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Federal drug trafficking laws and penalties for Michigan offenders

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

If the law enforcement team finds someone with a specified amount of any illegal drug in Michigan, they can face a drug trafficking charge, even if they didn’t purchase, sell or transport those drugs. In addition, the federal government might take over the case in some instances, which can result in harsher penalties.

Drug trafficking in Michigan

The amount of drugs involved in federal drug trafficking charges determines whether someone will face state or federal charges. If the amount exceeds a certain threshold, typically set by state legislatures, it’s considered trafficking. For example, in Michigan, just possessing more than 50 grams of heroin or cocaine can result in a drug trafficking charge.


If the federal courts convict someone of trafficking drugs in Michigan, they can face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Probation is also possible in some trafficking cases, but only as part of a plea bargain where the defendant pleads guilty to felony drug crimes for a lesser charge.

In Michigan, the penalties for drug trafficking are also harsher if the offense occurs near a school or park. The state legislature has designated these areas as “drug-free zones.” If the drug trafficking occurred within 1,000 feet of a school or park, the offender might face double the prison time and fines.

There are several possible defenses against federal drug trafficking charges in Michigan. One is that the amount of drugs involved does not meet the state’s threshold for trafficking. For example, if the amount of heroin is 49.9 grams, the court cannot charge the offender with trafficking. Another defense is that the person did not know the drugs were present or that they were illegal. Finally, the government might not be able to prove that the person transported the drugs, which is required for a conviction.