Drugs

Attorney George Zulakis has represented hundreds of Michigan State University students and visitors, including graduate students, facing drug charges, including possession, possession with intent to deliver, and delivery of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, etc. Although marijuana possession in a limited amount was recently legalized in the City of East Lansing, those under 21 years of age are still prohibited from its possession, and though those 21 years of age and over may lawfully have marijuana in their possession, pursuant to the East Lansing ordinance, they could potentially be deemed in violation of state law. Our firm has represented a number of students who engaged in the sale and/or distribution of drugs, to generate income to pay for their own drug use and/or dependence. This is often generated by underlying mental health conditions, or, as we see with high-achieving students, related to the self-imposed stress endemic to someone attempting to maintain a high GPA and hoping to attain a professional graduate degree. We are able to work with prosecutors and court officials, whether a case involves drugs or alcohol abuse, to avoid a criminal record and hopefully preserve a student's ability to move on in their career of choice. Our proactive approach is particularly helpful with young people who are more amenable to change and who are willing to address many of the underlying causes of drug or alcohol abuse that become more evident in late adolescence and during an individual's college tenure. Difficulties such as ADD, ADHD, depression, generalized anxiety disorders and bipolar illnesses, that manifest themselves with symptoms in their earlier years are often aggravated with the stress related to academic and social challenges at the college level. Students often turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. Our firm has a number of professionals available to help student clients, including psychologists who can help identify underlying mental health issues and determine the level of severity of any dependence or drug abuse. Educational programming, drug testing regimes, group milieus, such as group therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Narcotics Anonymous meetings and Marijuana meetings, can all be utilized to help a student demonstrate, with successful participation, that they will not repeat their offense. This makes it easier for judges and prosecutors to limit any sanctions that might be applied for the wrongdoing. We have successfully utilized programs, such as MCLA 333.7411, to give students an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. This law is designed specifically for those who plead guilty or are found guilty of drug use or possession. If individuals are charged with possession of intent to deliver or delivery of drugs, our firm has been successful in reducing the charge to possession or use to allow our students to be eligible for this form of probation. Our firm frequently utilizes MCLA 762.11, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, as a probationary option. Treatment under this Act is available to those between the ages of 17 and 21, and under new legislation recently enacted, is available to those from 21 to 24, with the prosecutor's consent. This law applies to most drug charges and most other criminal charges typically faced by students, and will result in charges being dismissed without a conviction, once a probationary term is successfully completed.