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Types of Drug Trafficking Charges and Schedules

Drug trafficking is a serious crime in Michigan and can result in serious penalties, such as:

  • up to life in prison,
  • a $1,000,000 fine, and
  • subject you to asset forfeiture and loss of driving privileges. 

Drug trafficking search in car

Drug trafficking is defined as the purchase, sale or distribution of drugs in a quantity determined by statute. The quantity of drugs that is classified as trafficking changes based on the drug’s classification.

The Federal Drug Scheduling System, Explained

Controlled substances are classified into schedules based on their danger of addiction and dependence:

Schedule 1 

Carry the most serious penalties and are drugs that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Such as heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy), and Meth. If found guilty, the maximum sentence is life and/or $1 million fine.

Schedule 2

Schedule 2 drug have a high potential for abuse, and has some accepted medical use. Typically, opiates such as Adderall, Codeine and Oxycodone. If found guilty, the maximum sentence is seven (7) years and/or $10,000 fine.

Schedule 3

Schedule 3 drugs are drugs with less potential for abuse than 1 and 2 but may still lead to abuse and dependence. Examples are Poly Tussin, pseudoephedrine. If found guilty, the maximum sentence is seven (7) years and/or $10,000 fine. 

Schedule 4

Next any substance that has the potential for abuse associated with a depressant effect on the central nervous system. Examples: Barbital. If found guilty, the maximum sentence is four (4) years and/or $2,000 fine.

Schedule 5

Lowest, includes any drugs or substances that lead to dependence or abuse such that a prescription should be required. If found guilty, the maximum sentence is two (2) years and/or $2,000 fine. 


Federal Drug Trafficking Convictions

Federal drug trafficking convictions typically result in mandatory minimum prison sentences up to 25 years without the possibility of probation or parole. If you are suspected of trafficking a controlled substance, you may be arrested without a warrant in certain circumstances.

Asset Seizure

Regardless of the type of drug, your assets may be seized by law enforcement as a result of a controlled substance charge. Most commonly, vehicles and cash are seized in connection with arrest related to controlled substances. 

Driver’s License Suspension

A conviction for drug trafficking can result in the suspension of driver license for up to one (1) year.


Do not consent to a search of your vehicle, person, or property without a warrant. If the police are asking you for consent to search, it is probably an indication they do not have probable cause for a search. Don’t give up your constitutional protections.

Remain Silent

You cannot talk your way out of an arrest, no matter how smart you are. If you find yourself being arrested, remain silent and request an attorney. Cases where the defendant makes a statement after arrest have a much higher rate of conviction in court than cases where the defendant remains silent.

Hire a Drug Crimes Attorney

Don’t wait to be arrested. If you suspect you are being investigated, call a lawyer immediately.

A drug crimes defense attorney will protect your rights and raise all potential defenses. Drug trafficking laws are complex and constantly changing. Whether you are being investigated for trafficking or if you have been arrested, the first step is obtaining experienced representation. Each trafficking allegation is based on unique facts and circumstances.

Our attorneys will review all evidence and vigorously pursue any defenses you have. 

Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
author avatar
Michael Norman
Michael Norman is the firm’s managing attorney, with experience as a trial attorney practicing both civil and criminal litigation.
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