Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Michigan, pursuant to MCL 333.7451 and MCL 333.7455(1), is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.  Sale of Drug Paraphernalia by a person 18 years old or older to someone under the age of 18 years in Michigan, according to MCL 333.74511 and MCL 333.7455(2), is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $7,500, or both. These offenses are also sometimes prosecuted as local ordinance violations which are also considered to be misdemeanors.   A person convicted of either Possession of Drug Paraphernalia or Sale of Drug Paraphernalia is not eligible for section 333.7411 (which is a special provision in Michigan law to have the offense not appear on a Defendant’s record).  However, these offenses are eventually eligible for expungment, if the person otherwise qualifies, 5 years after the conviction is entered or incarceration ceases (whichever is later).

What is Drug Paraphernalia?  Drug paraphernalia is defined under MCL 333.7451 as any equipment, product, material, or combination of equipment, products, or material, which is specifically designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance.  Examples of Drug Paraphernalia include (but are not limited to): marijuana pipes, marijuana grinders, rolling papers, heroin works kits (spoon, syringe, hose, etc), cocaine kits (razor blade, mirror, etc.), snorters, scales for weighing drugs, etc.

Will I Be Prosecuted For Possessing Something That Could Be Used As Drug Paraphernalia?  The law in Michigan recognizes that there are devices that have legitimate uses which can also be used as Drug Paraphernalia such as hypodermic needles, pipes, mixing devices, etc.  Under MCL 333.7457 persons that sell these items for legitimate purposes are not going to be prosecuted.  For the consumer or user of an item such as a hypodermic needle (that has a potentially legitimate and a potentially illicit purpose) the intent of the person who possesses the item is the key issue.  For example, a diabetic who possesses a hypodermic needle to inject insulin has committed no crime.  However, a hypodermic needle found with a spoon and a lighter is evidence that the intent of the possessor of those items is to use heroin and would likely be classified as Drug Paraphernalia by a police officer, city attorney and/or prosecutor.  A person with rolling papers together with marijuana should be treated differently under the law in Michigan than a person with rolling papers together with regular tobacco.

What Should I Do If I am Charged With Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?  Having any drug conviction, even for Drug Paraphernalia, can have a lasting impact on a person’s ability to obtain employment, advance in their career, gain or maintain licensing for their business, attend a good university, and receive student loans.  It can affect an individual’s standing in the community and reputation.  Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a large difference in the ultimate outcome you receive for your arrest for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia or Sale of Drug Paraphernalia.

What Can an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Do To Help Me?  An experienced criminal defense lawyer can fight the case through trial or otherwise.  If the evidence was obtained illegally by law enforcement, the experienced criminal defense lawyer can try to have the evidence suppressed by the presiding Judge.  The experienced criminal defense lawyer can conduct a trial, if necessary, to attack the allegation.  Defenses include (but are not limited to ) the fact that the item possessed was not drug paraphernalia, the Defendant did not possess the item in question, mistaken identity, mere presence in the area where the Drug Paraphernalia was found, and reasonable doubt.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer will work hard to attempt to gain acquittal on your behalf if the matter proceeds to trial.

If it is your intent to plead guilty, the experienced criminal defense lawyer can often enter into negotiations with the prosecutor or city attorney in order to try to: reach a possible plea bargain to dismiss the charge in exchange for pleading guilty to another offense; reach a plea bargain to amend the charge to something different to allow the conviction to be set aside; reach a plea bargain for a different, non drug related charge; enter into a sentence bargain to try to avoid jail.  Sometimes the experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the Judge as to what the terms of his or her sentence will be as well.  When the matter is before the Judge for sentencing, the experienced criminal defense lawyer can advocate on your behalf to try and gain a more lenient sentence.


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