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Penalties for Drug Charges in Michigan

In Michigan, there are harsh laws against drug crimes. The potential penalties for certain Michigan drug charges can carry very long prison terms.  Additionally, the penalties can include large financial penalties in the form of fines and costs, possible back taxes with penalties and interest, and properly forfeiture.  The results of such a penalty for a person growing marijuana in their basement could be losing their home to forfeiture.

It is important to speak with a Michigan drug lawyer right away to avoid the potentially extreme penalties of a Michigan drug conviction and navigate the many factors that impact the intensity of sentencing.

Deferred Conviction Diversion Programs

Repeat offenders do not have any kind of deferred conviction options available to them and will certainly end up with the conviction if the elements of the crime charged can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The more prior convictions the defendant has, the greater the penalty they will face due to how the statutes are written and the way the sentencing guidelines work. Multiple possession charges, depending on the court and the facts and circumstances of the case, still may not result in jail but they have a much higher likelihood of the possibility of jail time being imposed.

In most instances, a first-time offender will have available a deferral under 7411. Additionally, they have a better chance at being sentenced only to probation without any time in jail whatsoever. Also, if the person is young enough, they can benefit from the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act which is another diversion program for those ages 17 to 20. Additionally, some courts have their own ways of diversion such as Veteran’s courts and drug courts for those with addictions.

Additionally, some courts have their own ways of diversion such as Veteran’s courts and drug courts for those with addictions.

Factors Impacting the Penalty

Major factors impacting the severity of the penalty include the amount of a drug possessed, as well as the type of drug, and the circumstances of which it is possessed. Additionally, if there are aggravating factors such as violence or prior convictions in the case it can impact the severity of the penalties.

If the person is in possession of 1,000 grams or more of certain, then they can be found guilty of a crime that would result in penalties as severe as life in prison. If the defendant is charged with a crime involving 25 to 50 grams of such a drug, then the penalty goes all the way down to four years of incarceration. And if they have less than 25 grams, then the penalty can be even less.

If it the drug crime also involves harm being inflicted on one or more parties, the penalties will vary depending on the number of people harmed. Typically the penalty for harming one person will be less than if multiple were hurt. Finally, some jurisdictions around Michigan take drug crimes much more seriously and impose much more serious penalties than others.

Role of An Attorney

The first way an attorney can help to lessen the potential penalties would be to prevent the accusations from being officially charged and then after the charges have been put forth to prevent a conviction.

However, once there has been a conviction, then the lawyer should move into sentencing advocacy.  For example, plea-bargaining to a crime may carry a lesser penalty than a conviction. Following a conviction, the defense attorney can assist the client in preparing a statement prior to sentencing. They can also file a sentencing memorandum, which is a lengthy document where the defense attorney advocates the court for a lighter sentence.

There are also many things that can be done well in advance of a conviction, right after the lawyer is retained, that can help obtain a better sentence.  These things should be discussed in every case because no matter how strong a person’s case looks, the defendant and their attorney should always be prepared for to get a great sentence in the case of a conviction.

In some situations, there may also be the opportunity for sentencing negotiations.  This is a basic negotiation with the prosecutor or judge and might include applying favorable laws to the facts and circumstances of the case in such a way that the court can see that the charge that is brought is inappropriate.

In the Michigan state courts, there are also Cobb’s Pleas. In a Cobb’s Plea, the defense attorney negotiates with the judge for a particular sentence, and the judge makes an agreement with the defendant on a particular sentence. However, if that sentence is not upheld, then the defendant can withdraw their plea and stand trial.