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Drug Crime Conviction Defense

Possessing Drugs within a School Zone

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The recent cases of People v. English (COA No. 330389) and People v. Smith (COA No. 330390) settled the somewhat murky question of whether or not proof of possessing a controlled substance within a school zone can warrant an enhanced sentence. Interestingly enough, the two cases determined that if a defendant possessed drugs within a school zone and planned to sell the drugs on-campus, this would be enough to elicit an enhanced statutory penalty. However, without any proof of intent to sell the drugs in question, the penalty does not and cannot be applied.

In the case of the People v. English, police found drugs and drug paraphernalia while searching the defendant’s property. Where MCL 333.7410 comes into play is that English’s property happened to be within 1,000 feet of a high school. The court case of the People v. Smith presented similar facts. Smith was found with drug and related paraphenelia in his apartment and car – also within 1,000 feet of a school zone.

Possession with Intent to Deliver within 1,000 Feet of a School

The Public Health Code, MCL 333.7410 asserts that any individual over 18 years old who is caught possessing drugs within 1000 feet of school property with the intention to deliver or sell those drugs will be required to serve a prison sentence no less than 2 years in length. The code is both vague and ambiguous. In both cases, the question was whether or not this code applied to the defendants. Ultimately, charges were dropped against both English and Smith after their cases clarified the legislature’s initial intention of the “within 1,000 feet of school property” stipulation. In order for MCL 333.7410 to be appropriate in these cases, a defendant would have to intend to sell drugs to a person within 1,000 feet of the school. Essentially, the proximity of the individual buying the drugs to the school was established as the critical fact in holding the defendants liable versus the proximity of the drugs to the school. With no proof of intent to sell the drugs within 1,000 feet of the high school campus, the charges had to be dropped.

Possessing Drugs Within a School Zone

An Experienced Defense Lawyer Can Make the Difference

Thanks to the representation by aggressive and seasoned lawyers, charges were dropped against both Smith and English. Both teams of defense attorneys were able to prove that their respective clients had no intention of delivering or selling the drugs within 1,000 feet of school property. What is the difference between the hundreds of people who have been convicted of this crime and the defendants whose charges were dismissed? Great lawyers! If you currently find yourself facing drug-related charges, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can help you. Our firm is widely regarded as an outstanding Michigan law firm. The firm’s team of lawyers can use their experience, reputation and foresight to fight tirelessly and successfully for your freedom.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance form and we will promptly contact you.

 

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How Might Donald Trump’s Presidency Impact Federal Prosecution of Marijuana Cases?

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With the inauguration of Donald Trump a mere weeks away, many have begun to speculate what impact his presidency will have on America. Throughout Trump’s campaign, his stance on some issues remained ambiguous with his attitude on drugs and marijuana being no exception, leading many to ask, how might Donald Trump’s presidency impact federal prosecution of marijuana cases? While it’s impossible to predict the future, we certainly can speculate.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in many Americans’ attitudes regarding medical and recreational marijuana. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some form, whether legalizing marijuana for recreational or medicinal use or both. Public opinion regarding marijuana and the threat it poses to society has changed significantly among not only democrats but conservative republicans as well. Support for legalizing marijuana is at an all time high among Americans, causing many to wonder if Trump’s presidency can withstand or influence popular opinion among voters.

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Will Trump’s presidency impact federal prosecution of marijuana cases? Donald Trump has recently nominated members to his cabinet who have been quite outspoken against legalizing marijuana, specifically Jefferson Sessions to the position of attorney general, causing many to think that the federal prosecution will be tougher on marijuana cases.

Despite calling cabinet members who have been staunchly opposed legalizing marijuana, hopefully Trump’s presidency will have little impact on the federal prosecution of marijuana cases. Trump has stated that he supports medical marijuana and has made no real stand against its use. He has stated in the past that the legalization of marijuana is an issue that should be handled at the state level. Trump’s priorities seem to remain in immigration and the economy, with his opinions and plans for blocking the movement toward legalizing marijuana kept unknown. It is hard to imagine President-elect Trump putting himself out of favor with his constituents now on this issue.

 

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Drug Recognition Expert for OWPD

Drug Recognition Expert for OWPD

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Recently law enforcement officers and prosecutors had an opportunity to participate in specialized training to enhance their abilities to detect and arrest drugged drivers during the state’s first Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) course.

This is an intensive 3-week course where DRE’s are trained to recognize signs of impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol. They are also trained to identify the category, or categories, of drugs causing the impairment. There is a 12 step evaluation process to make this determination.

The first two phases of the course took place in Lansing, the third phase took place at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona. This is because the Jail processes an average of 900 inmates per day and the participants in the program have a chance at hands-on drug evaluations for all seven drug categories, which is a requirement of the course.

