The penalties for trafficking drugs are severe in Michigan. Small quantities of certain drugs can result in jail time and heavy fines, even without a prosecutor proving an intent to distribute. The penalties are harsher in cases when the prosecution can show that intent to distribute.
If you are facing Michigan drug trafficking charges or under investigation for a drug-related crime, you should talk to an attorney now. Call Lansing drug trafficking lawyer Tiffany DeBruin for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case today: 517-731-0353.
How A Lansing Drug Trafficking Lawyer May Protect You
Whether you’re facing charges from the federal or state authorities, working with an aggressive and knowledgeable law firm that has a deep understanding of drug trafficking laws and criminal procedure can make a world of difference. At DeBruin Law, PLLC, we can defend your interests using one or more of the strategies below:
- Assert that the court order the removal of evidence against you that was obtained illegally or without a proper warrant.
- Object to the prosecution’s evidence against you based on the rules of evidence and procedure.
- Argue that your arrest, detention or interrogation abridged your constitutional right to due process.
- Show that there is reasonable doubt about whether you committed the actions of which you are accused.
- Deny that you acted with criminal intent.
- Highlight mitigating factors for the judge at your sentencing hearing if you receive a guilty verdict.
A recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling gives judges more leeway since they are no longer bound to follow the sentencing requirements outlined in the penal code. This new rule may significantly affect your case and make it even more important to have a cohesive defense strategy.
Michigan’s Drug Trafficking Laws
In addition to § 333.7403 of Michigan’s Penal Code, which prohibits the possession of illegal drugs,
§ 333.7401 describes and explains the punishments for manufacturing or possessing these drugs with the intent to distribute. If you’re convicted for any offense outlined in the statute, you will have a felony entry on your criminal record. A criminal record lingers for potentially the rest of your life, affecting your ability to vote, apply for certain jobs or get a student loan.
For a Michigan drug trafficking charge to succeed in court, a prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed the drug illegally and with the intent to distribute it. The penalties can be harsh:
- For Schedule V drugs, such as Codeine or less than 100 milligrams of opium, you may face up to two years in prison and a possible fine of up to $2,000.
- For Schedule IV drugs, such as Valium or Xanax, you could receive a sentence of up to four years in prison along with a possible fine that can reach $2,000.
- For Schedule I, II or III drugs other than narcotics, cocaine or marijuana, you could get a sentence of seven years in prison and/or a possible reaching $10,000.
- For Ecstasy, MDMA or methamphetamine, you could get 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $25,000.
- For less than 50 grams of a Schedule I or II narcotic or cocaine, you could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
- For 50 to 450 grams of a Schedule I or II narcotic or cocaine, you could get a 20-year prison sentence and be ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000.
- For 450 to 1,000 grams of a Schedule I or II narcotic or cocaine, you could receive a sentence of 30 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $500,000.
- For 1,000 grams or more of a Schedule I or II narcotic or cocaine, the penalty could be life in prison and a possible fine of up to $1 million.
Although marijuana is a Schedule I substance, the penalties for possessing it with the intent to distribute are governed by a different section of § 333.7401:
- For less than five kilograms or 20 plants, the punishment can reach four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.
- For five to 450 kilograms or 20 to 200 plants, the penalty can be as high as seven years in prison, along with a possible fine of $500,000.
- For amounts exceeding 450 kilograms or 200 plants, you could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine reaching $10 million.
If you get caught in possession of a controlled substance and the prosecutor cannot show that you had the intent to distribute, you may still face harsh penalties just for having the drugs, as described in Michigan’s possession of controlled substance laws.
You Can Be Charged With Federal Drug Trafficking
Federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigate and assist in prosecuting drug cases. Usually, the federal agencies are more concerned with interstate and international trade. But owing to its geographic location, anyone trafficking in drugs in Michigan runs the risk of drawing the attention of federal agencies.
These federal agencies enforce the Controlled Substance Act, which categorizes psychoactive substances into five categories or schedules. Below is an overview of some of the more common drugs and the applicable punishments for trafficking them.
First Tier Of Federal Trafficking Charges
For your first offense, you may face between 10 years and life in prison. And if you kill or injure someone during your trafficking activities, your minimum sentence can be 20 years. The fine may reach $10 million for an individual and $50 million for organizations.
First-Tier Federal Trafficking Charges
- 5,000 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine mixture
- 280 grams or more of cocaine or base mixture
- 1,000 grams or more of heroin mixture
- 10 grams or more of LSD mixture
- 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, or 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture
- 100 grams or more of pure PCP, or more than 1000 grams of PCP mixture
- 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana buds, or more than 999 plants
For your second offense, you may receive a sentence between 20 years and life in prison. If someone dies or is injured due to your activities, you can receive an automatic life sentence. The fines can reach $20 million for people acting alone or $75 million to act in concert with others.
Second Tier Of Federal Trafficking Charges
For your first offense, you may receive a sentence between five and 40 years in prison, along with a fine of $5 million if you’re acting alone or $25 million if you’re part of an organization. If death or serious injury has resulted from your trafficking activities, the prison sentence may range between 20 years and life.
Second-Tier Federal Trafficking Charges
- 500 – 4,999 grams of cocaine mixture
- 28 – 279 grams of cocaine base mixture
- 100 – 999 grams of a heroin mixture
- One – 9 grams of LSD mixture
- Five – 49 grams of pure methamphetamine or 50 – 499 grams of a mixture
- 10 – 99 grams of pure PCP or 100 – 999 grams of PCP mixture
- 100 – 999 kilograms of marijuana buds, or 100 to 999 plants
For your second offense, you could receive a sentence between 10 years and life. The fines can reach $8 million for individuals and $50 million for organizations. If death or serious injuries have resulted from your drug trafficking, the prosecutor could ask the court to sentence you to life in prison.
Third Tier Of Federal Trafficking Charges And Marijuana-Specific Penalties
If you get caught with any amount of other Schedule I and II substances, such as Ecstasy, Oxycodone, and Vicodin, or with 50 to 99 marijuana plants, or 50 to 99 kilograms of buds, 10 kilograms or more of hashish, one kilogram or more of hashish oil, the first offense may result in up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals and $5 million for organizations. If death or serious injuries result from the trafficking, the sentence can be between 20 years and life.
For second offenders, the prison sentence can reach 30 years, unless death or serious injury has resulted from the trafficking, in which case the sentence can be life imprisonment. The fines can be as high as $2 million for individuals and $10 million for organizations.
Marijuana Trafficking In Michigan
Although marijuana is legal for recreational use, it is still a Schedule I drug. It has its own penalty scale for smaller quantities. If you get caught in possession of.
- Less than 50 kilograms of buds, or one to 49 plants
- Less than 10 kilograms of hashish
- Less than one kilogram of hashish oil
The first offense may get you up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for individuals and $5 million for organizations. For the second offense, you may receive up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 if you’re acting alone, or $2 million if you’re part of a trafficking organization.