Detroit Drug Trafficking Lawyer
Drug trafficking charges in Michigan are serious felony offenses. If you are convicted of a charge of manufacturing, delivering, creating, or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to traffic in it, the penalties are severe, and can include up to life in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, depending on the type and amount of drugs involved.
While the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence and an expensive fine is stressful enough, a drug trafficking conviction can negatively affect your life in many other ways — and will stain your life for years or decades to come, even after you’ve served your sentence. The potential consequences of a drug trafficking conviction can include:
- A permanent criminal record
- The stigma of being a drug felon
- Loss of your driver’s license, even if your drug trafficking conviction didn’t involve driving
- Loss of your job or being denied employment
- Being denied rental housing
- Suspension or revocation of a professional license and loss of your career as a teacher, lawyer, pharmacist, nurse, doctor, or other licensed professional
- Loss of federal financial aid, such as grants or student loans, to pay for college
- Ineligibility for an immigration visa, work permit, or citizenship, and the potential for deportation if you’re not an American citizen
- Loss of custody of your children
However, you may have a chance at fighting the charge and avoiding some of these consequences with the help of an experienced Detroit drug trafficking lawyer. A good lawyer can step in and represent you in any phase of the process — from the initial investigation by police to your trial in a Michigan courtroom. A lawyer can help protect your rights as you face this serious and distressing charge, and help protect your future.
What is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking in Michigan encompasses several different actions. Under Section 333.7401 of the Michigan Public Health Code, you can be charged with a crime if you are suspected of doing any of the following in relation to a controlled substance:
- Possess with the intent to manufacture, create, or deliver
You also may be charged with drug manufacturing under Section 333.7401c of the Michigan Public Health Code when you:
- Own, possess, or use a vehicle, building, structure, or land you know is being used to manufacture drugs, such as a trailer used to manufacture meth
- Own or possess chemicals or lab equipment you know is being used to manufacture drugs
- Provide chemicals or lab equipment to someone else when you know they’ll be used to manufacture drugs
A controlled substance could include any number of drugs, either illicit street drugs or legal prescription drugs when they’re being trafficked by unauthorized people and without valid prescriptions. Some common drugs involved in drug trafficking charges include:
- Crack cocaine
Penalties for Violation of Section 333.7401
A conviction for manufacturing, creating, delivering, or possession with intent under Section 333.7401 is always a felony in Michigan. If you’re convicted, the possible sentence can range from a couple of years up to life in prison. The penalties you face depend on the type of drug involved, and the amount you were alleged to have trafficked when the drug is a narcotic.
The penalties also may vary depending on how a judge views your case. The penalties listed below are the ones written into Michigan state laws. However, a recent Michigan Supreme Court case gives judges, and not the Legislature, the power to decide the penalties for a criminal conviction. A qualified Michigan criminal defense attorney can explain how this change in the handling of criminal sentences might affect you.
The statutory penalties when you’re convicted of violating Section 333.7401 include:
- Schedule 5 drugs — You may be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $2,000.
- Schedule 4 drugs — You may be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $2,000.
- Schedule 1, 2, or 3 drugs other than narcotics, cocaine or marijuana — You may be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
- Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) — You may be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $5,000.
- Ecstasy, MDMA or Methamphetamine — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $25,000.
- Less than 50 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $25,000.
- 50 to 450 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
- 450 to 1,000 grams of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — You may be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $500,000.
- 1,000 grams or more of a Schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine — You may be sentenced to up to life in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $1 million.
Penalties for Violation of Section 333.7401
When you are charged with manufacturing a controlled substance because you knew drugs were being made on property you owned or possessed, or with lab equipment or chemicals you owned, possessed, or provided, you face felony penalties under Section 333.7401c.
The general penalty for a conviction for drug manufacturing under this section is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. However, the penalties can be even harsher under certain circumstances, including:
- Manufacturing Drugs in the Presence of a Minor — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $100,000
- Manufacturing Drugs Within 500 Feet of a Residence, Business, School, or Church — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $100,000
- Manufacturing Drugs Resulting in Hazardous Waste — When the alleged drug manufacturing results in the unlawful generation, treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $100,000
- Manufacturing Drugs Involving a Firearm — When the alleged drug manufacturing involves the possession, placement, or use of a firearm or weapon, you may be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $100,000
- Manufacturing Methamphetamine — You may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and required to pay a fine of up to $25,000
Suspension of Your Driver’s License
In Michigan, anytime you’re convicted of a drug offense, including a drug trafficking offense, the Secretary of State’s Office is required to suspend your driver’s license. The length of your suspension is based on whether this is your first conviction, or if you have prior convictions.
- First Conviction — 6 months driver’s license suspension, with the possibility of a restricted license after 30 days
- Second or Subsequent Conviction — 1 year driver’s license suspension, with the possibility of a restricted license after 60 days
If you’re caught driving while your license is suspended, you can be charged with the crime of driving under suspension and face additional jail time, fines, and extension of your driver’s license suspension.
Defending Your Michigan Drug Trafficking Charge
When you’re charged with an offense as serious as drug trafficking, your situation may seem hopeless. However, there are a number of ways that an experienced Detroit drug defense lawyer may be able to help. Drug trafficking charges rely on your knowledge and intent. If a prosecutor can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew about the alleged drug trafficking activity, or that you had no intent to traffic in a controlled substance, a drug defense lawyer may be able to convince a jury to acquit you, or convince a prosecutor or judge to agree to reduce your charge or your penalties.
Drug trafficking charges also often rely on evidence obtained through searches, or tips or testimony from confidential informants. A good Michigan drug defense lawyer can evaluate every step that law enforcement took when investigating the charge against you and when collecting evidence. If there was any violation of your constitutional rights, such as through an illegal search, your lawyer may be able to argue to keep evidence or testimony from being used against you.
Some common defense strategies in Michigan drug trafficking cases may involve:
- Challenging whether the alleged controlled substance was properly identified
- Challenging the validity of a search warrant
- Challenging the validity of a search performed without a warrant
- Challenging the validity of your arrest and whether your Miranda rights were properly administered
- Challenging the use of drug-sniffing dogs to obtain evidence against you
- Challenging whether any surveillance or wiretapping in your case was done legally
Every case has its own set of unique circumstances, facts, and evidence. The defenses available to you will depend on the circumstances of your case, but a qualified Michigan drug defense lawyer can explain what options you might have, and what to expect in your case.
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