Are Drug Charges Considered Felonies in Michigan?
If you have recently been caught by the police with illegal drugs, it's only natural to wonder how much trouble you're really in. There are plenty of media depictions of people getting caught with small amount of drugs receiving large fines and hefty jail times. The truth, however, is a lot more complicated and will need to be parsed out by a good criminal defense lawyer. Here is what to know about drug charges.
The Different Factors
Determining how much trouble you're in is dependent on a host of factors, including what you were doing when you got caught, how much of the substance you had on you, and what type of drug it was. These three factors will determine if your offense is a misdemeanor or a felony, which will ultimately determine your sentencing guidelines.
Misdemeanor Versus Felony Charges
Misdemeanor drug offenses usually carry less severe penalties than felony offenses. Generally, misdemeanors are reserved for crimes such as carrying a small amount of drugs, carrying drugs that are considered to be less dangerous or of less interest to the states, and drug usage that did not affect other people.
How Misdemeanors Become Felonies
The amount of drugs that can be found on a person that will make a misdemeanor charge into a felony charge varies based on the substance. For example, the law usually allows a person to possess a higher amount of marijuana than crystal meth. Some drugs, such as cocaine and crack, have a very small amount that a person can possess before the offense becomes a felony. These amounts can vary based on the circumstances in which the drugs were found, the concentration of the drug, and whether or not the drug was found with other drugs.
The Factors of Possession
The type of drug that you were in possession of can also determine the line between a misdemeanor and felony. The amount a person can have before they are charged with a felony is based on the idea of whether the drug was for personal use or if the person being charged was selling drugs. Generally, being charged with intent to sell or distribute drugs is an automatic felony charge.
The Factors of Circumstance
Finally, a prosecutor who is determining what you will be charged with will consider the circumstances under which the drugs were found. Typically, circumstances that did not involve or hurt other people will carry less severe penalties than those that did. Circumstances that involve children or vulnerable adults will almost always result in felony charges.
If you have been charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony due to drug possession, be sure to consult with a criminal defense lawyer right away. They will try to help you to secure a lesser punishment and be an important guide.