schedule 1, 2, 3, or 4 drugs other than narcotics or cocaine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000.
- Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Ecstasy, MDMA or Methamphetamine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $15,000.
- Less than 25 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $25,000.
- 25 to 50 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $25,000.
- 50 to 450 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
- 450 to 1,000 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — This is felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $500,000.
- 1,000 grams or more of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — This is a felony offense, and you may be sentenced to up to life in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $1 million.
However, a recent Michigan Supreme Court case gives judges the authority to set “reasonable” sentences and penalties in criminal cases. A judge’s decision might vary from the penalties written into law by the Michigan State Legislature. A Michigan criminal defense lawyer can explain the possible outcomes you might face based on the circumstances of your charge.
Effects on Your Driver’s License
When you’re convicted of a drug offense in Michigan, it’s a requirement that your driver’s license be suspended. The duration of your suspension depends on whether you have any prior drug convictions. While your driver’s license is suspended, you’re not allowed to drive and if you get caught you may face fresh criminal charges and additional consequences for driving under suspension.
Driver’s license suspensions for Michigan drug convictions include:
- First conviction — Your license will be suspended for 6 months. You may be able to get a restricted license after 30 days.
- Second or Subsequent Conviction in 7 Years — Your license will be suspended for 1 year. You may be able to get a restricted license after 60 days.
Alternative Sentencing Programs
Depending on the nature of your drug possession charge, you may be able to qualify for an alternative sentencing program that allows you to avoid going to jail or reduce the amount of time you have to spend in jail. This is more likely to be successful if you’re charged with misdemeanor drug possession, or for possessing a relatively small quantity of the alleged controlled substance.
Sentencing alternatives in Michigan may include:
- Probation in lieu of jail, or probation plus a reduced jail sentence
An order to complete substance abuse treatment
- A one-time deferment of your sentencing that allows you to keep the drug possession charge off of your permanent record if you have no prior convictions and meet conditions imposed by the court
- A delay of your sentencing that may allow you to avoid jail if you meet conditions imposed by the court, but leaves the charge on your criminal record
Defending Your Michigan Possession Charges
Because a drug possession charge can be so serious in Michigan, it’s important to your future that you have the right criminal defense lawyer by your side when you go through the process of being investigated by law enforcement, or when you’re charged and must appear in court. Your best chance at securing an acquittal, or a reduction in your charge or penalties, will be with the help of an experienced drug attorney who knows the details of Michigan drug possession laws.
With the help of a good defense lawyer, and depending on the circumstances of your case, you may stand a good chance at getting your charge dismissed or being allowed to go through an alternative sentencing program — which could mean avoiding a lengthy jail or prison sentence.
Drug cases often are based on evidence obtained through searches, and so it’s important to hire a defense lawyer with thorough knowledge of your constitutional rights and what to do when your rights have been violated by the police. Strategies your lawyer might use on your behalf include:
- Arguing that a search warrant was invalid
- Arguing that a search conducted without a warrant was invalid
- Arguing that surveillance or wiretapping was done illegally
- Arguing that investigators had no probable cause to search you or your property, or to arrest you
- Arguing that you were improperly arrested or not administered your Miranda rights
In a drug possession case, your lawyer also might challenge the basis of the prosecutor’s claim that you possessed a controlled substance. Whether you were in possession often is not straightforward, especially when the prosecutor argues possession based on a controlled substance being found in your apartment or your car or somewhere other than on your actual person.
A Detroit drug possession lawyer, such those at Davis Law Group PLLC, can explain what options might be available for fighting your drug possession charge.