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How MSU students can keep a drug crime from jeopardizing their future

College and graduate school can be one of the most stressful times in a person's life. From sacrificing sleep to study, and from the emotions involved in deciding what you want to do with your future, it can be overwhelming and draining. Additionally, stress can be aggravated if you are struggling with depression and anxiety disorders, bipolar illnesses, and attention deficit disorders. Some students turn to drugs or alcohol to ease the stress.

Some students also turn to selling drugs to gain extra income while they are in college. Even high-achieving students who are serious about their studies can be caught into the temptation to get involved with drugs. Whether you have been charged with possession or sale of drugs, Michigan law allows young people who have not been previously convicted of a drug offense to redeem themselves and possibly avoid the charge going on their public record, to preserve their ability to seek the employment they desire in the future.

What options does the law give me if I have been charged with a drug crime?

Under a Michigan law, MCLA 333.7411, if you have never been convicted of a previous offense related to narcotic drugs, coca leaves, marijuana or stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic drugs, you have the option to plead guilty to use or possession of these drugs. In exchange for doing so, the law allows you to be placed on probation instead of the charge permanently going on your criminal record.

If you have been charged with possession of intent to deliver or delivery of drugs, a criminal defense attorney can help reduce the charge to possession or use to allow you to be eligible for this type of probation.

While you are on probation, you may be required to demonstrate that you will not repeat the offense, by getting to the root of mental health issues or drug dependence, and seeking help for those issues.

Is there an option that doesn't require me to plead guilty?

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is another probationary option. This law originally only applied to people ages 17 to 20, but last year, Michigan increased the age edibility to age 24. If a prosecutor agrees, drug charges or other criminal charges could be dismissed without conviction, once you serve a probationary term.

The purpose of the law is to allow young people to keep a criminal conviction from jeopardizing their future. It also limits the use of prison from three to two years and may require electronic monitoring in addition to a jail or prison sentence. Depending on the severity of your offense, a criminal defense attorney experienced in this area of law could help you become eligible serve probation without any further punishment.

Because laws surrounding drug use and possession can sometimes be unclear, such as the laws around marijuana possession, it is a good idea to retain a criminal defense attorney experienced in areas that college students often deal with. It is important to make every effort to clear your record or avoid a criminal record altogether in order to be able to go into the career of your choice. Fortunately, there are options to do so.

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