Two Kalamazoo men were arrested in the city's Bronson Park recently after members of the Community Outreach Problem Solving Division of the Kalamazoo public safety department acted on tip provided by officers. The officials suspected that narcotic sales were taking place in the area. At the scene, police saw the two men selling what was believed to be heroin to another person. The officers promptly arrested the men.
At the time of the incident, police apparently found heroin and drug-packing equipment with the men. The suspects were taken to Kalamazoo County Jail to await their arraignment. They were charged with conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver heroin and delivery of heroin.
Under Michigan state law and federal law, penalties for a drug charge conviction vary. Simple possession, for example, usually carries less serious consequences for a defendant who is found guilty than charges for drug manufacturing, distribution, trafficking or selling to minors. Laws differ between states, and when federal laws apply, harsher penalties may be imposed.
There are several defenses that one can use if charged with drug possession. One of the most common defenses raised is that the drugs did not actually belong to the accused individual. Unless a defendant is actually caught with the drugs on him or her, it is up to the prosecution to prove that the drugs belonged to the alleged offender.
Furthermore, another defense is that the drugs are not actually illegal substances, but just appear to be. Usually, drugs are analyzed by a crime lab; a defendant can claim that just because a drug looks like heroin or cocaine, does not mean that it actually is heroin or cocaine. It must be proved that a substance is an illegal drug in court.
Entrapment is a third potential defense. Entrapment is a claim that police officers coerced a defendant to commit a crime that he or she would not have committed without the encouragement of a law enforcement official.
Putting forth a thoughtful, active defense can help to ensure than an individual's civil rights are protected all the way from the arrest to the conclusion of criminal court proceedings.
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Two men arrested in heroin bust in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park," Rosemary Parker, Sept. 21, 2012