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Things to know about a drug possession charge

Drug-related crimes are always taken quite seriously. A conviction to a drug-related offense can have an extremely negative impact on both your personal and professional lives. While there are many different types of drug crimes, possession is the most common. Depending on the kind of drug you are accused of carrying, you may face state and/or federal charges.

So, what exactly is a drug possession charge? What are the consequences? How can you defend yourself in court?

Drug possession basics

If charged with drug possession, it means that a police officer supposedly found an illegal substance on your person, in your automobile or in your home. Drugs commonly seen in possession cases are marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

In Michigan, drug possession can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor based on a number of factors, including the type of drug and the amount of the drug in the defendant's possession. While most drug cases are charged in state courts, there are situations in which federal prosecutors may bring the case in federal court. 

Drug paraphernalia often accompanies a possession charge

Those facing either type of possession charge will likely face paraphernalia charges as well. Drug paraphernalia is the equipment one uses to take, package or manufacture drugs. Examples of such equipment include:

  • Syringes
  • Bongs
  • Rolling papers
  • Scales
  • Pipes
  • Bags

The equipment type and its purpose will help determine if state or federal charges apply to your case.


The consequences of drug possession run the gamut. Jail time, prison time, fines and rehabilitation are just a few possibilities. Length of incarceration and fine amounts will depend on the type of drug involved in your case, as well as the amount you are accused of carrying.

For those who qualify, having one's case moved to drug court may be a possibility. Someone who successfully completes the conditions of drug court can avoid incarceration. Your legal counsel can provide more information about this topic.

What are the possible defenses for a possession charge?

As with most criminal cases, there are various defense strategies available. In a possession case some of these include:

  • Claiming unlawful search and seizure
  • Claiming the drugs are not yours
  • Requesting crime lab analysis of the seized substance
  • Claiming entrapment

Your criminal defense attorney, after a careful review of your case, will be able to help you settle on a defense strategy that will best serve your interests.

You are not alone in your fight

Fighting a drug possession charge and any charges filed along with it will not prove to be a simple task. However, a criminal defense attorney who understands both state and federal drug crime laws can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances.

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