Cocaine can be found in a powder form, which can be snorted, injected or dissolved, or in a “freebase” form, in which it is smoked. Crack cocaine is a rock crystal form of the drug. Known primarily as a “party drug,” there were an estimated 1.5 million current (past-month) cocaine users aged 12 or older in 2014, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
In this article, we’ll address the question, “is possession of cocaine a felony?”
Is Possession of Cocaine a Felony?
In Michigan, possession of cocaine is severely penalized. Cocaine is a schedule II drug, which is considered to have a “high risk for addiction.” Simple possession of cocaine of anything less than 50 grams is a felony, and the potential sentencing is tough:
- Up to 4 years in prison
- Fines up to $25,000
What Amount of Drugs is Considered Trafficking?
Michigan is known to have some of the strictest laws when it comes to the buying, selling and distribution of controlled substances. A charge for possession with intent to deliver as little as 50g of cocaine can result in a 20 year sentence, while possession with intent to deliver 1,000g or more can result in a life sentence. The fines for this type of conviction range from $25,000 to $1 million.
Therefore, it goes without saying that drug trafficking charges are incredibly serious. Specific circumstances, such as the sale of cocaine near a K-12 school or to a minor, will enhance the sentence, as will the defendant’s prior criminal record.
Drug trafficking charges can take many forms, including:
- selling a controlled substance,
- possession with intent to sell,
- distribute or deliver,
- conspiracy to sell or deliver, and
- manufacturing or cultivation with intent to sell or distribute.
Keep in mind that serious drug charges tend to result in additional federal charges (conspiracy, money laundering, tax evasion, etc.). Therefore, it is vital to have an attorney experienced in both state and federal courts.
Who Enforces Drug Trafficking?
Numerous entities enforce federal drug trafficking laws, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), numerous multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement task forces in the state of Michigan, and other state and local law enforcement agencies.
How to Fight a Cocaine Possession Charge
The main way to attack a cocaine possession charge is to challenge the validity of a search warrant. A search warrant must include all information and be sworn to under oath, and the information in the Affidavit must have been obtained legally.
The information in the Affidavit must also be relatively recent, unnamed informants must be reliable, and the search warrant must set out probable cause. Find more information on how your lawyer should attack the validity of a search warrant here.
Additionally, your defense should consider if you are really innocent or guilty. That way, they can set up a defense based on lack of evidence, mistakes that the police made, an alibi, or anything else that proves you are innocent. If you are guilty, your lawyer should study the case and similar cases, looking for useful precedents and parts of the law that could turn the case in your favor.
If you do not have any prior drug crimes on your record, your lawyer can talk to you about the possibility of a 7411 deferral, explained in greater detail here.
Felony Cocaine Possession Lawyers in Michigan
Possession of cocaine is a felony and because of Michigan’s strict drug laws, you can be found guilty of cocaine possession without having it on your person. Cocaine possession can be charged if it is found in your vehicle, your home, your workplace, or even in close proximity to you in a public place. This is why you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to fight your cocaine possession charge.
*During the COVID-19 crisis, we are available for you remotely by phone or Skype.
Sarah Tarockoff is the Paralegal at The Law Offices of Barton Morris. She earned a Paralegal Certificate from Oakland Community College in 2015 and graduated from Oakland University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a concentration in criminal justice. She completed internships at the 52-3 District Court where she aided probation officers in the Probation Department and at Bernstein & Bernstein, where she worked closely with attorneys and paralegals on various litigation-related matters.