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Drug Possession Defense

Possession of Prescription Drugs in Michigan

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There are many myths surrounding laws pertaining to controlled/prescription drugs in Michigan. This can cause individuals in Michigan unknowingly run into legal trouble. If you are facing drug possession charges, it is important to enlist the help of aggressive legal representation that has a strong and successful background in fighting drug crimes. The consequences are severe, even for first time offenders.

Defense of Possession of Prescription Drugs in Michigan

Prosecutors may try to show intent to deliver or distribute

If you are currently facing charges, you most likely have serious questions including, what is considered a controlled substance? First of all, controlled substances are regulated by the government and include heroin, morphine, marijuana, methadone, and other prescription narcotic painkillers. Technically, over the counter drugs containing codeine are included in this category, although they are not aggressively penalized. The penalties for possession of prescription drugs in Michigan vary depending on the drug type and the amount of the drug found on your person at time of arrest. It is important to be aware that prosecutors may try to show intent to deliver or distribute drugs in these types of cases, making the punishment even worse.

The most addictive and abused prescription drugs

Michigan classifies drugs under “schedules.” Schedule I and II categories include the most addictive and abused prescription drugs. Regardless of which schedule your charge falls under, hiring a seasoned attorney is a wise decision, especially considering how serious Michigan takes crimes related to drug possession. Knowing the right questions to ask, an attorney with experience related to drug charges will be able to identify if mistakes were made at the time of arrest or if procedure was compromised in any way. They are also familiar and have built rapport with Michigan courts and judges and are well versed in procedure and protocol for these types of crime. When you consider all you have to lose, the decision to hire a top criminal defense attorney does not require much additional thought.

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Hefty fines, time in jail, loss of their driver’s license, and more

Regardless of the details in your personal case, you need an aggressive and experienced lawyer to help you craft an effective defense strategy. Having a very good defense lawyer gives you the greatest chance of avoiding jail and a conviction. Parties found guilty of drug charges face hefty fines, time in jail, loss of their driver’s license, and potentially loss of job and damage to career long-term. In order to adequately defend yourself against drug charges, you need top quality representative from Michigan’s finest.

Michigan drug crimes defense attorneys

If you or a loved one is accused of committing a felony or misdemeanor offense involving prescription medication or other controlled substances, we can help you. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has an unparalleled track-record of successfully defending clients throughout Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County and throughout Michigan. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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

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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 Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

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How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

You may find yourself undergoing required drug testing at some point in your life and wonder, “how long do drugs stay in your system?” Some employers require employees to participate in a drug test before and after being hired, while some individuals undergo drug testing as part of a DUI arrest, probation, or even as terms in a child custody arrangement.

Considering the high stakes, it is no wonder that a commonly searched question online happens to be “How long do drugs stay in your system?” The answer is, it depends on the drug. Marijuana, oxycodone, Vicodin, heroin, opium, and LSD all metabolize at differing rates. In the process of eliminating drugs from the body, kidneys play a key role, filtering out soluble drug metabolites out of the urine.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System

If you are trying to predict whether you will be able to pass a forthcoming drug test, you must also consider what type of drug testing you will undergo. For example, if you have ingested marijuana and are trying to predict whether you can pass a drug test, be aware that traces of the drug can stay in your urine anywhere from 7 to 30 days, remain 90 days in the hair, and 14 days in the blood.

This chart may be helpful to you:

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Additionally, your metabolism affects how quickly traces of a drug will be flushed from your system as well. An individual with a high metabolic rate will expel elements of drugs in the system much faster than an individual with a slower metabolism. Drug testing can be anxiety provoking for many reasons. If you worry you cannot pass a drug test and find yourself asking, “how long do drugs stay in your system?”, then this question should be part of a larger discussion with your legal counsel.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

We cannot stress enough the importance of enlisting reputable, experienced, and competent legal counsel no matter your legal situation. The lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are experienced and have represented countless clients facing charges of probation violation, drug possession, charged with a DUI, marijuana crimes, and other charges where drug testing may be required.

Do not hesitate to call us with additional questions at (248) 263-6800 or kindly complete a Request for Assistance Form and an experienced defense lawyer will promptly 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

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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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Life Without Parole for Repeat Pot Offender

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Missouri, like several other states, has a three strikes law. That means on your third offense, the sentence is life without parole.

In the case of Jeff Mizanskey, all three of his convictions involved possession and distribution of marijuana. Now, almost two decades later, even the prosecutor who put him away is calling for his release. When Missouri’s 3-strikes law is predicated on all-marijuana convictions, his life sentence does not seem fair.

Drug Crimes - Michigan

Society’s perception about marijuana laws have changed. Two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and nearly half of other states for legalized the use of medical marijuana. A pot related life sentence seems out of line.

