Our country is in the midst of an opioid crisis. In recent years, the number of deaths related to prescription narcotic painkillers has increased substantially. At the same time, demand for and deaths from heroin have been on the rise. Both law enforcement and lawmakers have been taking steps to reduce the impact that opioids, opiates and heroin have on communities.
That can mean seeking serious criminal charges against people who were perhaps doing something foolish but innocent. If you have run afoul of the law for selling or even giving away prescription medication, you should inform yourself about the possible consequences.
Trafficking or delivering controlled substances in Michigan can result in felony charges
There are many reasons why someone could find themselves facing drug trafficking charges in Michigan. Maybe you got hurt at work and received a prescription for too many painkillers.
Even though you were feeling better, you still had pills left. You also have a week’s worth of missing wages and substantial medical costs from that injury. Selling the extra pills could seem like a great way to make up some of that lost money.
In some cases, you might know a loved one who is struggling with an injury or illness without access to health care. In that scenario, you may consider giving your medication away to them as an act of kindness or charity. In either of those situations, you could be held criminally liable. This is particularly true if the person who takes the pills commits a crime, causes an accident or unintentionally overdoses.
The weight of the pills you sell or give away will influence the charges
Michigan criminal law is very clear about how to penalize those accused of trafficking a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 narcotic drug. Generally speaking, any amount of pills that you sell or give to another could bring you a felony trafficking charge. For weight under 50 grams, you could face up to 20 years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines.
For those accused of trafficking more than 50 grams but less than 450 grams, the jail sentence remains the same, but the potential fine increases to $250,000. For amounts over 450 grams but less than a kilogram, the potential jail sentence increases to 30 years, while the fine goes up to as much as $500,000.
Finally, those accused of trafficking a kilogram or more of a narcotic could face life in prison and a million-dollar fine. Clearly, those are serious consequences. That is particularly true for those who have sold or delivered larger quantities of medications. Educating yourself about the consequences can help you make informed decisions about how to approach your pending criminal charges.