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Michigan Drug Possession Penalties

The penalties for Michigan drug possession can be severe, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior record. Additionally, if the person is found to be in possession of enough of a quantity of a drug, then they can be subject to life in prison. For small amounts, the potential penalties are far less severe and probation is a much more likely sentence. If you are facing these charges, contact an experienced Michigan drug possession lawyer to mitigate or demolish all potential penalties.

Impact of a Conviction

Any kind of drug crime has the potential to have a significant impact on the person’s future, particularly as it pertains to employment and education opportunities. Besides being sent to prison, there are dozens of collateral consequences that a person may face.  A collateral consequence is something that happens to a person simply because they were arrested or convicted but is not a court’s sentence. An example of a collateral consequence would be increased car insurance rates for a person convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.

There are many other things people just do not think about until it is too late.  Many employers will not hire someone with a drug crime, and sometimes even if a company was willing to hire someone, the law says they can not.  Nursing homes might be an example of that.  Other collateral consequences include a person may not be able to purchase or own a hand gun, or get a concealed pistol license.  There are many more collateral consequences outside of the traditional penalties of a Michigan drug possession conviction.

Diversion Programs and Alternative Sentencing

Many courts in Michigan have what are called “drug courts.” The purpose of a drug court is not usually to avoid the conviction altogether but to avoid some of the most severe consequences of the conviction such as incarceration, or in the case of OWI drugs, the driver license sanction. Michigan also has a Veteran’s courts, which largely accomplish the same thing, but are geared toward the special needs of our Veterans.

If the person is young enough, they might be eligible for the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which is another type of deferral.  It is always best to speak with a lawyer about all of your options because there are limitations to deferrals, and can be not as good as they seem.

7411 Seals

For first-time offenders who are subject to crimes defined by possession only, meaning, if there is no intent to deliver, in addition to the possession charge, they will have the ability to plead guilty under a 7411. After the court accepts the plea under 7411, and the person is able to successfully complete probation, then their record will be sealed and they will not have a public record of the conviction.

However, even with 7411, they will have an arrest record. Certain institutions can still see the record, too, which is why it is called a “non-public record.” For example, if the person wanted to go into law enforcement, be in the FBI, or become a lawyer, they would still need to disclose a conviction under 7411.

Importance of Early Contact

The greatest likelihood that the case will be settled occurs at the very beginning. In limited circumstances, it may be possible for the lawyer to be able to keep the charges from being brought at all. Additionally, the longer the case is in the system, the more there is a likelihood that evidence has been lost, not been properly requested, or otherwise destroyed and that can lead to some real handicaps in trying to defend the case later. The earlier a defense attorney gets involved, the better the likelihood of success for avoiding penalties in your Michigan drug possession case.

Public Records

A drug charge in Michigan and the US will not appear on a person’s record unless they have been convicted of the crime. There might be, however, an arrest record, which is different from a conviction record. Additionally, for charges involving driving, such as a drug OWI then there may also be a public driving record. Each of these public records could affect the penalties for a crime.

Arrest Records

Records are also kept regarding arrests, and the police and prosecutors use arrest records much in the same way that they use conviction records. This arrest record can impact things like bond and sentencing guidelines in the penalties process.

Driving Records

As mentioned, one small exception to that is if a person is charged with an operating while intoxicated crime and the underlying substance is a drug. In that instance, the arrest will result in a notation on the person’s driving record that remains until either the person is discharged, or the case is dismissed, reduced, or in some other way modified. In the case of a drunk driving or drug driving case, the public record exists from the time of the initial arrest.