Dismissal of Drug Possession Charges in Michigan – MCLA 333.7411
Our Michigan drug crime defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates routinely represent defendants who have been charged with serious drug crimes – from small-time possession to serious felony trafficking. We know how a drug crime conviction can have devastating effects on a person’s life (which is why we work so hard to help our clients avoid it). Keeping a job, landing another good one, securing student loans or public housing – all of that is tougher (maybe even impossible) with a criminal conviction haunting you.
First-time Drug Offenders
For first-time drug offenders in Michigan, there may be a way to have the case dismissed pursuant to MCLA 333.7411.
The statute, commonly referred to as “7411” by Michigan criminal defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors, makes it eligible for defendants who have not been convicted of another drug crime in the past to have the case dismissed. Specifically, it’s available to a defendant is charged with possession of a controlled substance or “use” of a controlled substance.
Eligibility is NOT extended to defendants charged with drug delivery, possession with intent to deliver a drug, or manufacturing of a controlled substance. However, this statute does apply to use or possession of an imitation controlled substance.
Imitation of a controlled substance involves counterfeit narcotics. Those who are buying narcotics on the streets may have no idea what they are really purchasing, and it’s not unheard of for drugs to be fake. Under the law in Michigan, and in many other jurisdictions, it is illegal to deliver or possess an imitation controlled substance.
If a defendant is granted a 7411 disposition, the defendant is not sentenced and is instead placed on probation. This is typically for a period of one year, but that is not necessarily the only possible term in every case. This is the same as probation in any other case and includes the following requirements:
- Getting a job
- Keeping a job
- Earning your GED or high school diploma
- Successfully completing treatment for drugs or alcohol
- Undergoing or regular drug testing
- Obtaining mental health treatment
In many drug cases involving use, a defendant may also have mental health issues. Taking drugs may be a way of self-medicating. For this reason, there are many rehabilitation centers that specialize in what is known as dual diagnosis treatment that includes a mental health component.
Felony Drug Charges Eligible for 7411
While many defendants are charged with misdemeanor use, there are certain felony drug charges that are also eligible for 7411 status. This includes the following:
- Possession of ecstasy
- Possession of methamphetamine
- Possession of heroine
- Possession of drug analogues (generally a prescription medication listed on U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970)
- Possession of LSD
- Possession of marijuana
Those who are arrested for these offenses should know they have the 7411 dismissal option, particularly if it seems the evidence is stacked high against them.
People v Alemu
Even those who are facing more serious felony drug charges shouldn’t lose hope. There is always the chance your attorney could negotiate a plea deal for a lesser offense, which could mean you will be eligible for 7411.
Take for instance the matter of People v Alemu, a 2015 case from the Michigan Court of Appeals. Defendant was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana. He was arrested with a glass jar containing a large amount of marijuana, as well as bag of marijuana and digital scales. He told officers he was not selling drugs but giving it to his friends. He was offered a deal by the prosecutors to dismiss the felony possession with intent to deliver charge if he agreed to plead guilty to simple possession.
He agreed, and his attorney then sought 7411 dismissal. Judge refused, however, reasoning defendant was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and that his story about the drugs being for friends was not credible. Judge denied the 7411 request.
Defendant appealed on grounds that he was eligible and using the offense for which he did not plead was not proper. Appeals court agreed this was an abuse of discretion and reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.
Treating Drug Crime as Public Health Concern
While use or possession of drugs is illegal, drug crimes are also treated as a threat to public health. For this reason, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) keeps detailed statistics of the drug charges in various communities. The agency also works to promote community health and get people to help fight drug abuse.
If a sentence is granted under 7411, defendant may have to appear at the time of the successful complete of probation, or the court and prosecutors can simply run the defendant’s record through the criminal justice information system and verify that he or she has not picked up any new charges.
This is something a defendant who has been charged with a use or possession drug charge, or a delivery charge that is dismissed should discuss with his or her defense attorney. While this option is available in many cases, no two cases are ever the same, as the facts are always different, so defendants should speak with their attorney about the actual case.
Once the case has been dismissed, there will be no public record of the case. However, police will be able to run the defendant’s record through the electronic database and find the case. The court will also be able to see the prior closed case in the event that the defendant is charged with a second or subsequent case.
As discussed above, a 7411 status is only available to first-time offenders. A defendant who has been convicted of a second use or possession charge will not have this option. However, remember though that the arrest is not the end of the story. No attorney can promise a given outcome, but there are often many effective legal strategies your defense attorney can employ to help you beat the charge or lessen the impact – even if you have a lengthy criminal record.
Contact Michigan drug crime defense attorneys at Grable & Associates.