In Michigan, possession of a controlled substance or a prescription drug without a prescription is a crime. More commonly known as simple drug possession. The penalties vary depending on the type of drug, amount, location, and if the accused has any prior criminal drug history. As a Michigan drug possession attorney, my goal is to help you avoid jail, keep your record clean, and prevent the mandatory driver’s license suspension. Unfortunately, that is not possible in all cases.
Controlled substances are strictly regulated by the government. It includes possession of prescription painkillers, narcotics, heroin, cocaine, methadone, marijuana, and morphine. It also includes controlled substances that have legal uses, such as prescription drugs, which can get you charged with a crime if you don’t have a valid prescription for them. The most common examples are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium. Even substances that contain codeine and Tylenol III are included on the list.
Under Michigan law (MCL 333.7403), controlled substances are listed in five categories called schedules. Schedule I and Schedule II substances are considered the most addictive, highly dangerous, and widely abused so the punishments are more severe. The War on Drugs is a very political issue for prosecutors and law enforcement. Often in their overzealousness defendants get overcharged or charged with additional and more serious crimes such as Possession with Intent to Deliver or Maintaining a Drug House.
Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II Controlled Substance
- Less than 25 grams—four years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
- 25-49 grams—four years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines
- 50-449 grams—20 years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines
- 450-999 grams—30 years in prison and/or $500,000 in fines
- 1,000 or more grams—Life in prison and/or $1,000,000 in fines
Possession of Ectasy
Possession of any amount of ectasy is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $15,000 in fines
Possession of Analogues or designer drugs are punishable by up to two years in prison and/or $2,000 in fines
Possession of LSD, Peyote, or any Schedule V Controlled Substance
Possession of any amount is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines
Possession of Marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines
If it is your first offense, most prosecutors will probably offer a reduction in the charge as an incentive to avoid trial. Possession of a controlled substance can be pled down to Use of a Controlled Substance which reduces the severity of most possession cases from a felony to a one-year misdemeanor. The exception is use of marijuana which decreases the penalty from one year to 93 days.
Mandatory Driver’s License Sanctions
If you are convicted of any drug possession or drug use charge under Michigan law, your license will be automatically suspended by the Secretary of State. This is true even if the particular drug offense that you were convicted of didn’t involve driving. It is mandatory and automatic under statute meaning that neither the judge nor prosecutor has the authority to negotiate a sentencing agreement around it.
If you have no previous drug convictions, you will be eligible for a special sentencing status under MCL 333.7411 or 7411 for short. The way it works is that if you enter a guilty plea and the judge grants you 7411 status, the “conviction” will not appear on your public record as long as you successfully complete probation. Not only does it keep your public record clean, but it also prevents the mandatory driver’s license sanctions as well. If eligible, you are always free to petition the court for 7411, but it is up to the judge on whether or not to give it to you. One final caveat—you only get to use it once in a lifetime.
As you can see, Michigan treats drug crimes and possession of a controlled substance very seriously. That is why you need an experienced advocate in the courtroom. The police reports must be thoroughly scrutinized to first determine if the police had legal grounds to have contact with you and then if they had probable cause to search you or to arrest you. That is always the first step in fighting any drug charge. If the police did not have probable cause to search you or arrest you, the evidence will be suppressed and your case dismissed. There may also be issues with the chain of custody for the evidence or the testing of the substance. It is important to have someone experienced in defending drug possession charges representing you every step of the way. Our goal is to help you avoid jail and keep your driver’s license if at all possible.
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan drug possession attorney.
Defending drug possession and drug use charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Livingston, Barry, Kent, Gratiot. Defending cocaine possession, marijuana possession, heroin possession in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Okemos, Haslett, Bath, St. Johns, Charlotte, Jackson, Corunna, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Brighton, Howell, Ithaca.
Mid Michigan Controlled Substance Attorney