Possession of Marijuana

In Michigan, if you have been charged with possession of drugs, whether it’s possession of marijuana, you are in serious trouble.  Both the Michigan Legislature and the Courts have taken an extremely hard line on people simply possessing marijuana.  For instance, there are judges throughout Michigan will sentence you to jail for having a joint in your vehicle ashtray.  Because of this, it is vital that if you find yourself charged with possession of marihuana, you know how to fight in order to win your case.

WHAT IS POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA?

Even though the people of Michigan took great strides in legalizing marijuana with the passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, “tough” judges and overzealous prosecutors have tried every possible method to stop people’s use of marijuana, even with a valid prescription.  Although there are some differences in defense strategy when dealing with a medical marijuana case, we at Amberg & Amberg use complex strategy and legal argument to attempt to win these types of cases. 

For instance, many times our client’s are caught in a vehicle where there is marijuana found in the center console.  First, we look to determine whether the cops had a valid reason to stop the car.  Second, we then view whether the police had a constitutional basis to take you out of the vehicle.  Third, we see whether the officer had valid consent to search the vehicle.  Fourth, we analyze whether there is sufficient evidence to link you to whatever was found in the vehicle.  We have won each of these issues many times in possession of marijuana cases.

The crime of Possession of Marihuana is governed by MCL 333.7403(2)(d) which indicates that a conviction for possession of marijuana may result in a sentence of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.00.  There is also a lesser charge of Use of Marihuana which is governed by MCL 333.7404(2)(a) and offers a possible sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $100.00 for simply using marijuana.  In addition to all of this, the Legislature in MCL 333.7408a(1) has decided that any conviction for any type of marijuana possession case will result in the loss of your license for a period of 6 months, although we have certain methods to obtain a restricted license in the event this happens.

DEFENSES

There are many defenses to the charge of possession of marijuana in Michigan.  As stated above, you have numerous Constitutional protections in which the officers have likely forgotten about when they arrested you.  Also, the issue of whether you actually “possessed” anything is an often overlooked defense.  If you have your marijuana card, there are affirmative defenses that you have to make in order to protect you from the prosecutors and cops trying to stop you from using your medicine.  As with most charges, the defenses available are wide ranging and depend entirely on the facts of each case.  

MCL 333.7411 AND HYTA

Although there are many defenses to a possession of marihuana charge, there are also sentencing alternatives which come into play depending on the circumstances.  For instance, MCL 333.7411 will allow you to take your charge under advisement and if probation is completed successfully, your charges are dismissed and you get to keep your driver license.  Also, MCL 762.11, also known as the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, will allow you to take the possession of marijuana charge under advisement.

WHAT DO I DO IF I’M CHARGED WITH POSSESSION?

No matter what court you are in, you need to speak with a qualified attorney who concentrates their practice in narcotics related criminal defense.  Although many attorneys will indicate that they understand this area of law, we are the firm that other lawyers refer their clients to, that had the courage to intervene against the federal government on behalf of medical marijuana users, and that stopped the state toxicology office from testifying that marijuana use somehow impairs driving.

If you need our help, call us or email us today.  Our attorneys believe in what they do and they believe in your innocence.  We are industry recognized leaders in criminal representation and we fight to win.