Drug Crimes


Michigan has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. They vary from simple possession to use to possession with intent to deliver and operating a drug house or drug car. The penalties vary depending on the type of drug, the amount that was used, and if the accused has any prior drug related convictions. Not only can a conviction be costly in terms of jail, probation, and fines, but it is mandatory that your driver’s license be suspended upon conviction. The same is true for every drug offense, even simple marijuana possession.

Marijuana Possession

This is the most commonly prosecuted drug crime. The maximum penalties include up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines, two years probation, and six month suspension of your driver’s license. The driver’s license suspension is mandatory by statute that the judge has no discretion over. The judge can grant a restricted license after 30 days, but  some judges will make you appear again in 30 days to petition for it instead of including it in the original judgment of sentence.  Many towns, townships, and cities have local ordinances with a maximum penalty of 90-93 days in jail. Some cities, like Grand Rapids and Lansing, have de-criminalized possession of small amounts so it is only a civil infraction or ticket.

Marijuana Use

Still a misdemeanor, but less severe than marijuana possession. Maximum penalties include 90 days in jail, $100 in fines, and one year probation. This is usually an original charge, but instead is offered as a plea bargain for marijuana possession cases.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

The penalties range anywhere from two years to life in prison depending on what kind of controlled substance is possessed as well as the amount. The deadlier the drug and the greater the amount, the more severe the penalties.

Controlled Substance Use

Like marijuana use, this is normally used as a plea reduction instead of an original charge. In cases where 7411 is not an option, prosecutors will routinely offer use as a reduction from a possession charge. Unlike marijuana cases, this plea actual makes a substantial difference because possession of a controlled substance is a felony while use of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in jail.

Possession of Analogues

Also known as “Designer Drugs,” they closely resemble illicit drugs such as heroin, marijuana, and cocaine in their chemical makeup. The maximum penalty is two years in prison , $2,000 in fines, and five years probation.

Possession w/ Intent to Deliver

No matter what the drug, if you are charged with possession of a controlled substance or marijuana with the intent to deliver, you are facing years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. These charges are often very circumstantial and depend heavily on subjective facts such as amount, how the drugs were package, etc. Expert witnesses are very useful in these cases. Prosecutors rarely offer pleas to reduced charges so it is critical that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you. 

Maintaining a Drug House/Drug Car

This involves one of two scenarios: 1) someone keeps or maintains a store, house, building, or vehicle where they know people go to buy illegal drugs or controlled substances, or 2) someone keeps or maintains a store, house, building, or vehicle where they are keeping them or selling them. This is a High Court or serious misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two years in prison, $25,000 in fines, and five years probation.

Automatic Driver’s License Suspension and Driver’s Responsibility Fees

No matter what the offense, any type of drug conviction, even marijuana, has an automatic driver’s license suspension along with driver’s responsibility fees payable to the Secretary of State for two consecutive years. These are mandated by statute and the prosecutor and judge do not have the discretion to amend through with a sentencing agreement. The only way to avoid the license penalties is if given a deferred sentencing status such as 7411.

7411 Deferred Sentencing Status for First Offenders

This is a sentencing option under MCL 333.7411 or 7411 for short. It is a deferred sentencing status which allows the defendant to earn a non-public record upon successful completion of his sentence which is usually probation. It only applies to possession and use charges and can only be used once.


If you have been charged with a drug crime, call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan drug lawyer on how to fight your case.


Defending drug crimes throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Kent, Barry, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Branch, Gratiot, Livingston in the cites of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Hastings, St. Johns, Ithaca, Corunna, Ann Arbor, Coldwater, Howell, Brighton.