In part 1 of this article, we observed that there are 2 kinds of Delivery charges: Those involving an actual “Delivery” (or “Manufacture”) of a Controlled Substance, and those which allege “Possession with Intent to Deliver.”
As we noted, someone facing an actual “Delivery” charge, especially one stemming from a hand-to-hand sale, or sales, is in particularly hot water. Let’s talk about those actual Delivery charges.
Delivery and/or Possession of different Drugs carry different penalties. Delivery of Cocaine and Delivery of Ecstasy carry a much more severe penalty than Delivery of Marijuana. In addition, the amount, or quantity, of Drugs Delivered, Possessed, or Possessed with Intent to Deliver affects the severity of the potential penalty.
The majority of Delivery cases that I handle are in Macomb County, where my Office is located. Most of them involve the Delivery of a smaller (as opposed to a larger) quantity of Drugs. In Cocaine cases, this means under 50 grams. In Marijuana cases, it often involves a few pounds or less. In Ecstasy cases, it often involves 100 or fewer “hits.”
Most often, by the time I am contacted, the person has already been approached about working with the Police. They’ll have questions for me about whether or not they should do it. As a general rule, I do NOT advise “working” with the Police in most cases.
If a person, because of a combination of factors, such as their prior Record and/or the amount of Drugs involved in the new case, seems likely to be sent off to Prison, then we’ll consider our options to avoid that.
In the majority of situations, no matter how dire it might seem at first glance, the case can be worked out for no Jail, and no Prison time That essentially means there’s really no reason to march into harm’s way by snitching.
Back in the mid-90’s, when the Law was different, the Delivery of ANY amount of Cocaine required a MINIMUM of 1 year in Prison. And Prison meant Prison: the Big House, not some local County Jail.
In those cases where the evidence was rock-solid, and there was no way out, I’d structure a deal with the Prosecutor and the Detective in Charge whereby the Client would do a little “work” (as little as possible) in order to get the Delivery charge dropped to a simple Possession charge, thereby avoiding a trip to Jackson and all the fun that comes with a Prison term.
The same analysis holds true today: If you REALLY face a Prison term based upon REAL LIFE considerations, like Sentencing Guidelines, then we don’t rule out a little “work.”
Which brings us to the next point. Any of these deals to do some “work” should be structured by the Defense Lawyer with the agreement of the Prosecutor. Deals made by the person themselves with the Police almost always wind up being too “open ended,” meaning there is no set, or certain, specified amount of “work” the person is expected to do in order to get this or that deal. Instead, the Police (who have every reason to do this) will always keep “needing a little more,” and the “work” can seem to go on endlessly.
And if the person cannot or does not continue to do the “work” required by the Police in the absence of a set, specific-term deal, then whatever “work “they did before is essentially for naught, and they wind up facing the same charges they started with.
Thus, the decision whether to “work” or not should be made with the help of a Lawyer experienced in this area of the Law. If the decision is made to go ahead with some “work,” then the Lawyer will handle getting the deal set with the Prosecutor and the Police. In many cases, the Court case needs to be delayed as the “work” is done, so it is not uncommon to have to bring the Judge on board, as well.
Sometimes, a person facing a Delivery charge is made to understand that even if they avoid any Jail or Prison, they’re Record will reflect the Felony conviction. They are told (usually by the Police) that if they “work” they can have the Delivery charge dropped to a Possession charge, and may be eligible to completely keep the Possession charge off their Record using what’s known as a “7411,” or an “HYTA.”
While that’s true, it overlooks several very important considerations. Many people who have to “eat” a conviction will become eligible down the road (5 years, to be exact) to have it “Expunged.” Why start setting people up to get busted, to avoid a Record that you can get wiped off, anyway? While real life isn’t like TV or the movies, running into someone you set up to get Arrested is not likely to result in friendly chit chat.
About the only time “working” makes sense for someone NOT facing a Prison, or Jail term is when they have a job, or a particular occupational license which will be lost if they receive a Felony conviction. If losing that job or license can be avoided by “working” and getting a Possession deal, which, in turn, can be kept off of their Record by virtue of 7411 or HYTA, then it’s at least something to consider.
Usually, however, the case is worked out to avoid what people fear most: Getting locked up. Any Lawyer who has been around the block can tell you that the first concern, if not the first question that anyone facing a Delivery charge has is something like “Can I stay out of Jail?”
The good news, of course, is that the answer is “yes” in most cases.
How that happens depends on too many factors to cover in this article. It can sometimes be accomplished with a lot of hard work, and other times it can be accomplished quite quickly. However it gets accomplished, staying out of Jail in any kind of a Delivery case is a good, first step toward successfully resolving it.
In part 3 of this article, we’ll examine some other important concerns beyond just staying out of Jail in a Delivery case.