Felony Charges – Northville Defense Attorneys
In the State of Michigan, felony charges are classified as crimes that are punishable by more than one year in prison. These crimes are more serious than misdemeanor offenses which carry a maximum penalty of one year. When many people hear the term “felon,” they automatically assume this means a serious criminal such as a murderer, gangbanger, bank robber, etc. While this term is applicable to these individuals, felonies may also involve a good person making a single bad choice. Furthermore, many felonies involve victimless crimes, and believe it or not, felonies can even be committed by mistake.
There are many traps and pitfalls within our complex legal system that can land someone into huge trouble even for something such as simple possession of a controlled substance, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In many cases, an overzealous law enforcement officer, prosecutor, and/or judge can significantly alter someone’s life forever, especially when they don’t have proper legal defense.
If you, or someone you know is being charged with a felony offense in Michigan, it’s paramount to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you navigate these complex laws and protect your future. Read more about the various types of felony charges below.
There are two main classifications of felony theft in Michigan. The first classification applies to individuals charged with stealing property valued between $1,000-$19,999. The second, more serious classification of felony theft involves the theft of property valued at $20,000 or more.
Punishments for felony theft depend on several factors. For instance, individuals charged with the theft of property valued between $1000-$19,999 may face fines up to $10,000 (or 3x the value of the goods stolen) and/or a sentence up to five years in prison.
On the other hand, theft of property valued at $20,000+ carries penalties up to 10 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine (or 3x the amount of stolen property).
It’s also important to note, prior theft convictions play a role in the severity of these sentences. It’s vital to hire an experienced attorney to ensure you aren’t excessively charged for this offense. The theft lawyers at Kelly & Kelly have the knowledge and expertise to defend the rights of those charged with felony theft, and other criminal offenses.
In Michigan, the crime of embezzlement focuses on a person in a position of trust who uses that position to obtain a financial benefit without approval or knowledge of an employer or principal. Very often, good people charged with this offense simply made a mistake; but, big misunderstandings can quickly snowball into even bigger legal problems if you don’t take immediate action to protect yourself.
Felonious assault is a very serious criminal charge that carries heavy penalties. This form of assault generally involves a weapon or an object that may be used as a weapon. The charge becomes more serious when the felonious assault charge involves a firearm, occurs on school grounds, or it’s determined there was intent to cause serious harm. To put this in perspective, according to Michigan law,
“… (1) a person who assaults another person with a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, club, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) in a weapon free school zone is guilty of a felony punishable by 1 or more of the following: (a) Imprisonment for not more than 4 years. (b) Community service for not more than 150 hours. (c) A fine of not more than $6,000.00.” (Michigan Legislature, 2017, THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE Section 750.82)
In short, if you’re charged with felonious assault, or assault with a dangerous weapon in Michigan, you could face fines up to $6,000, and a 4 year prison sentence. These penalties may be enhanced further depending on prior convictions.
Felony Charges for Drugs
The government places heavy restrictions on illegal substances and Michigan is no exception. In fact, the government has established different categories for drugs with varying penalties under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. These categories are called “schedules” and substances are divided into five separate schedules based on their potential for abuse and whether or not they have an accepted medical use. In many ways, Michigan models their illegal drug laws after these federal guidelines. Below is a list of various drug schedules and penalties.
Schedule I Drugs – Schedule 1 drugs are substances that are said to have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical treatment, and a lack of accepted safety for use. Example of drugs classified as a Schedule 1 include, but are not limited to the following: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Ecstasy, MDMA, Mescaline, Crystal Meth or other Methamphetamines, etc.
Schedule II Drugs – Schedule 2 drugs are substances classified as having a high potential for abuse but an accepted medical use in treatment or use with heavy restrictions. Examples of schedule 2 substances include stimulants such as Cocaine, Adderall, Ritalin, etc.
Punishments for possession of a Schedule I or Schedule 2 controlled substance in Michigan include:
- Possession of 25-50 Grams = Maximum 4 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
- Possession of 50-450 Grams = Maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
- Possession of 450-1,000 Grams = Maximum 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine
- Possession of over 1 Kilogram = Life in prison and a $1,000,000 fine
It’s also important to note that simple possession of ecstasy or meth may result in up to 10 years in prison regardless of the amount.
Furthermore, Section 333.7413 of the Michigan Legislature allows for a penalty of life imprisonment for individuals caught in possession of a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 substance if the amount is greater than 50 Grams.
As you can see, there are many traps and pitfalls within the law that can land someone into huge trouble even for simple possession. All it takes is an overzealous law enforcement officer, prosecutor, and/or judge to significantly alter your life forever. If you, or someone you know is caught with a controlled substance in Michigan, it’s paramount to work with an experienced attorney for felony charges that can help you navigate these laws and protect your future.
Schedule III, IV, and V
Schedule III Drugs – Schedule 3 Drugs are substances that are said to have potential for abuse less than schedule 1 or schedule 2 drugs. Schedule III drugs also have accepted medical use in the U.S and abuse of the substance(s) may lead to high psychological dependence but moderate to low physical dependence. One example of a schedule 3 drug includes: Ketamine. Other examples are Codeine products that have 90 or less milligrams of Codeine such as Tylenol with Codeine®
Schedule IV Drugs – Schedule 4 Drugs are substances classified as having a low potential for abuse compared with Schedule III substances. The drug also has accepted medical use in the United States. Examples of schedule IV drugs include: Xanax, Ambien, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and more.
Schedule V – Schedule 5 Drugs are substances that are said to have low abuse potential compared with the previous Schedule IV substances. Schedule V Drugs also have accepted medical use. Examples of schedule V substances include: prescription cough medicine such as Robitussin.
Felony Property Damage Offenses
In Michigan, if it’s determined that someone “willfully,” and “maliciously” damaged/destroyed the property of another individual, they may be charged with Willful and Malicious Destruction of Property (MDOP). Generally speaking, in order for this offense to qualify as Felony Malicious Destruction of Property, the damage must be valued at a minimum of $1,000. One exception to this requirement occurs when an offender has prior convictions of MDOP.
Punishments for Felony Malicious Destruction of Property in Michigan are as follows:
Damage valued between $1,000-$19,999 = Maximum sentence of 5 years in prison with a fine of $10,000 (or 3x the value of damage)*
*Exceptions to this requirement may apply when the offender has one or more prior MDOP convictions
Damage valued at $20,000+ = Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison with a fine of $15,000 (or 3x the value of damage)*
*Exceptions to this requirement may apply when the offender has two or more prior MDOP convictions