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The repercussions of drug possession charges vary in severity depending on the type of drug, the amount of drugs found, and other factors, such as the location where the drugs were found. Separate criminal charges may also be brought for possession of drug-related paraphernalia (items such as syringes and marijuana pipes).
In Michigan, state law mandates that possession of even trace amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor. A conviction for marijuana possession is punishable by a fine, suspension of one’s driver’s license, and even jail time. In addition, many municipalities enforce their own ordinances related to possession of marijuana and/or other drugs. Possession of drugs such as cocaine or heroin is a felony, and conviction on such charges can lead to years in prison and heavy fines. The penalties for drug possession increase for those who are convicted more than once.
On the other hand, in Michigan, people who are found to possess drugs but have no prior convictions may receive a “conditional discharge,” in which case a judge would impose probation (with conditions such as attending a drug treatment program or performing community service) rather than jail time. In such cases, if a person complies with all of the conditions of probation, his or her criminal record will not reflect a drug-related charge; in addition, his or her driver’s license will not be suspended (as it would be following a drug-related conviction).
Depending on the circumstances, conditional discharge may also be available in cases where the charge is drug use, rather than possession. The penalties for drug use are generally lower than those for drug possession; however, in Michigan, using marijuana in a park may be punished with up to a 2-year prison sentence.
If you are facing any charges related to drug use or possession, you should discuss your case right away with an experienced criminal defense attorney who would be knowledgeable about the intricacies of the law and could help you have those charges dismissed or reduced, or help you limit the penalties that flow from a conviction or a plea to such charges. A criminal record can derail your future; don’t assume that there is nothing to be done to prevent it.
For a confidential evaluation of your case, and honest, experienced defense against charges of drug use or possession, please contact The Leydorf Law Firm at any time by calling (517) 388-6800.