Possession of Prescription Drugs in Michigan
Possession of prescription drugs that were not obtained directly from a medical practitioner in the course of his or her practice or pursuant to a valid prescription is a crime in Michigan. Though many people believe that possession of “legal drugs” is less serious than possession of street drugs, that is not necessarily the case.
The classification of the crime of drug possession and the penalties associated with that crime depend upon the controlled substance schedules, the components of the drug and the quantity possessed. A conviction for unlawful possession of prescription drugs may also have indirect consequences, such as limitations on international travel, restriction of access to certain loans and grants and decreased employment opportunities.
Fortunately, being charged with possession of prescription drugs doesn’t necessarily mean being convicted of possession of prescription drugs. Attorney Tara L. Sharp has the experience to assess your case, identify your best defense and advocate for you.
Conditional Discharge for Possession of Prescription Drugs
Some first offenders will qualify for a conditional discharge of drug possession charges. In a conditional discharge agreement, the defendant enters a guilty plea, but the court does not enter a judgment of conviction. Instead, the defendant is place on probation, with special terms such as working a drug treatment program.
If the defendant successfully fulfills all conditions of probation, the case is dismissed without entry of a conviction. This allows the defendant to avoid a criminal record and all of the indirect consequences of conviction.
It’s important to note, though, that a guilty plea is entered before the term of probation begins. If the defendant fails to adhere to the terms of probation, the court may enter a judgment of conviction on the basis of the guilty plea, without further proceedings. So, choosing to accept a conditional discharge means waiving the right to pursue other defenses.
When you retain Sharp and Storm, PLLC to represent you, we’ll assess the strength or weakness of the case against you, explain other possible defenses and help you determine the best course of action for your future.
Defenses to Possession of Prescription Drugs
Challenging the Evidence of Possession
There are two broad categories of challenges to evidence of possession of prescription drugs or other controlled substances:
- Attacking the evidence as insufficient to establish possession beyond a reasonable doubt—for example, where drugs were found in space shared with several roommates and there is no direct evidence tying them specifically to the defendant.
- Attacking the process by which the evidence was obtained—for example, asserting that the officer who discovered the drugs lacked probable cause for the search.
When the state’s case appears to be weak on either of these issues, you’ll have options. You and your attorney may choose to take the case to trial, or your lawyer may use the weaknesses in the case against you to negotiate for a favorable resolution such as a conditional discharge.
Exceptions to Prescription Drug Possession Statutes
Michigan law explicitly excepts certain people in possession of controlled substances from prosecution. These exceptions are intended to ensure that young people faced with life-threatening situations are not discouraged from seeking medical attention for themselves or others.
A person under the age of 21 who:
- Seeks medical assistance for himself or a third party
- Because of a drug overdose or other “perceived medical emergency” resulting from the use of a prescription drug
- Possessing only a quantity consistent with personal use
is deemed not to be in violation of the statute if the evidence of such violation was obtained as a result of the individual seeking or being presented for medical assistance.
Don’t Face Prescription Drug Possession Charges Alone
Unauthorized possession of prescription drugs can carry serious penalties and have consequences for the rest of your life. If you’ve been charged with prescription drug possession, get help right now, before you make any further decisions or your case progresses any further. Call us today at 269-978-6560.