Under Michigan law, judges have the discretion to impose a non-criminal sanction (or punishment) on first-time drug offenders who commit less-serious crimes.
If you are charged with possessing a controlled substance, including possession of less than 25 grams of a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance, and this is your first offense you might be eligible for a drug-diversion program commonly known as a 7411.
A person qualifies and can plead guilty to possessing the controlled substance if they have never been convicted of an offense relating to narcotic drugs, coca leaves, marijuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs under a Michigan law, a United States’ statute, or the law of any other state. This is a great option and any skilled criminal defense attorney should be looking at their client’s eligibility to take advantage of this plea.
Keep in mind, if a person violates a condition of the sentence under 7411, the court has the right, and may exercise that right, to find the person guilty and proceed outside of the 7411 plea deal. However, if a person successfully fulfills the 7411 conditions, the court must discharge the individual and dismiss the charges!
Under the 7411 statute, Michigan courts will look at the following:
- probation when a person is a first-time offender;
- consequences if the person violates probation;
- how the court can discharge the person from probation and dismiss the case without an adjudication of guilt on the record;
- what the person’s record looks like if he or she successfully completes the conditions of the program;
- the effect of a civil fine against the person for his/her first violation;
- what the judge can order the him or her to do, to complete the program;
- when someone fails to complete the ordered conditions of the program;
- participation in rehabilitation programs;
- paying costs
Generally, someone pleads guilty, to the charge and then under 7411, the judge does not formally enter the judgment of guilt. Instead, the judge defers the proceedings and places the that person on probation. Once he or she meets the conditions of probation, the judge discharges them from probation and dismisses the case.
Many people are unaware that a conviction for any drug possession charge requires the court to suspend a person’s driver’s license. Under 7411, it is possible to keep the entire matter from ever going on the a person’s record in the first place.
7411 in Michigan is also known as a deferral. This means that (i) a person, by arrangement with the court, agrees to plead guilty to a drug-possession charge, and (ii) the court, agrees to keep the charge and plea “secret.” The judge, at sentencing, tells the person how long they will serve probation, and advises them of the result if they complete that period of probation without any problems. The exact terms and length of any particular probation are up to the judge, and, depending on the charge, can range from non-reporting probation to monthly-reporting probation with frequent drug and alcohol testing.
7411 is limited in the sense that it (i) only applies to certain drug crimes, and (ii) can usually only be used once in a lifetime. You must plead guilty or be found guilty of the drug crime and then follow a set of orders from the judge, such as payment to the court to cover the time-period you’re on probation or attendance at a drug-rehab program. If you have been charged with a drug crime, 7411 may be a good option for you but it is crucial that you work with an attorney who can properly assess your eligibility and has extensive experience in drug crimes. That’s us!
If you have questions, or want to talk about your 7411 eligibility, call an experienced attorney at George Law (248) 470-4300.