Although Michigan is one of a growing number of states that has legalized the medical use of marijuana, both state and federal criminal statutes are still very much alive that make it illegal to use, possess, grow or distribute marijuana in Michigan. Michigan marijuana offense attorney Paul J. Tafelski understands that an arrest for a violation of any of these laws requires an aggressive defense in order to protect your freedom and your future.
If you have been arrested for a marijuana offense in Michigan, take control of your future by retaining the services of an experienced and dedicated Michigan marijuana offense lawyer today. Contact the law office of Paul J. Tafelski immediately.
Paul Tafelski defends people charged with marijuana offenses across Michigan, including Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Rochester Hills, Troy, Canton, Plymouth, Novi, Royal Oak, Oakland County, Wayne County and Macomb County.
Michigan Laws on Use and Possession of Marijuana
Michigan approaches the use and possession of marijuana differently from many other states. In Michigan, there is a separate statute for each. Possession of marijuana in any amount is a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment for up to a year and/or a fine of not more than $2,000. Possession can be for something as small as a single seed or residue found in a pipe.
The use of marijuana carries with it a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $100. The statute applies to use of marijuana in your own home or on private property as well as in public.
Michigan Laws on Growing, Cultivating, Manufacturing and Intent to Deliver Marijuana
In Michigan, growing, cultivating or manufacturing marijuana is a more serious offense than the use or possession of marijuana. The same is true for “dealing” marijuana, which is legally referred to as “intent to deliver.” The potential penalties for growing or dealing marijuana depend on the amount of marijuana the individual was growing, cultivating, manufacturing or possessing with the intent to deliver.
The applicable statute determines the potential penalties based on the quantity as follows:
- If the amount is 45 kilograms or more, or 200 plants or more, by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $10 million, or both.
- If the amount is 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms, or 20 plants or more but fewer than 200 plants, by imprisonment for not more than 7 years or a fine of not more than $500,000, or both.
- If the amount is less than 5 kilograms or fewer than 20 plants, by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.
Michigan also has a separate offense for distribution of marijuana without payment. Essentially, this makes it a misdemeanor to give away marijuana punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Aggravating Factors in Michigan Marijuana Offenses
If you have a previous conviction for any type of drug, the severity level of a second or subsequent marijuana offense will be raised, as will the corresponding potential penalties. For example, a misdemeanor possession offense could be raised to a felony with a potential penalty of up to two years in prison. In addition, the potential length of imprisonment for a new felony-level offense will double. For instance, a potential four-year prison term will turn into a potential eight-year prison term.
Michigan Operating While Intoxicated Laws and Marijuana
Many people do not realize that you can be charged for operating while intoxicated, frequently referred to as OWI or DUI, for being under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. The Michigan OWI/DUI laws are not limited to alcohol. The OWI statute reads:
(1) … As used in this section, “operating while intoxicated” means any of the following:
(a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance.
The penalties for an OWI conviction depend on a variety of factors but may include jail time, fines, a license suspension, community service, and/or completion of a drug rehabilitation program. As with other drug convictions, a second or subsequent conviction will carry much harsher penalties.
Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Laws
Although Michigan has legalized the medical use of marijuana, anyone who has been approved for the medical marijuana program must be very cautious. Strict adherence to the rules of the program is essential to avoid being charged with a marijuana-related offense. Sharing or selling your marijuana is a criminal offense. In addition, you can still be charged with OWI for being under the influence of marijuana even if you are an approved medical marijuana patient.
Although Michigan has legalized the use of medical marijuana, it remains illegal under federal law. This has created an area of much confusion and speculation. While federal law enforcement does not typically choose to investigate or prosecute marijuana cases that do not involve a significant amount of marijuana, it is important to understand that possession or distribution of marijuana continues to remain illegal under federal law.
Defending Your Rights When You Are Charged with a Michigan Marijuana Offense
From the moment you become a suspect in a Michigan marijuana offense, both law enforcement and the prosecutor will vigorously pursue a conviction. It is imperative that you pursue your defense with equal vigor. The prosecution has the burden to prove your guilt. There are a number of areas that our Michigan marijuana defense attorney can concentrate on to try and prevent a conviction in your case. While each case is unique, some of things we may do as part of your defense include:
- Interviewing witnesses, including law enforcement officers
- Moving to suppress evidence introduced by the prosecution
- Analyzing for accuracy any tests that were conducted on you or on the marijuana seized
- Challenging a search or seizure if it was not legal
- Moving to dismiss charges that lack sufficient evidence to prosecute
- Negotiating to reduce charges to a lesser offense.
If your case goes to trial, our defense attorney is ready to aggressively defend you. If you decide that entering into a plea bargain is in your best interest, then we can negotiate an agreement that is as favorable to you as possible.