Drug Charges in Michigan

drugs and judges gavel

Michigan drug charges can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. The severity of the charge will vary depending on the type and amount of the drug in your possession, and whether you were in possession of an amount of drugs that indicate an intent to sell or distribute the drug.

Misdemeanor drug charges are punishable by a fine and up to 1 year in prison.

A conviction for felony drug charges carries a fine and more than one year in prison. In the most severe cases, you could face life in prison. In addition, you face the possibility of the permanent loss of your right to possess or own a firearm.

Drug Classification by Schedule

Drugs, known technically as controlled substances, are classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) into five schedules based on whether the drug has a currently accepted medical use, and its potential for abuse and addiction. Drug schedule classifications are as follows:

  • Schedule I—Drugs, substances, or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use that have a high potential for abuse. (heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ecstasy)
  • Schedule II—Drugs, substances, or chemicals that have a high potential for abuse, and use can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. (Dilaudid, methadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderall, and methamphetamine)
  • Schedule III—Drugs, substances, or chemicals that have moderate or low potential for physical and psychological dependence. (Vicodin, Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids)
  • Schedule IV—Drugs, substances, or chemicals with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. (Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Versed, Restoril, and Halcion)
  • Schedule V—Drugs, substances, or chemicals with a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and contain limited quantities of narcotics. (antidiarrheal, antitussives, and analgesics such as cough syrups that contain codeine)

Penalties for Drug Charges in Michigan

Penalties for drug possession will vary based on the type and quantity of the controlled substance in your possession, and whether you are charged with using the drug, possessing the drug, or possessing the drug with the intent to sell or otherwise distribute it.

Penalties for using drugs in Michigan (MCL 333.7404) are as follows:


Maximum Penalty

Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Methamphetamines

1 year in prison, $2,000 fine

LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin

6 months in jail, $500 fine


90 days in jail, $100 fine

Michigan imposes the following penalties for drug possession (MCL 333.7403):


Maximum Penalty

Ecstasy, Methamphetamines

10 years in prison, $15,000 fine

Heroin or Cocaine

4 years in prison, $25,000 fine

Drug Analogues

2 years in prison, $2,000 fine


1 year in prison, $2,000 fine

If you were arrested with a large quantity of controlled substances in your possession or under your control, you might also face charges for manufacturing, delivering, or possessing controlled substances with the intent to manufacture or distribute them. Penalties for drug possession with intent to distribute are much more severe than charges for simple possession, and penalties are as follows (MCL 333.7401):


Maximum Penalty

Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Methamphetamines

20 years in prison, $25,000 fine

LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, Analogues

7 years in prison, $10,000 fine

Marijuana (45 kg / 200 plants)

15 years in prison, $10,000,000 fine

Marijuana (5 - 44 kg / 20 - 199 plants)

7 years in prison, $500,000 fine

Marijuana (less than 5g / 20 plants)

4 years in prison, $20,000 fine

Driver’s License Sanctions

In addition to fines and jail time, if you are convicted of a drug crime the court will order a driver’s license suspension. For a first offense, your license will be suspended for 30 days followed by a restricted license for 150 days. For a second conviction, your license will be suspended for 30 days followed by a restricted license for 305 days.

Additional Penalties for Repeat Offenders

A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent drug crime may be sentenced to a prison term that is twice the maximum authorized for the underlying offense, and fined twice the amount authorized for the underlying offense.

A second or subsequent conviction for a drug crime involving the delivery of a drug near a school is punishable by not less than 5 years in prison and not more than twice the original drug penalty, and a fine of three times the amount authorized for the original drug crime.

Elmen Legal. Your Defense Against Michigan Drug Charges.

If you have been charged with a Michigan drug crime, you need an experienced drug crimes defense attorney on your side. Penalties for a conviction can be severe, and you need assistance as soon as possible.

At Elmen Legal, I will thoroughly investigate the charges against you, make a recommendation on how to proceed, and aggressively defend your rights in court. In some cases, the only acceptable result is outright dismissal of all charges, whether through negotiations with the prosecutor or at trial. In others, the best result is a favorable plea bargain that results in a diversion program and reduced fines and jail time.

Whatever the charges, know that I will work hard to investigate your case, challenge the evidence against you, and protect your rights.

I proudly represent people in and around Ann Arbor, and throughout Michigan. I invite you to learn more about the services I offer, to get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and to contact me today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Categories: Drug Crimes

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Admitted to practice law in 2014, Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Robert Elmen defends people accused of crimes such as assault and battery, domestic violence, sex crimes, drug crimes, and drunk driving / OWI / DUI. His caring approach towards his clients sets him apart from other lawyers as he recognizes that people come to him during their darkest hours, looking for help, and for hope. Robert is a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and draws on his martial arts training to help himself and his clients remain calm in the face of what may seem like insurmountable odds.

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