Possession or sale of drug paraphernalia is a crime in Michigan
Possession or sale of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense in Michigan. A person may be charged with the offense “possession of drug paraphernalia” even though the person does not possess any drugs at the same time. Most items the law considers drug paraphernalia are harmless and not otherwise illegal. However, when the items are associated with past or present illegal drug use, criminal charges may be pursued.
The ramifications of a criminal record, even for a minor offense, can last a lifetime. A criminal record can have a negative impact on travel, employment, educational opportunities, loans and leases. In this article, we explain how an attorney can help you or a loved one avoid a criminal record for a drug crime.
Making the assumption that a drug paraphernalia charge is not a big deal is a big mistake. By rushing to the courthouse to plead guilty without a lawyer, you will wind up with a criminal record. If you are facing any criminal matter, talk to a lawyer first about your options and whether there is an efficient way to out of the system clean with a clean record!
Michigan’s drug paraphernalia statute
According to Michigan’s drug paraphernalia law, MCL 333.7451, Drug paraphernalia means any equipment, product, material, or combination of equipment, products, or materials, which is specifically designed for use in planting; propagating; cultivating; growing; harvesting; manufacturing; compounding; converting; producing; processing; preparing; testing; analyzing; packaging; repackaging; storing; containing; concealing; injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance; including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(a) An isomerization device specifically designed for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which plant is a controlled substance.
(b) Testing equipment specifically designed for use in identifying or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance.
(c) A weight scale or balance specifically designed for use in weighing or measuring a controlled substance.
(d) A diluent or adulterant, including, but not limited to, quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose, and lactose, specifically designed for use with a controlled substance.
(e) A separation gin or sifter specifically designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, marihuana.
(f) An object specifically designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marihuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body.
(g) A kit specifically designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived.
(h) A kit specifically designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances.
(i) A device, commonly known as a cocaine kit, that is specifically designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances into the human body, and which consists of at least a razor blade and a mirror.
(j) A device, commonly known as a bullet, that is specifically designed to deliver a measured amount of controlled substances to the user.
(k) A device, commonly known as a snorter, that is specifically designed to carry a small amount of controlled substances to the user’s nose.
(l) A device, commonly known as an automotive safe, that is specifically designed to carry and conceal a controlled substance in an automobile, including, but not limited to, a can used for brake fluid, oil, or carburetor cleaner which contains a compartment for carrying and concealing controlled substances.
(m) A spoon, with or without a chain attached, that has a small diameter bowl and that is specifically designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances into the human body.
Making it a priority to know how these items can be used to facilitate drug use may help a parent or friend to recognize that a loved one is abusing drugs. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal case for possession of drug paraphernalia, or any other drug crime, getting a lawyer to fight for dismissal should also be a high priority.
Defending Drug Paraphernalia Cases
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime which is classified as a misdemeanor. In Michigan, misdemeanor cases such as possession of drug paraphernalia, are handled in the district courts. There are 9 district courts in the county of Macomb as follows:
Possession of drug paraphernalia does not belong on your criminal record. Even if you do not have a drug abuse problem, you will have a hard time convincing others that may have access to your record. There are many neat and efficient ways to resolve possession of drug paraphernalia in the Macomb County District Courts to get it DISMISSED. The following provisions of law are widely used to get eligible crimes DISMISSED:
- Consent calendar (age 17 and under): A name given for a juvenile disposition that results in NO RECORD and NO CONVICTION
- HYTA (age 18 but before age 26): The HYTA statute is only available for youthful offenders to get eligible criminal matters DISMISSED with NO PUBLIC RECORD.
- Deferral: A deferral is typically used pursuant to MCL 771.1 to allow a person to earn a dismissal or other leniency after a period of compliance. At the end of the period (1 year for example), which is known as the deferral period, a criminal matter is subject to leniency, dismissal or reduction of the charge(s).
What if drugs are found by the police along with drug paraphernalia
Possession of drug paraphernalia rarely happens by itself and it often accompanied with other criminal charges, such as possession of illegal drugs and maintaining a drug house. Drugs are classified from Schedule 1 to Schedule 5. Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine. All Schedule 1 drug possession crimes are felonies which can carry long term imprisonment and substantial fines. Most drug possession crimes are felonies requiring criminal felony representation. The penalties for illegal “possession” of drugs are as follows:
- Possession of heroin and cocaine can carry up to 4 years in prison and up to a $25,000.00 fine.
- Possession of ecstasy and methamphetamine can carry up to 10 years in prison and up to a $15,000.00 fine.
- Possession of analogues (Xanax, Adderall) without a valid prescription can carry up to 2 years in prison.
Getting a local experienced Macomb County drug crime attorney is a good first step if you are looking to get your drug charges dismissed. MCL 333.7411 is specifically meant to be used for any misdemeanor or felony drug crime involving “use or possession” of drugs, but not for drug crimes involving “delivery or manufacturing”. We can also consent calendar, HYTA and MCL 771.1 to get a drug crime dismissed or reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Search without a warrant based upon plain view or consent
Drug paraphernalia and drug crimes are almost always based upon a search and seizure that is conducted by the police. A search of a person or motor vehicle requires the police to have a warrant or other legal grounds to conduct a search without a warrant. A warrant is not required if something is in “plain view” or if the police obtain voluntary “consent” to conduct a search by someone with proper authority. In order to conduct a consent search, the person whose property is being searched must voluntarily waive his or her Fourth Amendment rights. However, the police do not always follow the rules when conducting a consent search. A consent search can be fought on the grounds that the police used unfair tactics or threats to get consent. Continue reading ›