Some of the more common offenses that criminal defendants face are those involving drugs. The most common charge involving drugs is simple possession. The next most serious group of drug offenses are deliveries, which is the transfer of those drugs to another person. This post will cover the very basics of each.
In Michigan, drug laws are covered primarily by the Health Code. Drugs that are “controlled” are placed into schedules by the pharmacy board. How a drug is scheduled depends on its potential for abuse and whether or not it has a medically acceptable use. These schedules are labeled one through five and are arranged from most potential for addiction to least. As one might imagine, the penalties also become more serious from schedule five to one.
In Michigan, the possession of a drug can be in two different ways. The confusion that many people have is when they are in possession with respect to the law. Possession can be literal, as in the drugs are in your pocket or hand right now; or possession can be constructive, just like you are in possession of your clothing in your closet at home right now, even if you’re actually someplace else. Possession can also be joint, whereas, more than one person can simultaneously be in possession of the same drug. Possession cases are very fact sensitive and should be reviewed by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Drug cases that are more serious than possession are deliveries or possession with intent to deliver. In layman’s terms, this is drug dealing. Selling or even giving away certain drugs, especially those that are scheduled, is illegal without the authorization to do so. Some drugs are never ok to deliver, like heroin or methamphetamine. Others are lawful to be delivered, but must be done within the constraints of the law, i.e. doctors and pharmacists. With possession with intent to deliver, the charge is made that the suspect had the drug in their possession and the plan was to sell it (although proof of a “sale” isn’t required). The plan to deliver can be proven based upon surrounding circumstances, and like possession, are very fact sensitive and should be reviewed by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
A drug conviction on your record has a devastating effect. It can stop you from getting student loans, jobs, licenses, and even housing. You could also go to prison. If you or someone you know is facing a drug charge, please contact Terry or Andy at Nolan Law Offices, PLLC immediately.
Written by Nolan Law Offices, PLLC attorney Andy LaPres