Possession of a Controlled Substance in Michigan
Possession of a Controlled Substance in Michigan
In Michigan, it’s illegal to intentionally possess controlled substances without a valid prescription. Controlled substances refer to drugs that are regulated by the government due to their potential for abuse and addiction. This includes illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, as well as certain prescription medications.The penalties for drug possession in Michigan depend on the type and amount of drug involved. Possession of marijuana is treated differently than other controlled substances. Marijuana possession and use is legal for adults 21 and over, but there are limits on how much you can possess.
Michigan Drug Possession Laws
Michigan’s drug laws are contained in the Michigan Public Health Code. The main statute governing drug possession is MCL 333.7403. This law makes it a crime to:
- Knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance
- Possess a controlled substance analog
- Possess a prescription form unless the drugs were prescribed directly to you
To convict someone of drug possession, prosecutors have to prove:
- The substance was in fact a controlled substance
- The defendant possessed the substance
- The defendant knew they possessed the substance
- The defendant did not have a valid prescription
Michigan categorizes controlled substances into 5 schedules based on their potential for abuse and whether they have an accepted medical use.Schedule 1 drugs have a high potential for abuse and no medical use. This includes heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.Schedule 2 contains drugs with a high potential for abuse that may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, and amphetamines.Schedule 3-5 drugs have decreasing potential for abuse. Schedule 5 substances have the lowest potential for abuse.
Penalties for Possession
The penalties for drug possession depend on the type and amount of drug involved:Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine
- 1,000+ grams: Up to life in prison, $1 million fine
- 450-999 grams: Up to 30 years, $500,000 fine
- 50-449 grams: Up to 20 years, $250,000 fine
- 25-49 grams: Up to 4 years, $25,000 fine
- <25 grams: Up to 4 years, $25,000 fine
- Any amount: Up to 10 years, $15,000 fine
Schedule 1-4 Drugs
- Any amount: Up to 2 years, $2,000 fine
Schedule 5 Drugs
- Any amount: Up to 1 year, $2,000 fine
- Any amount: Up to 1 year, $1,000 fine
In addition to fines and jail time, those convicted will have their driver’s license suspended for 6 months or more. The judge determines the exact penalty based on the circumstances of the case.
In November 2018, Michigan legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. Adults can legally:
- Possess up to 2.5 oz of marijuana outside the home
- Possess up to 10 oz of marijuana at home
- Grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home
There are still penalties for possessing marijuana above these legal limits. And it remains illegal for those under 21.
Defenses to Drug Possession
There are several legal defenses that can be used to fight a drug possession charge:Lack of KnowledgeYou can claim you did not knowingly possess the drugs. For example, someone left drugs in your car without your knowledge.No Intent to PossessYou had no intention of taking ownership or control over the drugs. For example, you were briefly holding a friend’s bag that contained drugs.No Actual PossessionThe drugs were not actually in your possession or control. For example, drugs were found in a car with multiple occupants.Illegal SearchThe police performed an illegal search, violating your 4th Amendment rights. Any evidence found may be suppressed.Invalid TestingThe crime lab analysis was flawed and did not conclusively identify the seized substance.Medical MarijuanaYou possessed marijuana for valid medical purposes if you have a medical marijuana card.A skilled drug crimes lawyer can evaluate the details of your case and decide the best defense strategy. They will aggressively challenge the prosecution’s evidence and arguments in order to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Drug Diversion Programs
For those facing drug possession charges for the first time, prosecutors may offer diversion programs as an alternative to jail time. These programs allow you to get treatment and have the charges dismissed if you successfully complete the program.Common diversion programs include:
- Drug Court – For nonviolent offenders to get treatment and supervision from a special court.
- 7411 Deferral – Dismisses charges for first-time drug offenders who complete probation.
- HYTA – Holmes Youthful Trainee Act for defendants aged 17-24. Plea is deferred and charges dismissed.
- Probation – Complete probation, drug tests, counseling instead of jail time.
Diversion programs provide a second chance to avoid a criminal conviction. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise if you are eligible and negotiate for a diversion program on your behalf.
Finding a Drug Possession Lawyer
Drug charges can carry steep penalties that impact your freedom, finances, and future. So it’s critical to have an aggressive lawyer fighting for you. Look for an attorney with extensive experience handling drug possession cases in Michigan.Key things to consider when choosing a drug possession lawyer:
- Strong record of favorable case results
- Knowledge of diversion programs and alternative sentencing
- Skilled at arguing suppression motions and constitutional issues
- Ability to negotiate firmly with prosecutors
- Clear communication and responsive service
Don’t take chances with your future. The right lawyer can make all the difference in getting charges reduced or dismissed. Consult with a top drug possession attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. They will protect your rights, build a strong defense, and help you understand all of your options. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you can avoid harsh penalties and move forward with your life.