If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, it’s very important that you secure the help of a talented attorney who has experience and success in handling these cases. Unlike other crimes, cases involving drug charges have many different opportunities for successful defense, and not all attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle these cases.
There are many variants of drugs that are in some way illegal. These might include:
- Synthetic marijuana
- Stimulants like cocaine, crack, speed, or methamphetamine
- Narcotics or opioids like heroin, morphine, and codeine
- Prescription drugs for pain relief like Oxycontin or Vicodin
- Prescription drugs for attention disorders like Adderall and Ritalin
- Prescription drugs for sedation like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, Valium, or Xanax
- Designer or club drugs like ecstasy, Rohypnol, or GHB
- Hallucinogens like LSD, PCP, psilocybin mushrooms, and mescaline
- Inhalants like nitrous oxide, spray paint, and glue
- Anabolic steroids
- Bath salts
There are several different types of drug crimes, and each has its own nuanced approach for a successful defense. Crimes involving drugs might include:
- Use of controlled substance
- Possession of controlled substance
- Possession with intent to deliver controlled substance
- Delivery of controlled substance
- Manufacturing controlled substance
- Obtaining controlled substance by false prescription or fraud
- Operating a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, boat, or airplane while intoxicated by controlled substance
- Maintaining a drug house
- Use of controlled substance analogue
- Possession of controlled substance analogue
- Delivery of controlled substance analogue
- Use of imitation controlled substance
- Possession of imitation controlled substance
- Delivery of imitation controlled substance
- Possession of methamphetamine lab or laboratory equipment
- Sale of drug paraphernalia
Consequences of a Drug Conviction
The consequences of being convicted of drug crimes can be severe and can impact many facets of your life, including:
- Incarceration can include a few days in jail up to many years in prison depending on the severity of the crime. Incarceration can be doubled for a second offense and can be increased by habitual-felony laws. Incarceration is also impacted by the type of drug. For instance, marijuana crimes carry a much lighter sentence than methamphetamine crimes do. Also, some drug crimes permit consecutive sentencing for multiple convictions—one example is methamphetamine manufacturing and possession of methamphetamine laboratory equipment. Incarceration can also be impacted by the location of a crime, such as near a school or in a park.
- Loss of your driver’s license for at least 180 days is mandatory for all drug convictions, whether the conviction involves operation of a vehicle or not.
- You could be evicted.
- If you are an immigrant visiting the United States, you could be deported. This can happen with students or persons here on work visas.
- You could lose your federal funding for school.
- You could be denied admission to a school.
- You could lose a professional license or the opportunity to pursue certain careers like police, fire, law, nursing, or medicine.
- You could be fired from your job.
- If the charges involve parenting or impact on children, you could lose custody or even your parental rights.
- If police can tie your real property or personal property to drug trafficking, police could seize and keep or sell your property under drug-forfeiture laws. Favored things for police to seize under forfeiture laws include: homes, farms, cars, trucks, motor-homes, boats, farm implements, gun collections, televisions, stereos, furniture, jewelry, and cash.
Search and Seizure
More than any other criminal charges, cases involving drugs almost always involve a consideration of search and seizure law that requires your attorney to be schooled in the law and experienced in challenging police tactics. These considerations might include:
- Did police have reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop?
- Did police have probable cause to extend a traffic stop to a search and seizure?
- Were police lawfully in a place to seize evidence?
- Did police obtain a warrant to search, and if not, why not?
- Is a search warrant valid?
- Are police withholding vital information to protect the identity of a confidential informant?
- Did police properly obtain and execute a search warrant?
- Are the police evidence-collection and handling techniques proper?
Elements of the Crime
Many inexperienced attorneys will concentrate on obtaining a plea offer that they can sell to their clients before really examining the elements of the charged crimes and whether the police have sufficient evidence for the case. This kind of short-cut defense work is characteristic of court-appointed attorneys and attorneys who are willing to take too many cases for too little money. These considerations might include:
- Is there evidence of distribution, or are police only assuming distribution?
- Is the quantity and method of storing the drugs really indicative of distribution?
- Did the defendant even know that he or she had possession of drugs?
- Are the drugs even illegal, or is the police lab indicating an illicit drug based on supposition?
- Are the criminal charges falsely elevated to encourage a plea?
- Is there support for second-time drug offender or habitual sentencing?
- Is there a medical-marijuana defense to the case?
Opportunities for Resolution
Also, drug crimes can involve more opportunities to resolve a case. These opportunities might include:
- Holmes Youthful Trainee Act diversion, which involves successful completion of probation with a dismissal of the charges and no criminal record for a youthful offender
- Diversion under MCL 333.7411, which involves successful completion of probation with dismissal of the charges and no criminal record for a first-time offender
- Diversion to drug court, which might involve intense probation with a dismissal and no criminal charges for persons struggling with an addiction
- Delayed sentencing for cases where demonstration of counseling and sobriety over time might be an option for reduced charges
- Sentencing to Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program or similar programming as an alternative to incarceration for those who might benefit from education rather than incarceration.
Jeffrey M. Schroder and Kymberly R. Schroder are trained, experienced, and successful in defending drug cases, and they’ve together litigated hundreds of drug charges. Further, Jeff has experience treating persons with drug addiction in psychiatric settings, and he prosecuted drug crimes for several years; and Kymberly has experience handling drug dependency and substance abuse in the family-law setting for many years. You can count on Jeff and Kymberly to consider all of the many defenses, strategies, and opportunities that you might have. If you desire treatment or rehabilitation for drug abuse or dependency, we can refer you to local professionals who can help you, and we work with local professionals who have an interest in helping you without treating you like a criminal and without charging you exorbitant fees. We very much work with our clients to understand our clients’ needs, goals for success, and individual concerns. We will prepare your case for trial, challenge the evidence and criminal procedure when those opportunities arise, and negotiate your case with the prosecuting authorities. If your case impacts a family-law, parenting-time, or custody concern, we’ll be ready to defend you in that matter as well. More than anything, we will help you manage and maneuver in the legal system so that you have the best chances of success at trial, the best opportunities for good plea agreements, and are educated about your case and empowered to make your own decisions about the consequences that you are facing.
Contact us for a free consultation
If you have any questions or concerns about any of these issues, we will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
We invite you to call us—we would be more than happy to speak with you. If you prefer to email us, please fill out our contact form—your question or concern will be delivered directly and immediately to Jeffrey and Kymberly’s personal computers and cell phones.
After we speak with you about your issue, we may invite you to an in-person consultation at our office. These initial consultations, even initial in-person consultations at our office, are free. You won’t pay us an attorney fee before you develop a relationship with us and hear our initial advice and strategies for handling your concern.