Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

Typically, when the police believe that someone is trafficking narcotics, they will conduct a thorough investigation, which often includes obtaining a warrant to search the individual’s home or vehicle. The police must have reasonable suspicion that a person is engaging in criminal activity to obtain a warrant, however, and if they do not, the search conducted under the warrant may be deemed unconstitutional. In a recent Michigan opinion, a court discussed what constitutes sufficient grounds to grant a warrant in a case in which the defendant was charged with several drug crimes. If you are accused of a drug offense, it is advisable to speak to a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer about your options.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the police obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s home and vehicle based on the belief that he was selling drugs. Following the investigation, the State charged the defendant with multiple drug and weapons crimes. He then moved to suppress the evidence obtained via the search warrant on the grounds that it was overly broad and did not contain adequate evidence to establish probable cause. The court granted the motion and dismissed the charges against the defendant. The State subsequently appealed, arguing that the trial court applied an improper standard in evaluating whether the warrant should have been granted.

Probable Cause Sufficient to Justify a Search Warrant

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures and states that warrants will not be issued without probable cause, supported by affidavits that describe in detail the place that will be searched and the things that will be seized. The Michigan Constitution contains a similar provision that has been construed as providing the same protections as the Fourth Amendment. Continue Reading ›

Historically, people convicted of some drug crimes faced harsher penalties than those convicted of others. In an effort to remedy this disparity, Congress passed a law known as the First Step Act that allowed for sentence reductions when certain factors were met. Recently, in an opinion delivered in a drug offense case, a Michigan court explained what a defendant must show to demonstrate eligibility for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act. If you are charged with a drug crime, you could face significant penalties, and it is prudent to meet with a skillful Michigan criminal defense attorney to assess your options.

The Defendant’s Conviction and Sentencing

It is reported that the defendant was convicted of conspiracy with the intent to distribute controlled substances, using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, tax evasion, possessing cocaine with an intent to distribute, and engaging in a continuous criminal enterprise in the late 1980s. He was sentenced to a term of life in prison and five years of supervised release. He appealed, and his conviction for conspiracy was vacated, and his sentence was reduced. He then sought a further reduction of his sentence under the First Step Act.

Eligibility for a Reduced Sentence under the First Step Act

At the time the defendant was sentenced, crimes involving crack cocaine were treated more harshly than those related to powder cocaine. To address this sentencing disparity, in 2010, Congress issued the Fair Sentencing Act. The provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act were not retroactive; however, so in 2018 Congress passed the First Step Act. Continue Reading ›

Generally, police officers who are investigating a crime need a warrant to search a defendant. There are exceptions, though, such as in cases in which an officer reasonably suspects that a person is committing a crime. In such instances, an investigatory stop may be justified. Recently, a Michigan court discussed the right against unreasonable search and seizure in a matter in which the defendant was charged with numerous firearms and drug offenses. If you are accused of committing a crime, you should consult a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney promptly to discuss your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant was arrested at a gas station for carrying a concealed gun without a license. Apparently, an officer saw the gun in the defendant’s waistband with the handle protruding from his coat. The officer asked the defendant if he had a license to carry the gun, to which he replied he did not. The officer then confiscated the gun and arrested the defendant, after which it was discovered he had heroin in his possession as well.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous weapons crimes and possession of heroin. He moved to suppress the evidence found during his arrest on the grounds that it was the product of an illegal search and seizure. Specifically, he argued the gun was not concealed but was being carried in accordance with the State’s open carry law. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the State appealed. Continue Reading ›

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