Michigan Criminal Law: Drug Crimes; Use
Allegations involving acts of narcotics possession, use, manufacturing, or delivery of varying degrees are prevalent in the criminal justice system. Using certain types of illegal narcotics, notably mixtures of cocaine and heroin, or “schedule 1 narcotics” MCL 333.7214, is usually charged as a misdemeanor. MCL 333.7404.
For example, the maximum penalties for use of a mixture of cocaine depend on whether a person has priors, the alleged facts, and other factors; however the maximum possible penalty starts at “a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.”
As the Model Jury Instruction explains, the prosecutor must prove:
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of illegally using a controlled substance, ______. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the defendant used a controlled substance.
(3) Second, that the substance used was ______.
(4) Third, that at the time [he / she] used it, the defendant knew the substance was ______.
[(5) Fourth, that the substance was not obtained by a valid prescription given to the defendant.] 1
[(6) Fifth, that the defendant was not otherwise authorized by law to use this substance.] 2
M. Crim. JI. 12.6.
Please note that this particular page is focused on use of mixtures of schedule 1 narcotics such as cocaine, crack-cocaine, and heroin. MCL 333.7214. Some of the bracketed information in the instruction above may change or not be included depending on the type of alleged substance used. M. Crim. JI. 12.6.
There are significant differences in the severity and type of charge if a person is charged with using other types of schedule narcotics or charged with use of marijuana. Use of marijuana, for example, if convicted, is an even lower level misdemeanor charge punishable by, among other penalties, up to ninety days in jail. MCL 333.7404(2)(d).
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Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent.
The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.
If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.