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Northville Drug Lawyer

Like most jurisdictions in the country, the Northville area sees a large number of arrests for charges related to the use or possession of controlled substances. Public pressure has influenced lawmakers to increase penalties for violations, especially for those deemed to be repeat offenders. Sentences can even include life imprisonment.

The severity of the laws varies a great deal depending on the circumstances involved. If law enforcement officials believe there is even a slight chance that drugs are being held for possible distribution, the penalties are much more severe.

For that reason, anyone charged with an offense involving controlled substances should consult a Northville drug lawyer as quickly as possible. A skilled criminal attorney with a thorough knowledge of this area of law will understand how the courts have applied the laws in similar situations and will be able to craft the best defense strategy.

Drug Possession vs. Distribution

Michigan law imposes the most severe penalties in cases where individuals are deemed to be distributing, manufacturing or selling drugs and more lenient penalties in instances where the only charge is possession or use of a controlled substance. Having possession of a drug with the intent to distribute is a much more serious offense than simple possession.

However, it is important to realize that frequently the intent to distribute is assumed simply on the basis of the quantity of a substance found in possession of an individual. Effectively, that means that possession of a certain quantity of a drug automatically becomes the more serious offense of possession with intent to distribute. Using marijuana as an example, basic possession of the substance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

How Can Penalties Increase?

Charged individuals should speak with a Northville drug lawyer when facing substance-related penalties. If it is determined that an individual is either manufacturing, distributing, or possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, the potential penalties increase dramatically based on the amount found in the individual’s possession. These penalties are set forth in Section 333.7401 of the Michigan criminal code:

  • If the amount is up to 5 kilograms or 20 plants, penalties include up to four years imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000
  • If the amount falls between 5 and 45 kilograms or 20-200 plants, penalties include up to seven years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000
  • If the amount is over 45 kilograms or 200 plants, penalties include up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000,000

Classification of Controlled Substances

State law separates controlled substances into five different categories and different penalties apply to possession and distribution depending on the category. The substances are grouped into schedules according to their potential for legitimate use compared to the likelihood of abuse, and their addictive qualities. The most dangerous substances are listed in Schedule I, since they are considered to have no legal medical purpose and a high potential for abuse. This schedule includes drugs such as LSD, heroin, Ecstasy and the date rape drug, GHB.

The drugs listed on Schedule II also carry great potential for abuse, but they are treated differently under the law because they are approved for limited medical use. These substances include morphine, oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamines, opium and in certain circumstances, marijuana. Schedules III, IV and V list substances with a lower risk of addiction and abuse that serve medical uses but will still be considered illegal if used or distributed improperly. Drugs on these schedules include ephedrine, codeine, and barbital.

Talking to a Lawyer

Any charges involving drug use, possession, distribution or other drug-related offenses carry serious consequences and need to be addressed carefully. Prompt action can make a tremendous difference. When you work with an attorney, they can begin right away to work toward the most appropriate resolution of your case. Contact a Northville drug lawyer as soon as possible so experienced legal representation can help build a defense on your behalf.