The state of Michigan takes drug crimes seriously. If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance, you may be facing significant time in jail or state prison. Michigan courts use a sentencing guideline when deciding how to sentence a person convicted of a drug offense.
After a 2015 Supreme Court decision, the drug sentencing guidelines in Michigan are considered advisory. However, courts are still required to determine the appropriate sentencing range based on the guidelines and consider it when imposing a sentence for a drug conviction. These guidelines set out a minimum and maximum potential sentence based on the facts of your case.
If you have been charged with an offense related to controlled substances in MI, a Traverse City drug crimes attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out to Mas/Stig-Nielsen to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.
What Are The Drug Sentencing Guidelines in Michigan?
Michigan law sets out minimum and maximum sentences for drug offenses. These guidelines are used by courts to determine a sentence for an individual charged with a drug crime. Generally, a defendant charged with a drug crime will face a lengthier sentence based on the type of drug involved, the quantity that they were caught with, and the suspected use (i.e., personal possession versus possession with intent to sell).
In 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that these sentencing guidelines are advisory only. Previously, these guidelines were mandatory, which means that courts had to impose the sentence set out in the guidelines without taking into account any mitigating factors.
While the drug sentencing guidelines in Michigan are now advisory, they are still important. A sentencing court is required to determine the applicable guideline range for a particular offense and take it into account when issuing a sentence. However, a court can use its discretion to depart from the sentencing guidelines.
Because courts are required to take the guideline range into account, they still matter. Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily get the guidelines sentence. A skilled Traverse City drug crimes lawyer can advocate for a departure from the guidelines based on the specific facts of your case.
How Can I Calculate My Potential Sentence for a MI Drug Conviction?
The sentencing guidelines can be confusing. To figure out what your potential sentence might be, you need three key pieces of information: (1) your current charge; (2) any prior convictions involving controlled substances; and (3) the details of your current charge.
First, you will need to find the name of your charge in the “Alphabetical Crime List.” Drug crimes are part of the “crimes involving a controlled substance (CS)” group.
Second, you will need to look at the Prior Record Variables (PRVs) and Offense Variables (OVs). PRVs are any prior convictions that may add points to your case. OVs are the details of your charge that may affect sentencing.
Third, go to the sentencing grids to find the charge that you are facing. For example, the statutory maximum of possession of 50 to 224 grams of a controlled substance is a Class B offense, punishable by a statutory maximum of 20 months imprisonment. If the OV level is between 0 and 9 points and the PRV level is between 1 and 9 points, then the potential sentence is 12 months. However, if either the OV or PRV level increased, then the sentence would go up as well.
These calculations do not necessarily mean that you will receive a sentence that is exactly what is in the sentencing guidelines. A lot depends on the sentencing judge, the facts of your case, and the skill of your lawyer. If you have questions about what type of sentence you may get for a drug conviction, reach out to Mas/Stig-Nielsen to talk to a Traverse City drug crimes attorney.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Being charged with a drug crime can be incredibly scary, particularly if you aren’t sure whether you’ll get prison time – or how much time you will get. While there are no guarantees, having an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney can help you get the best possible outcome. Depending on the facts of your case, this may mean dismissal or reduction of the charges or a more favorable sentence through a plea deal or verdict at trial.
At Mas/Stig-Nielsen, we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the Michigan criminal justice system. No matter what type of charges our clients are facing, we fight to get them the best result possible. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a drug crimes attorney in Traverse City, MI, give us a call at 231-714-4128 or fill out our online contact form.