Anyone who watches crime shows has probably heard television detectives discussing evidence, warrants and probable cause. While the sensational aspects of police dramas may overshadow these legal concepts, it is important for our readers in Michigan to know that rules do apply to law enforcement officials when they perform searches of suspects' homes, vehicles and persons. One of those rules is the exclusionary rule, and it has its basis in a Supreme Court decision from more than a century ago.
Individuals have rights protected by both state laws as well as the United States Constitution when it comes to searches. Article I section 11 of the Michigan state legislature states that there must be a description of the property or premises to be searched, as well as probably cause, and an oath or affirmation taken prior to the search.
With the drug epidemic sweeping our nation today, prisons have become overcrowded. This problem has forced states to come up with their own alternative solutions to imprisonment for lesser crimes. One of the alternative forms of punishment and rehabilitation for misdemeanor and non-violent drug charges in the state of Michigan is the Adult Drug Treatment Court Program.
Possession of a controlled substance is a serious criminal offense. However, it is likely the most common of any criminal charge due to the drug epidemic sweeping our nation today. Sentencing guidelines and drug classifications for these crimes vary from state-to-state.
Defenses exist to drug possession charges, but the defenses that apply to a particular case will greatly depend on the facts of the relevant matter. Not all defenses apply to all cases. Here we will discuss several general drug possession defenses that may be used as an introduction to this otherwise complex area of criminal law.
Police officers in the nearby Michigan community of Dowagiac recently arrested two individuals after stopping their vehicle and searching them and their property. Apparently the officers involved in the matter spotted the driver of the vehicle and recognized him as an individual with a warrant out for his arrest. Incidental to their arrest of the driver on the outstanding warrant and the arrest of his passenger for a parole violation, the officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found illegal drugs therein.
Regardless of laws legalizing marijuana going into effect in some other states, the war on drugs wages on in Michigan. Law enforcement agents and prosecutors still aggressively pursue drug cases, and the penalties handed down to those convicted of drug crimes can be quite severe. Prison is often a reality. So, too, are large fines. But the damage caused to one's reputation can be just as damaging, if not more so. Having a drug conviction on one's record can affect an individual's ability to find employment and housing, and it could even limit their access to college financial aid, thereby dampening their future prospects.
A conviction on a drug possession charge can lead to serious consequences in Michigan. Depending on the drug and quantity involved, these consequences can include prison, fines, and damage to one's reputation. As scary as that may sound, there are defense options available to those who are accused of illegal possession of a controlled substance. Some of these defenses arise from exception in the state's drug laws.
If you are facing drug charges for the first time, you're probably worried about the penalties a conviction can deal to you. You might be afraid of being sent to prison, being forced to pay devastating fines, and having your record marred for years to come. Although these could all be real possibilities, in many cases there are other options. One of these options is a Michigan program called discharge and dismissal.
Some Michigan residents may find themselves breathing a sigh of relief to hear that the country seems to be moving toward a trend of decriminalizing marijuana use and possession. While the law may be trending this way, it is still critical for Michigan residents to realize that marijuana possession, sale and trafficking is still illegal. Although medical marijuana is legal, those who break these and other drug laws pertaining to marijuana can face pretty tough penalties that can drastically impact their future.