Across the United States, opioid abuse is on the rise at unprecedented rates. National Public Radio reports on the designation of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency by the Trump Administration. Governors of several states have declared their own states of emergency in order to access state and federal funding to combat the problem. As opioid abuse continues to lead to drugged driving accidents, drug overdoses and other public health hazards, criminal laws across the country are changing to impose harsher penalties for the illegal possession of opioid drugs. Michigan defendants who are charged with such possession face both financial and legal consequences. A Michigan criminal defense attorney can protect your constitutional rights throughout the criminal case process.
The Fines and Jail Time Michigan Defendants Face For Drug Possession
Section 333.7403 of the Michigan Compiled Laws codifies the penalties for the possession of controlled substances in Michigan. The penalty a defendant faces is determined by (1) the controlled substance possessed, and (2) the amount of the substance the defendant possessed. Schedule II substances, such as opioids, are subject to the following penalties for illegal possession:
- For possession of up to 50 grams, a defendant faces up to four years in prison, a fine of $25,000, or both. Possession of even less than 50 grams is a felony.
- For possession of more than 50 grams, but less than 450 grams, a defendant faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
- For possession of more than 450 grams, but less than 1000 grams, a defendant faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both.
- For possession of 1000 grams or more, a defendant faces a sentence of up to life in prison. The defendant can also be fined up to one million dollars, or sentenced to both prison and a fine.
These harsh penalties demonstrate how seriously the State of Michigan treats the illegal possession of opioid drugs.
Real Cases Out of Michigan
In many cases, the illegal possession of opioid drugs is only one of many crimes which occur together. Opioid possession can, for example, cause a defendant to drive while impaired. Some crimes are even more dangerous to society. MLive reports on four defendants who were sentenced to prison as the result of a sex and drug trafficking ring which spread throughout several Michigan counties. Opioids such as heroin are often used to control forced sex workers, the Attorney General’s office told MLive. The presence of opioids in such related offenses is yet another reason why the law treats illegal drug possession so harshly.
The severity of a drug offense can vary greatly with the amount of drug possessed, whether there was an intent to sell, and other related crimes which were alleged to have occurred along with the drug possession. Because of this, it is important for defendants accused of drug offenses to seek experienced legal advice from an attorney who can defend important constitutional protections throughout the criminal case process. Consult with a Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after any arrest related to drugs.