Does a Michigan Drug Conviction Mean a Jail Sentence?

Every year, Coontz Law defends individuals arrested for drug crimes who now fear they will spend significant time in jail. While there are circumstances where some charges automatically result in incarceration, a solid defense strategy can help reduce the chances of serving time or at least lessen the sentence.

As criminal defense attorneys, we regularly represent Lansing residents who have had the misfortune of becoming involved in drug culture. We see firsthand that jailing those for committing these crimes has little success in rehabilitating their lifestyle. Often, incarceration creates a situation where they are exposed to those convicted of even more serious offenses, influencing their own tendencies. This is why we do everything possible to help our clients get the second chance they deserve and avoid a jail sentence. 

Consequences for a Michigan drug conviction 

The state of Michigan uses a varying sentencing structure for drug crimes. Currently, state law has broken controlled substances into five tiers (schedules). Below is a quick overview of each:

Schedule I

Drugs that are classified as Schedule 1 are considered to have a high potential for abuse. They also are not permitted for medical use within the U.S., even if used while supervised by a doctor. These drugs are more widely prosecuted in Michigan and involve illicit substances such as LSD and heroin.

Schedule II

Drugs in this classification are to be abused but are permitted for medical use under strict supervision in the U.S. These drugs are usually prescribed and can include morphine and oxycodone. Individuals using these medications should always have their prescription with them if they are ever stopped or searched by police. Interestingly, cocaine is considered a schedule II, not schedule I, controlled substance.

Schedule III

While drugs in this category still have a potential for abuse, it is less likely than those in Schedule I or II. These are permitted for use in the United States and typically include ketamine and hydrocodone with aspirin (Tylenol 3).

Schedule IV

Drugs with abuse risks that are less than Schedule III fall into this category. Substances like Xanax, Ativan, and Ambien are part of this group and can lead to limited physical or psychological dependencies. 

Schedule V

Over-the-counter medicines that contain codeine or ephedrine fall into this schedule. This category has the lowest risk of chemical dependency issues. 

If you are found to be in possession or using any drug in these schedules, you could face drug charges that might incur jail or prison time in Michigan. So first and foremost, protect your rights and speak with an experienced Lansing drug crimes attorney about your case. Their legal guidance and support can ensure you get the best possible outcome for your situation and possibly avoid being incarcerated.

Will I get jail time for my drug conviction?

Whether or not you will be required to serve time in jail depends on several factors in your case. Key elements that will influence how court sentences you include:

  • Seriousness of your alleged crime
  • Prior convictions on your record (drug related or otherwise)
  • Skill and audacity of your defense attorney

In the past few years, Michigan’s criminal justice system has begun to lean more toward rehabilitation for drug offenses, though they still hand down harsh penalties. For some first-time offenders, a misdemeanor conviction could result in probation instead of going to jail for months or years. Speak with the drug crime attorneys of Coontz Law if you were recently charged. 

Does Michigan offer alternative sentencing for drug offenses?

Defendants of drug charges might also qualify for alternative sentencing options that forgo prison time on completion of special programs, like Special Alternative Incarceration. This program requires you to attend detention in a boot-camp-style program for three months. Upon completion, you will also participate in a supervised halfway house. 

In addition to SAI, some judges will consider deferring or delaying your sentencing if they believe you won’t be a repeat offender. First time offenders can also get a deferred sentence under MCL 333.7411 (commonly called 7411). If they successfully complete probation, their charges will be dismissed.

Retain a skilled drug crime defense lawyer

One of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing situations you can face is the prospect of spending time behind bars after receiving a drug conviction. At Coontz Law, we do everything possible to defend you against these charges. If we think we can beat your case, that’s always Plan A, but if it looks like Plan A won’t work out, then Plan B is to try to qualify you for alternative sentencing. 
We frequently find ourselves defending people who have fallen into addiction. We believe everyone can learn from their mistakes and improve their lives if given the opportunity. Our experience representing individuals in Lansing, MI, have resulted in helping many avoid spending time in jail. Contact Coontz Law today and set up a consultation.