If you have been charged with a drug crime you could face additional and more severe charges if the drugs are associated with your home or vehicle. MCL 333.7405
What is a Drug House or Drug Vehicle
A drug house or drug car is defined as knowingly keeping or maintaining a store, shop, warehouse, dwelling, building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other structure or place that is frequented by persons using controlled substances for the purpose of using a controlled substance or for the purpose of keeping or selling a controlled substance.
In summary, it is a house, vehicle, or structure where drugs are used, stored, or sold.
- Up to two years in prison
- $25,000 in fines
It is considered a high-court misdemeanor. A high-court misdemeanor is a serious misdemeanor that is handled at the circuit court or higher court and is procedurally treated like a felony.
Upon conviction of multiple drug crimes, consecutive sentencing applies. That means you serve your first sentence before you start serving your sentence for maintaining the drug house. This applies to all serious controlled substance offenses beyond possession or use. For example, if convicted of Delivery & Manufacturing Marijuana and Maintaining a Drug House, you would have to serve one sentence completely before serving the sentence for the other crime. This is opposed to the more favorable concurrent sentencing where sentences for multiple convictions are served together at the same time.
If you have a previous drug conviction, your penalty for the drug house or drug car charge will be doubled from a two-year high court misdemeanor to a four-year felony.
Summarizing What the Prosecutor Has to Prove
- Defendant had knowledge of the drug house or car
- Defendant did keep or maintain the drug house or car
- The house or car was frequently used in violation of Michigan’s controlled substance laws
The prosecutor does not have to prove that you owned the house or car. For example, you would be guilty of this offense if you were storing or selling drugs from your hotel room or an abandoned barn.
Some drug charges are eligible for sentencing under MCL 333.7411 or 7411 for short. Upon successful completion of probation, you would not have a public record of the offense. Unfortunately, this is only available for first offenders of drug use or drug possession. However, if you are between the ages of 17 and 21, you would be eligible for sentencing under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) which allows you to earn a non-public record. However, it is within the discretion of the judge to give it to you.
How We Approach Your Case
These types of cases of often glorified possession cases that are bolstered into something more serious based upon the amount of drugs or the packaging. If the police believe the amount of drugs you possess is more than what a typical user would possess or is packaged individually suggesting it was being sold or distributed, you may find yourself with the heightened charge of maintaining a drug house or drug car. Your admissions can be used against you as well.
As a criminal defense attorney, our first goal is to see if the evidence can be suppressed by challenging the stop of the vehicle or the initial police contact. If the police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle or approach your house or lacked probable cause to search your car or house, your case can get dismissed. If it comes down to the weight and packaging of the drugs, you need an experienced Michigan drug crimes attorney to argue against it and perhaps even have an expert testify. If another occupant of your house or car is using it for selling or storing drugs without your knowledge, you would have a defense against the “knowing” element. If the charge cannot be dismissed, we may get it reduced to simple drug possession or drug use. In any event, this is a very serious charge and you need a strong advocate on your side.
If you have been charged with maintaining a drug house or drug car, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan drug crimes attorney.
Defending clients on drug charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Clinton, Barry, Shiawassee, Livingston, Lenawee, and Kent in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Holt, Jackson, St. Johns, Bath, Corunna, Grand Rapids, Howell, Brighton, Okemos, Delta Township, Charlotte, Hastings.