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This program started in the 1970’s and is supported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nationally, 18 percent of all drivers killed in automobile accidents in 2009 tested positive for drugs according to NHTSA. In Michigan, 20 percent of drivers killed tested positive for drugs.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys able to defend against law enforcement specialized training

It is already difficult to defend yourself against a police officer who has the support and financial backing of the government, it is even more difficult to defend yourself against a police officer who has had specialized training. When it comes to a Drug Recognition Expert for OWPD, few lawyers have the experience to effectively defend you. You need to have an experienced attorney be your defense, and protector, against the power and training of law enforcement.

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The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are those attorneys. Our attorneys have decades of experience defending people charged with crimes. Our attorneys regularly participate in continuing legal education, seminars, and specialized training in order to stay one step ahead of prosecutors and police. If you need help, please call the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form we will contact you.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

NEW LAWS TO ADDRESS METH PRODUCTION IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

By | Drug Crime Conviction Defense, Drug Possession Charges, Drug Possession Defense | No Comments

Governor Rick Snyder recently signed three new bills into law, aimed at curbing meth production in the State of Michigan. These laws are intended to make it more difficult to produce methamphetamine by preventing people from buying small amounts of medication, key ingredients in meth production that are normally used to treat colds, from numerous stores.

Three new laws aimed at curbing ‘smurf’ involvement

This legislation consists of three new laws, House Bill 5363, House bill 5089 and House Bill 5090, each part of a seven-bill package dealing with meth production and offenses in the state of Michigan.

1) Prohibits buying and/or possessing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine knowing it will be used to cook meth; subject to 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

2) Makes it a crime to ask another person to buy either ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

3) Classifies that soliciting someone to buy ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, to be used as meth components, is a felony carrying a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Consequences for Drug Possession Offense Charges

These three new laws are aimed at the people known as ‘smurfs’. These are often young people who purchase ingredients used in meth production, under new legislation these ‘smurfs’ will be held more accountable, and the relationship between drug ringleader and ‘smurfs’ will be subject to harsher penalties.

Part of a wider system of illegal drug production prevention

These laws go into effect in January, and this package of legislation also creates a meth offenders database and requires police to report meth convictions to a national database that tracks real time pharmacy sales. Under this new act, the system will alert a pharmacist should a person attempting to purchase these ingredients has been convicted of a meth related offense in the past 10 years, in which case such an individual could only purchase medication with a prescription.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Michigan drug defense attorneys

If you, or someone you know, is charged with a drug-related misdemeanor or felony, you will need a Michigan Drug Defense Attorney. It is important to have expert legal counsel by your side and the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. can help. We have decades of experience dealing with drug related offenses. We will do everything possible to help you and we are not afraid to win! If you have any questions, please contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will promptly contact you.

 

“We Are Not Afraid To Win”
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

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Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed

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Possession of Marijuana and Other Drugs with a Firearm

While Michigan, has passed laws legalizing the recreational use and possession of marijuana it is still not legal on a federal level. Although it is debatable whether the federal government will prosecute those who possess marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, it is fairly clear that those who possess or use marijuana instantly give up their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Under current federal law, any person who uses an illegal controlled substance does not have the right to possess firearms or ammunition in any way. Even those who are using an illegal controlled substance legally and with a prescription still technically are breaking the federal law.

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Near the beginning of his term in office, President Barack Obama said he didn’t wish to push federal prosecution against people from states with laws permitting the use of marijuana. In October 2009, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden circulated a policy memo that confirmed Obama’s earlier statements. The possession of a firearm could clearly result in a federal prosecution when one would otherwise not result.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys are bracing for a case where the United States steps in to prosecute what would otherwise be a misdemeanor possession of marijuana by a person lawfully in possession of a firearm. A charge with a firearm would be a felony in federal court.

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Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed

Possible penalties for drug-related offenses when firearms are involved:

  • a 1st offense involving a firearm, generally not less than 5 years in the Bureau of Prisons
  • if a firearm is brandished, not less than 7 years in prison
  • if a firearm is discharged, not less than 10 years in prison
  • if a firearm is a short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, or semiautomatic assault weapon, not less than 10 years
  • if a firearm is a machine gun or destructive device, or equipped with a silencer/muffler, not less than 30 years
  • 2nd or subsequent offense involving a firearm, generally not less than 25 years in prison

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A Successful and Powerful Defense to Federal Drug and Firearms Charges

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully representing clients on drug and firearms charges in federal and state court in Michigan.  The Assistant United States Attorneys in Michigan are some of the most aggressive and skilled prosecutors in the country and not many defense lawyers are up to the task of fearlessly defending a client in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. When you need the assistance of a defense lawyer who will do whatever it takes to get you the best possible outcome, call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. If you complete a Request for Assistance Form, a defense attorney will contact you promptly.

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“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.