If you are charged with Keeping a Drug House / Maintaining a Drug House in Livonia, Michigan, you need the help of an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney. I can provide you with nearly 20 years of experience and a willingness to fight and take cases to trial.
Keeping a Drug House (Use) is a class G felony that carries up to 2 years in prison (24 months). If you are arrested and charged with Keeping a Drug House / Maintaining a Drug House, your first court appearance will be an arraignment in the 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan. Learn more about an arraignment now. At the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for a probable cause conference and a preliminary examination. Bond will also be addressed at the arraignment. The probable cause conference must be scheduled within 7 to 14 days of the arraignment with the preliminary examination scheduled within 5 to 7 days after the probable cause conference.
Following the preliminary examination, further proceedings are held in the Wayne County Circuit Court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. If there is virtually any evidence supporting the prosecutor's case, it is extremely likely that the matter will be bound over in the district court. Nonetheless, I almost always challenge cases at the preliminary examination because it is the best opportunity that the defense is presented for challenging the evidence and developing the facts that will support defenses in the circuit court. DO NOT WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION WITHOUT MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION.
The charge of Keeping a Drug House / Maintaining a Drug House is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 333.7405(d). The provisions of MCL 333.7405 state:
(1) A person:
(a) Who is licensed by the administrator under this article shall not distribute, prescribe, or dispense a controlled substance in violation of section 7333.
(b) Who is a licensee shall not manufacture a controlled substance not authorized by his or her license or distribute, prescribe, or dispense a controlled substance not authorized by his or her license to another licensee or other authorized person, except as authorized by rules promulgated by the administrator.
(c) Shall not refuse an entry into any premises for an inspection authorized by this article.
(d) Shall not knowingly keep or maintain a store, shop, warehouse, dwelling, building, vehicle, boat, aircraft, or other structure or place, that is frequented by persons using controlled substances in violation of this article for the purpose of using controlled substances, or that is used for keeping or selling controlled substances in violation of this article.
(e) Who is a practitioner shall not dispense a controlled substance under a prescription written and signed; written or created in an electronic format, signed, and transmitted by facsimile; or transmitted electronically or by other means of communication by a physician prescriber or dentist prescriber licensed to practice in a state other than Michigan, unless the prescription is issued by a physician prescriber or dentist prescriber who is authorized under the laws of that state to practice dentistry, medicine, or osteopathic medicine and surgery and to prescribe controlled substances.
(2) A person who violates subsection (1) is subject to the penalties prescribed in section 7406.
Keeping a Drug House / Maintaining a Drug House under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes involving a controlled substance (CS). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Keeping a Drug House (Use) with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 3 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 9 months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 23* months under the guidelines.
The jury instructions set forth the following elements for Keeping a Drug House (Use) that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney:
M Crim JI 12.8 Maintaining a Drug House
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime commonly known as knowingly maintaining or keeping a drug house. To prove this charge the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the defendant knowingly kept or maintained a [building / dwelling / vehicle / vessel / (describe other place)].
(3) Second, that this [building / dwelling / vehicle / vessel / (describe other place)] was:
[Select (a), (b), and/or (c) as appropriate.]
(a) frequented by persons for the purpose of illegally using controlled substances.
(b) used for illegally keeping controlled substances.
(c) used for illegally selling controlled substances.
(4) Third, that the defendant knew that the [building / dwelling / vehicle / vessel / (describe other place)] was frequented or used for such illegal purposes.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Keeping a Drug House / Maintaining a Drug House. While there are a number of defenses to Keeping a Drug House (Use) that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI 12.8 provide a roadmap for defending the case. This is true in almost every single case, and really great defense attorneys focus early on these jury instructions.
As a cautionary note, you might be completely innocent but still face criminal charges. Even worse, you might be denied bail, forced to spend months in jail before you are vindicated. I have seen many cases where a truly innocent client is baffled, angry and scared, completely unable to understand why police and prosecutors are gunning to get a conviction. So long as probable cause is established at the preliminary examination, then the matter will be bound over for trial in the 3rd Circuit Court for the County of Wayne and further proceedings will be held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. This is why it is so important that you contact an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney to help you defend against criminal charges in the 16th District Court.
*represents an aberration under the guidelines that might result in county jail time or violate the 2/3rd maximum minimum rules under the guidelines, which is something that must be discussed with your attorney.