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Size of possession can increase felony charges

| Jun 28, 2021 | Felonies |

All states have established harsh penalties for convictions on major drug charges involving large quantities of controlled substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine. However, Michigan may have the strictest penalty when sentencing those convicted. Additionally, the threshold for what the legislators have determined is a large quantity is very conservative in comparison to other states. And the more of the product the defendant is caught with, the higher the felony classification when being charged.

Chemical drug charge convictions

Michigan law sets the lower threshold for trafficking of chemicals at 50-450 grams when assessing a felony drug crime. This includes cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, but excludes marijuana. While all trafficking charges are felony crimes, charges are enhanced in classification when the amount is 1000 grams or more, which can be punishable by life in prison upon conviction. Cases involving amounts between 450 and 1000 grams can still carry up to 30 years incarceration, and both can carry very significant fines ranging between maximums of $250,000 to $500,000. Even amounts less than 50 grams can result in sentencing of up to 20 years in prison with a possible $25,000 fine.

Marijuana convictions

Due to a different consistency of the substance, marijuana is measured differently from chemicals when felony charges are being assessed. Amounts between 5 and 45 kilograms of marijuana can be punishable with up to seven years incarceration and a fine of up to $500,000, which is a deterrent unto itself. The plant threshold is 20 to 200 plants for the same felony drug crime classification. Amounts under five kilograms are also felonies and can be subject to up to four years incarceration with an additional $20,000 fine.

Even trafficking cases involving small amounts can lead to jail time and significant fines upon conviction. Because of the harsh reality associated with a conviction on a drug charge, it is always advisable to retain an aggressive criminal defense attorney when facing charges.