Drugs and Narcotics
Drug enforcement has been a top priority of police and prosecutors across the country since the 1970s. Enforcement efforts don’t just affect “typical” drug users either. Addiction can stem from one bad decision, a history of low-level recreational use, or as a side effect of necessary medical treatment, such as the steep rise in opioid addiction. Additionally, the lack of definition surrounding the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana adds even more enforcement complexities and related legal consequences. When drug use takes over your life, you will need the help of an experienced drug defense attorney to keep the consequences from spiraling out of control.
Michigan Controlled Substance Charges Depend on Drug Schedules
Controlled substance penalties can range from simple fines and costs or a 90-day misdemeanor for possession of marijuana to lifetime jail sentences for the manufacturing or delivering of large quantities of narcotics. Michigan, like most states, classifies drug charges based on the types and amounts of drugs involved on what are called “schedules.” The highest severity drug charges are reserved for “schedule 1 controlled substances” – drugs that have no recognized medicinal purpose. These include many narcotics and hallucinogenic drugs like:
Schedule 2 drug offenses can also have serious consequences. These are drugs that do have a medical use, but they also have a high potential for addition or abuse. These include:
- Opiates, like morphine and codeine
- Methamphetamines (“meth”)
- Other prescription-only drugs
Possible Penalties for Drug Charges
The penalties connected to drug charges depend on what the defendant intended to do with the drug in question: whether the person charged intended to keep the drugs for personal use or prepare and deliver them to another individual. Even if that delivery never actually happens, the prosecutor may still seek the more severe “manufacture and delivery” charge. To show intent, prosecutors look at:
- The quantity of drugs involved
- The packaging in which the drugs were found
- Where the drugs were found
- Whether there were baggies, scales, burners, or other paraphernalia in the vicinity
- How much cash was found with the drugs
- Whether police or witnesses saw hand-to-hand transfers of drugs
Possession or use of a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 narcotic can result in up to 4 years in prison and fines and costs over $25,000. For manufacture and delivery, those penalties can skyrocket to life in prison and up to $1 million in fines. You can also face probation or parole, mandatory drug treatment, loss or suspension of driving privileges, along with other possible penalties. If you were previously convicted on a drug offense, a “habitual offender” enhancement can make the criminal consequences of drug use or manufacture even worse. With such high penalties, even a simple drug possession charge demands a strong defense by an experienced drug crimes attorney.
Drug Treatment Courts Recognize Addiction and Help with Healing
Many counties across the state have created specialized drug treatment courts to address the addictive and recurring nature of drug charges. This rehabilitative approach helps defendants facing drug dependency break the cycle of addiction and avoid spiraling consequences of future criminal behavior. Since qualifying for – and completing – drug treatment court isn’t always easy, you will need an experienced legal advocate by your side to make your case for this type of resolution and to help keep you on track during the treatment court’s process.
Marijuana in Michigan
In 2008, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) created a legal shield for chronically ill or injured patients and their caregivers who use or prepare marijuana to treat legitimate medical conditions. A decade later, the law is still highly controversial. In 2018, Michigan voters approved the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA), which effectively legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state. There are still limits under the new law, however, that establish how much marijuana a person can buy, grow, sell, and use, and under what conditions. If litigation under the MMMA is any indication, Michigan courts will be hearing cases about the legality of recreational marijuana for decades to come. When Michigan residents and visitors find themselves facing drug charges, they need a lawyer who knows Michigan’s complex history with marijuana. At the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, we have been representing marijuana users since before the MMMA and MRTMA. We know how to stand up to heavy-handed prosecutors and use these new laws to protect your right to medical and recreational marijuana use.
Some police and prosecutors often still push back hard on those legal protections. When cardholders find themselves facing drug charges, they need a lawyer who knows the law’s complicated and complex history. At the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, we have been representing medical marijuana patients since the beginning. We know how to stand up to heavy-handed prosecutors and use the MMMA to protect your health and your right to medical treatment.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with an experienced drug defense attorney who will help evaluate the pros and cons of your drug-related case and the viability of proceeding to trial. We will consider all possible defenses, addiction treatment options, and sentencing alternatives to help protect you from the lifetime consequences of a drug conviction, all while being your strongest advocate before Southwest Michigan’s prosecutors, judges, and juries.
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