Drug Laws and Sentencing


Our Drug Crime Attorneys Help Individuals in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Throughout Michigan Understand the Various Types of Drug Sentencing You May Face if Charged with a Drug Crime

Individuals who are convicted of drug crimes frequently face harsh punishment, as Michigan is a state that cracks down hard on offenders in the ongoing fight against drug use, possession, and distribution. There are a number of factors that will determine the severity of the penalties you face when sentenced for a drug crime, including prior criminal offenses, type/amount of drug involved, where the alleged offense took place, and more. As highly qualified Michigan drug crime defense attorneys, our goal is to educate you regarding the various sentencing options in drug crime cases in the state.

While sentencing for drug crimes is harsh in Michigan today, it was once even harsher. In the past, many defendants convicted of serious drug crimes would be sentenced to life in prison under the "650 Lifer Law," however new drug sentencing laws have since been passed due largely to social pressure and overcrowding of our state's jails and prisons. Today, only those individuals convicted of the most serious drug offenses may be sentenced to life in prison.

Michigan Sentencing Guidelines

In Michigan, there are sentencing guidelines for drug crimes that can affect the criminal penalties individuals face if convicted of a crime involving controlled substances or narcotics. These guidelines are designed to give judges a basis for determining the appropriate sentence when a defendant is convicted. Because of our familiarity with and understanding of the sentencing guidelines, we will work with you to determine the most effective legal strategy for your unique situation.

We mentioned that the sentencing individuals face depend largely on the amount/type of drug involved. Michigan has a schedule of drugs where various types of drugs are placed under categories 1 through 5, depending on whether they are used for a medical purpose, along with their tendency for addiction and/or abuse. Certain drugs, which fall under Schedule 1 or 2, are considered the most serious, and include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, marijuana, morphine, opium, oxycodone, and LSD, among others. If you are convicted of possessing these narcotic or illegal substances, or are found guilty of possession with intent to deliver, you will face substantial fines and any number of years up to life in prison.

Alternative Drug Crime Sentencing

Facing potential prison time may be your primary concern if you are charged with a drug crime. In Michigan, defendants may be eligible for alternative sentencing, particularly first-time offenders and those accused of non-violent drugs crimes like possession.

Some of the alternative sentencing options include SAI, or Special Alternative Incarceration. Delayed and deferred sentencing are also possibilities, including what are known as HYTA and 7411 sentencing. Probation is another possibility in some situations. Here is a brief overview of each:

  • SAI is a program in which very few get placed each year, a type of "boot camp" for drug offenders. Started in 1988 for male probationers, the SAI program is designed for both male and female probationers today, and involves detention in an environment similar to boot camp where individuals undergo a regimen much like what is found in the military, along with substance abuse treatment, time spent in a residential halfway house setting, and supervision similar to probation in the community as the final phase.

  • Delayed and deferred sentencing. While the terms sound like they describe the same thing, they are actually different. Delayed sentencing may be an option when a judge does not feel that an individual is likely to repeat the offense; sentencing may be delayed for up to one year, which in essence allows the defense attorney additional time to build a solid case on the client's behalf, or explore alternative sentencing options. Deferred sentencing allows for a probationary period for the defendant prior to being sentenced. If the defendant completes probation successfully without breaking the terms of the probation, the judge may decide to dismiss the criminal charges after review of the case. HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act) and 7411 are deferred sentencing options. While HYTA applies to various types of criminal offenses including drug crimes, 7411 deals solely with drug crimes.

  • Probation. Probation may be granted by a judge for first-time offenders if he/she feels that a defendant is unlikely to re-offend, and has been charged with a drug crime considered non-violent. Probation makes it possible for the defendant to avoid jail/prison time, but the terms of the probation must be met. Conditions of probation often include counseling, community service, electronic monitoring, house arrest, and rehabilitation programs.

We understand that no one wants to spend years behind bars, and that Michigan sentences for drug crimes can be extremely harsh. Our team of skilled criminal defense attorneys will work vigorously to have charges dismissed or reduced; we will also analyze your situation closely to determine if you may be eligible for probation, delayed or deferred sentencing, or other options.

Call or contact us now to set up a free consultation regarding your drug crime case. Our experienced case analyst is ready to assist you at our toll-free number, 1-800-342-7896. At Grabel & Associates, our mission is to help you fight back against prosecutors, police, and harsh state sentencing guidelines.


With Attorney's statewide, Grabel & Associates defend people accused of criminal charges throughout the state of Michigan including the communities of Lansing, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, Pinconning, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant, Bay City, Saginaw, Brant, Traverse City, Ludington, Allegan, Hillsdale, Lapeer, Port Huron, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.