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How firearm involvement in drug crimes leads to harsher penalties

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Felonies |

Many states, including Michigan, lay down harsher penalties when weapons are involved in the commission of a drug offense. This is because the combination of drugs and firearms is often associated with an increased risk of violence and public safety concerns. Hence, the law and courts often apply stricter legal consequences in cases like this.

Potential penalties

Here are some ways in which firearm involvement can lead to harsher penalties for drug crimes:

  • Mandatory minimum sentence: Many laws mandate minimum sentences for drug crimes committed with a firearm, which is usually longer than for drug offenses without a firearm. For example, Michigan mandates a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for the first offense of a felony firearm, which the convicted individual must serve consecutively with the sentence imposed for their drug crime.
  • Enhanced charges: The presence of a firearm in a drug crime can elevate the severity of the charge. For instance, a drug offense that might have been charged as possession can escalate to armed trafficking if a firearm is involved.
  • Impact on plea bargaining: The presence of a firearm in a drug crime can affect plea negotiations. Prosecutors might be less willing to offer plea deals or may offer less favorable terms if a firearm is involved.

These are only some of the ways penalties could shift when firearms are involved in a drug crime. The final legal consequences can still vary significantly based on the applicable state’s law and other circumstances surrounding the case.

Making informed decisions as the accused

If you are facing drug crime charges, especially if firearms are involved, it is crucial to speak to a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your rights and remedies. This will help you make informed decisions, build an effective defense and maintain your expectations as to the outcome.