The penalties for possessing illegal drugs in Michigan vary widely based on the substance and amount involved. The most serious penalties are reserved for individuals found in possession of Schedule I or II controlled substances. Schedule I drugs are highly addictive substances with no known medical use. Heroin, Ecstasy and LSD are considered Schedule I drugs. Schedule II drugs are highly addictive substances that do have legitimate medical applications. Oxycodone, fentanyl and amphetamines are all Schedule II drugs.
Drug possession penalties
Possessing even small quantities of these drugs is a felony offense in Michigan, and the penalties are severe. Possessing 1,000 or more grams of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance can lead to a custodial sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Possessing between 450 and 999 grams of these drugs is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. The maximum prison sentence is 20 years and the maximum fine is $250,000 for individuals convicted of possessing between 50 and 449 grams of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, and possessing less than 50 grams of Schedule I or II drugs can be punished by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Schedule II controlled substances are drugs that have proven medical uses. This means that individuals found in possession of even large amounts of them may be spared criminal prosecution if they can provide a valid prescription written by a licensed physician. A valid prescription could also prevent a marijuana possession prosecution in Michigan despite the drug’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance. This is because lawmakers in the state have approved its use for medical purposes.
Challenging drug seizures
Most individuals charged with drug possession in Michigan are taken into custody after police discover controlled substances during residence or vehicle searches. Experienced attorneys may seek to have drug charges dismissed if a review of the facts suggests that police officers may have conducted warrantless searches without probable cause.