Possession of any type of drug, controlled substance or prescription pill with the intent to deliver it to someone else is a felony under Michigan law. The penalties vary depending on the schedule of the drug and how much of the drug the Defendant had. Possession of marijuana with intent to deliver is a felony. The penalties vary depending on the total weight of the marijuana or how many marijuana plants Defendant possessed. The maximum prison sentences range from four to 15 years.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove
- Defendant knowingly possessed marijuana
- Defendant created, manufactured, or had the intent to deliver the marijuana to someone else; and
- Defendant was not in lawful possession of the marijuana or was acting outside the scope of his lawful duties as a licensee, applicant, or caregiver.
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver
- Less than 20 marijuana plants or five kilograms—up to four years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000
- 20-199 marijuana plants or five to 45 kilograms—up to seven years in prison and/or fines up to $500,000
- 200 marijuana plants or more or more than 45 kilograms—up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $1,000,000
Often in cases involving 100 marijuana plants or more than five pounds, the federal government will step in and take over. Federal sentencing for possession with intent to deliver is much harsher than the state level. For example, under federal law if you possess 120 or more marijuana plants, you face a mandatory four years in prison whereas at the state for the same offense, more than likely you would be facing county time depending on what your sentencing guidelines are.
Proving the Intent Element
If the prosecutor can’t prove you were creating or manufacturing the marijuana, then they must prove that you possessed it with the intent to deliver it to another person. Prosecutors often have to rely on circumstantial evidence to meet this burden. The focus is on the weight and the packaging among other factors. The prosecutor will need an expert to testify as to the habits of drug dealers and how much marijuana a normal user would usually possess. If the marijuana is packaged in multiple bags as opposed to just one, that can be circumstantial evidence of the intent to sell or deliver the marijuana. Also, evidence of drug scales can also be circumstantial evidence as drug dealers use them to distribute different amounts—something a casual user wouldn’t need. Defendant may need to present an expert to counter the prosecution’s expert. These cases can come down to a “battle of the experts.” It is not uncommon for police to take a simple possession case and escalate it into a felony simply based upon the amount of drugs the person was caught with.
Deferred sentencing under MCL 333.7411 can only be given for marijuana use or marijuana possession. Anything above general drug use or drug possession, including maintaining a drug house, possession of drug paraphernalia, or possession with intent to deliver, is not eligible for 7411.
- Lack of Knowledge—Defendant must be aware that the marijuana was in his possession in order to be found guilty.
- Lack of Intent—Defendant must have created or manufactured the marijuana, or intended to deliver the marijuana to someone else. Defendant is not guilty if he merely possessed it for himself.
- Mere Presence—Simply because Defendant was at the scene where drug dealing or drug possession occurred, is not enough to convict him of the crime.
- Fourth Amendment Violations-— There may be various constitutional issues that could lead to a suppression of the evidence or dismissal of the charges including: search and seizure violations, lack of probable cause or lack of consent for the police to search, lack of probable cause for a search warrant, chain of evidence custody defects, improper lab testing.
Michigan treats any drug offense seriously, but especially charges involving drug dealing. That is why it is important to have an experienced Michigan drug and marijuana possession attorney thoroughly review all police and lab reports for any deficiencies or legal errors that could be used to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Michigan Possession with Intent to Deliver Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with creating, manufacturing, or possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan marijuana and drug possession attorney.
Defending drug possession with intent to deliver marijuana charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Livingston, Barry, Kent, Gratiot and in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Okemos, Haslett, Bath, St. Johns, Charlotte, Jackson, Corunna, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Brighton, Howell, Ithaca, Durand.