Knowing the difference between drug trafficking and intent to distribute in Michigan

Michigan prosecutors treat drug crimes with the utmost seriousness. Depending on the degree of offense you commit, whether it be trafficking or intent to distribute, the penalties you face could put you behind bars for a very long time. If you are charged with either of these two crimes, understanding how they differ is crucial. A Michigan drug crimes attorney can explain the complexities of these charges and help defend you against conviction. 

The basics of Michigan drug trafficking offenses

When you hear the term “drug trafficking,” your first thought is the physical transportation of narcotics from one location to another, maybe even crossing state lines in the process. However, these charges are focused on the movement of the drugs and the amount in one’s possession. These charges also include how these substances are being handled or delivered to others. Because this is a Class A felony, it is the most severe level and can result in lifetime prison sentences if convicted. 

When breaking down what constitutes drug trafficking under state law, four primary actions qualify. You can face charges for doing any of the following activities with controlled substances: 

  • Manufacturing
  • Delivering
  • Creating
  • Possessing with the intent to do any of the above actions

You should note that drug manufacturing is governed by the Michigan Public Health Code and applies if you do any of the below activities:

  • Manufacture drugs in a building, on land, in a structure or vehicle you own or have in your possession
  • Have in your possession lab equipment or chemicals that are used to manufacture drugs
  • Supply chemicals or equipment to others knowing they will be used to manufacture drugs

Most charges involving drug trafficking carry penalties that include prison sentences of 20 years or more and fines that can go up to $1 million. The primary factor that determines your sentence is the amount of drugs you had in your possession (not to mention your prior record and how tough your judge is). If you are under investigation or are charged with this crime, you should seek out an experienced drug crimes lawyer right away. Your life and freedom are at stake, so your rights must be protected as early as possible. 

Understanding possession with intent to distribute charges in Michigan

If you were helping to furnish, sell, or deliver a controlled substance, you could be charged with possession with the intent to distribute. This is a Class B felony in Michigan. Depending on the circumstances of your crime, this charge could put you in prison for up to 20 years. 

Law enforcement will use this charge if they catch someone possessing illegal drugs, even if they have no evidence of any intent to sell or distribute. So, if state prosecutors have accused you of this crime, but the drugs you possessed were for personal use, don’t admit or speak to anyone until you’ve consulted with an attorney. We’re not fooled by this manipulative tactic and will create an effective defense so that you can avoid additional charges you don’t deserve. 

Drug trafficking and intent to sell to a minor

If you are accused of intending to sell illicit drugs to a minor or adult that is considered vulnerable, the jail time you would typically face could be significantly increased. It doesn’t matter if it is a hard drug like cocaine or simply marijuana. Selling these substances to a minor enhances the penalties you would normally face. Even selling tobacco products to underage youth can result in misdemeanor charges being brought against you. 

Speak with an Lansing drug crimes attorney for help

If your future freedom and reputation are being jeopardized by drug trafficking or an intent to distribute offense, contact us. Our team of knowledgeable drug crime defense attorneys can evaluate the circumstances of your case and develop a defense strategy to dismiss or lessen the charges against you.
We have successfully fought against drug crime charges in and around Lansing, MI, and continue to vigorously defend our clients’ rights throughout the process. Don’t hesitate to contact Coontz Law today and set up a consultation to discuss your legal situation.