Q: I have been contacted by the police about drug sales. Do I need an attorney?
A: Yes. Anytime the police want to talk to you about drug sales, you should contact an attorney. The police are not on your side, but are working to gather evidence that may incriminate you or those you know. An attorney can advise you of your rights in dealing with the police so that you are not taken advantage of and do not do anything that may have a negative impact later on. If you wait until you have been arrested to contact an attorney, it may be too late.
Q: I have been arrested for growing marijuana plants. I was growing them for my own personal use. Will that affect my case?
A: Charges of growing any number of marijuana plants are taken serious. Growing even one marijuana plant can result in felony charges and up to four years in prison. The larger the number of plants, the higher the potential sentence can be. If you are a registered patient under Michigan’s medical marijuana act, or a registered caregiver in certain circumstances, you are allowed to own up to 12 plants. However, even conduct that is permitted under Michigan law may not be permitted under federal law. These are complex issues and if you have been arrested, you should consult with an attorney to explain your options.
Q: The police have threatened to take my car in connection with the drug charges against me. Is this legal? What can I do?
A: Law enforcement does have the authority to confiscate items such as a car, boat, firearm and so forth in what are called civil forfeiture proceedings. The item must have been used in the commission of a crime, purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity, or have come into your possession in the course of money laundering. An experienced attorney knows of a number of strategies to defend against civil forfeiture proceedings.
Q: My child has been charged with possession of a small amount of drugs. Will this ruin his or her future?
A: Possession of even a small amount of any drug—including marijuana—can result in serious consequences for a minor. While a lack of prior offenses and the status of a person as a minor can influence sentencing, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, and possession of most other controlled substances is a felony—all of which go on your permanent record. For first-time offenders, there are diversion programs such as 7411 or Holmes Youthful Trainee Status (HYTA) that can keep a young person’s record clean, and an experienced attorney will explore all possible defenses in order to prevent a conviction.
Q: If I have been convicted of a drug crime, do I have a chance of winning an appeal?
A: Each case depends on its own facts and circumstances. However, every individual convicted of a crime has the right to file an appeal. There are numerous ways in which errors may have been committed in the trial court or by the prosecution, including improper evidentiary rulings by the judge, improper jury instructions, juror misconduct and so forth. An attorney who is experienced in both trial work and appeals can analyze all of the issues in your case and advise you of your options on appeal.