The other side of the argument is that is the law in Missouri and therefore an obligation to follow it – or – take the appropriate steps to change the law.

There are times when the clear unfairness of sentencing forces change. This happened in Michigan with the drug lifer laws. Governor Engler signed a law nullifying the law, and retroactively allowing all inmates sentenced under that law to be eligible for parole.

As the legalization of marijuana unfolds over time across our nation, these extreme sentencing laws stand-out as markers of a failed prohibition policy. Following the letter of the law vs doing what is right under the circumstances is an age old struggle in our free society governed by laws.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Michigan criminal defense attorneys who are experts in state and federal sentencing laws.

When you are facing sentencing on any criminal offense, it is important that you have an expert attorney assist you in navigation of the process. There are many things that can be done, and should be done, to lessen the severity of a sentence. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are experts exclusively in the area of criminal law. We can help you deal with all areas of defending a person charged with a crime. Please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. with any questions you may have. We can be reached at (248) 263-6800 or submit a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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

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Changes in Federal Mandatory Drug Sentencing

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On August 12, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a Memorandum to United States Attorneys and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, in response to the United States Supreme Court case of Alleyene v United States, 133 S Ct 2151 (2013).  This case held that in order for a defendant to be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence, the charging document must include the elements of the crime that trigger such a sentence.  The obligation to make sure this is done properly is the federal prosecutors.  In this Memorandum, Attorney General Holder is announcing a change in Federal policy regarding mandatory minimum drug sentences for some federal offenders.

Consequences for Drug Possession Offense Charges

Prosecutors have discretion over charging decisions.  Current policy requires prosecutors to conduct an individualized assessment of the extent to which the charges fit the specific circumstances of the case, are consistent with Federal law, and maximize the impact of Federal resources.  Prosecutors must also take in to account numerous factors, such as defendant’s conduct and criminal history, the circumstances of the crime, the needs of the community and federal resources and priorities.

Sentencing changes have been made in response to the reality that long sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenses do not promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation.  Also rising prison costs have resulted in the reduction of spending on criminal justice initiatives, including spending on law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and prevention and intervention programs.  There is a finite amount of money and it needs to be spent more productively – and jailing low-level, non-violent offenders for a substantial periods of time is not accomplishing that.

The New Charging and Sentencing Policy

Prosecutors must continue to charge the more serious offense that is consistent with the nature of the defendant’s conduct, and that is likely to result in a sustainable conviction.  However, in cases where mandatory minimum sentencing applies based on drug type or quantity, prosecutors should decline to charge the quantity necessary to trigger mandatory minimum sentences if a defendant meets each of the following:

  • The Defendant’s relevant conduct does not involve the use of violence, the credible threat of violence, the possession of a weapon, the trafficking of drugs to or with minors, or the death or serious bodily injury of any person;
  • The Defendant is not an organizer, leader, manager or supervisor of others within a criminal organization.
  • The Defendant does not have significant ties to large-scale drug trafficking organizations, gangs, or cartels; and
  • The Defendant does not have a significant criminal history.

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Timing and Plea Agreements

If information sufficient to determine that a Defendant meets the new charging criteria is available at the time the initial charges are filed a prosecutor should decline to pursue charges triggering a mandatory minimum sentence.  If there is insufficient information at the time the initial charges are filed, than prosecutors should file involving mandatory minimum sentencing.  If it is later determined that the defendant meets the criteria, prosecutors should dismiss the original charges and re-file charges that do not trigger mandatory minimum sentencing.

Prosecutor’s Advocacy at Sentencing

Attorney General Holder stated in his Memorandum that the United States Attorneys and the Assistant Attorneys General must candid with the court, probation and the public as to the full extent of the defendant’s culpability, including the quantity of drugs involved in the offense and the amount that was attributable to the defendant.  Prosecutors should also continue to accurately calculate the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

Enhancements for Repeat Offenders

The memorandum addresses repeat offenders and states that prosecutors should not file charges triggering a mandatory minimum sentence unless the defendant is involved in conduct that makes the case appropriate for severe sanctions.  Prosecutors are instructed to look at, among other things, whether the defendant was a leader within a criminal organization, was there a threat or use of violence in connection with the offense, defendant’s prior criminal history and if it includes violent crimes.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Navigating the criminal justice system is daunting, and even more so if done without the assistant of a federal criminal defense lawyer.  There are many criminal defense attorneys in Michigan, but few that have experience with the criminal law in the Federal court system.  The differences between State court and Federal court are significant enough that you should have a criminal defense attorney that is familiar with Federal court represent you.  The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have experience with in the Federal Court system representing individuals charged with federal and misdemeanor crimes, as well as individuals charged in cases involving multiple defendants.  If you have any questions or wish to speak to one of our highly experienced attorneys please contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and someone 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.