A drug charge is a serious matter that can greatly affect your employment and your relationships. Whether you are fighting addiction or were caught transporting drugs, a Michigan drug charge requires a strong defense. Michigan prosecutors are diligent in pursuing drug cases and it is your right to defend yourself against the charges. If you live in Oakland or Macomb County and are facing felony or misdemeanor charges in a Pontiac or Mt. Clemens courtroom, contact us. An experienced Michigan drug defense lawyer can provide the representation you need during this challenging and stressful time.
Understanding Drug Schedules
As part of the Controlled Substance Act, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies drugs into five distinct categories, commonly referred to as schedules. The potential for abuse is a determining factor for how a drug ranks on the schedule. Schedule I drugs, for example, have a high potential for abuse and the potential for creating severe dependence. The DEA defines these drugs as ones that have no acceptable medical use.
Examples of Schedule I drugs include:
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy)
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
Schedule II drugs also have the potential for dependency. Unlike Schedule I drugs, some of the drugs listed as Schedule II have medicinal uses. Examples of drugs that are Schedule II include:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
Schedules III, IV, and V drugs have less dependency and impact than Schedules I and II yet are still dangerous drugs. Examples of these lower schedule drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Parepectolin.
Understanding how the DEA classifies drugs into certain levels of schedules is important when charged with a crime. The higher the intensity of the drug, the more serious the charges. A crime involving a Schedule I or II drugs is more likely to result in felony charges than a Schedule III, IV, or V which may result in misdemeanor charges. Any drug charge is serious and requires the defense of a highly experienced lawyer familiar with both federal and state law.
Common Drug Crimes
A drug charge can happen to anyone at any time. Developing a dependence upon pain relievers sends many people down a path toward drug addiction. Additionally, while recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, laws regarding its use can result in serious charges if you aren’t careful. Here are just a few of the most common types of drug crimes you may face when the police find you with drugs:
Possession. For a law enforcement officer to charge you with possession, they must prove that:
- You knew that the drug in your possession is a controlled substance.
- You willingly had possession of, or control over, the drug.
Possession is typically categorized as drug possession for personal use or with intent to distribute. To punish drug dealers and to deter drug sales, a charge of intent to distribute carries stiffer penalties. Items such as digital scales and large amounts of cash are often a part of the prosecution’s case against you if found during your arrest.
Manufacturing and cultivation. Just as the intent to distribute is a very serious charge, so are charges of manufacturing and cultivation. If the police search your home, with or without a warrant, you may have certain rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Marijuana. It is legal to use marijuana for recreational and medical purposes in Michigan and nine other states. If you purchase marijuana in another state and transport it back to Michigan, federal law considers this action drug trafficking. The difference between state and federal laws regarding marijuana can make your charge confusing and complex.
Operating while intoxicated. Commonly known as driving under the influence (DUI), operating while intoxicated (OWI) is often reduced to operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). In cases where you cause harm to another person, your case is typically harder to plead down.
Many states with legalized recreational marijuana have thresholds for the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood. For example, in Colorado, the THC limit is 5 nanograms. In Michigan, if law enforcement pulls you over for suspicion of impaired driving, the test is a field sobriety test like those given to drivers suspected of drunk driving.
The Impaired Driving Safety Commission recommended the state sets no THC limit, as the test is unreliable and not a good indicator of a driver’s impairment.
Serious Consequences of Drug Charges
As the nation’s opioid crisis continues, Michigan prosecutors will continue to aggressively pursue opioid and other drug cases. Your future depends upon a strong defense. Without one, you may face one or more of the following punishments as set by Michigan law:
- Possession of 1,000 grams or more of a Schedule 1 or II drug is a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years or a fine of not more than $1 million, or both.
- Possession of a Schedule V drug is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000 or both.
These are just two examples of the possible outcomes associated with felony and misdemeanor convictions. In either case, imprisonment and/or fines are a part of the strong penalties.
Be proactive with your defense against serious drug charges. Law enforcement may want to speak with you in the hopes you will incriminate yourself. If you have not been charged with a drug violation, do not speak with them without an attorney present.
At Michigan Defense Law, our legal team understands Michigan and federal law when it comes to drug crimes. Let us help you protect your future by providing strong legal representation.
To schedule a free evaluation of your case, call us at (248) 221-1060 or contact us online. Don’t delay—the sooner we can evaluate your case, the sooner we decide upon the best course of action for you.
Don’t let a drug charge ruin your life. Defend yourself against the charges by reaching out to our office today. We proudly serve Blooming Hills, Michigan and the surrounding areas of Troy, Rochester Hills, and the counties of Oakland and Macomb.