In Michigan, most crimes are listed under Title XX of the Code of Michigan – Crimes and Offenses Generally. These crimes include
Assault and Battery, Larceny (Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny) Fraud and other offenses against property and people.
Drug possession is also included in this Title. In general, possession of drugs without a prescription is unlawful. See Michigan Code Section 18.2-250 Titled: Possession of Controlled Substances Unlawful. The Virginia Legislature has categorized different drugs in different statutory “schedules.” Some of the drugs included in these schedules are marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroine, hydrocodone, oxycontin and other “pain killers.” Generally, it is illegal to possess these substances. But what does it mean to “possess” a drug?
There are two types of possession in Michigan. Actual possession and constructive possession. Actual possession is direct control over the drug, as if it were found in your pocket. Constructive possession can be a bit more difficult to prove. In order for you to be found guilty of constructively possessing a drug, the Commonwealth of Virginia must show that you had “dominion and control” over the drug; AND that you knew the “nature and character of the drug.” This means that if drugs are found in your car, or in a car you happen to be riding in, it does not necessarily mean you ‘possessed’ the drug. In addition, before the drug is even found, the Commonwealth must show that they had a valid reason to search you or your car, or house to begin with. Often times, police search a person or a vehicle in violation of their 4th Amendment Right Against Illegal Search and Seizures. If this is the case, any evidence collected (marijuana, cocaine etc) may be suppressed by the court at trial, usually resulting in a dismissal of the charge.
It is important to contact an attorney early and to NOT SPEAK TO THE POLICE!! In addition to having a 4th Amendment Right Against Illegal Search and Seizure, you also have a right to Remain Silent!! Be respectful. Be polite, but BE QUITE!!
Ultimately, if you are convicted of drug possession, you may be eligible for “first offender” status whereby the charge can be dismissed after a period of time and after certain condition are met. Usually, community service, drug class, and payment of fines.