This is another installment of "Short Version" Blog articles which take the most important points from a longer, full-version article. In this article, we'll boil down the most important aspects from the longer article, "Drug Possession in Michigan - Keeping it off your Record with 7411." As a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan, whose Practice involves the regular handling of Drug Cases in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, I am often asked by my clients about a way to keep a Drug Charge off of their Record.
In Michigan, there is a provision of the law known as "7411," which is the abbreviated citation for the actual law, MCL 333.7411. This section of the law is truly a gift for anyone without a prior Drug Record who winds up facing a Drug Possession Charge. It allows a person with a pending Drug Charge to work out a deal where they offer a Plea of "Guilty" to a Drug Possession Charge, and the Court, by arrangement, "holds" that Plea without putting it on their record. The best way I've thought of to describe how this works is this:
A person charged with a Drug Possession Crime has his or her Lawyer work out a 7411 deal. If the deal goes through, the person Pleads guilty to the Drug Possession Charge, with an understanding that the Judge will "hold" the Plea in his or her desk drawer for a period of time. During that period (typically, about 1 year) the person will be placed on Probation (this may be Reporting or Non-Reporting Probation) and ordered to do certain things and not do others. If they do what they are ordered to do, and don't do anything they're not supposed to do, then at the end of the period set by the Judge, the whole matter is dismissed, and never goes on their Record.
Because all Drug Possession charges carry a mandatory Driver's License Suspension upon conviction (6 months for a 1st offense, with no driving for the first 30 days; the Court may, if it so chooses, grant a Restricted License for the remaining 5 months), the 7411 is a real break. Because a 7411 deal means there is no conviction, then the Secretary of State is not notified of anything, and thus there is no License Suspension.
Of course, if the person doesn't do what they are ordered to do as a Condition of Probation (like report, if that was ordered, or provide a urine sample, if that was ordered), or if they do something they weren't supposed to do (like get arrested for a new crime, or test positive for Drugs while on Probation), then their Probation will be "Violated" and the Judge is likely, before imposing any other punishment, to "Revoke" or take away the 7411 deal. This means that a conviction will then go on their Record and their License will subsequently be Suspended by the Secretary of State for a Drug Crime."
7411 is available for any Drug Possession Charge. This means that whether a person is charged with the Misdemeanor Offense of Possession of Marijuana, or the Felony Charge of Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Analogues (Vicodin, Oxycontin, Valium, or any other narcotic derivative in pill form), or even Possession of Ecstasy ("E"), or any other Drug, for that matter, the whole case can be kept off of their record if they have no prior Drug Crimes in their past.
For those who meet the eligibility requirements of 7411 and who are successful in getting the deal, it offers what can basically be described as a "free pass." 7411 can only be granted once in a person's lifetime, so there is no second bite at the apple. In cases where a person doesn't have a good shot at beating the Charge, 7411 offers the same final outcome; the whole thing goes away with no Record.