A Shyler Engel, PLLC client decided to smoke marijuana in his car in a public park after the park had closed. Our client had not yet been certified by a physician for the medical use of marijuana. Our client was stopped by an officer who had spotted him in the park and waited for him to leave before initiating a stop. A host of legal issues including were created by this incident. We filed motions to dismiss based on violation of 4th amendment rights and medical marijuana issues going forward. The prosecutor was kind enough to permit our client to plead guilty to improper transportation of marijuana in exchange for dismissing the marijuana possession. Then, we secured an agreement to have the improper transportation charged dismissed after a short term of probation. During sentencing, Shyler Engel was able to convince the judge to have our client only pay fines and costs and avoid reporting and testing probation completely. The improper transportation charge will be dismissed in 3 months. Accordingly, the total consequence to our client was a fine and staying out of trouble for 3 months. No conviction. No probation. No testing.
Three Shyler Engel, PLLC clients had just finished seeing a comedy show held at Soaring Eagle Casino, and decided to smoke marijuana in the parking lot. This parking lot is somewhat notorious in the medical marijuana defense community because it is the same casino parking lot that was the subject of question in People v Carlton, the Court of Appeals’ case that determined whether the immunity and defenses provided under the Medical Marihuana Act apply to a person who smokes marijuana in his or her own car while that car is parked in the parking lot of a private business that is open to the general public. In People v Carlton, the medical marijuana patient lost because the Court concluded that a person’s own car, when in a public place, constitutes a public place, and therefore, medical marihuana protections do not apply.
Our clients’ prosecutor was, in fact, the very prosecutor who argued the case before the Court of Appeals. However, we had alternative theories of defense. Despite only one client having a medical marihuana patient card, we filed a motion to dismiss based on the difference between communal use and possession as it relates to medical marijuana patients, and other traditional defenses. One of our clients was even charged with delivery for simply sharing the marijuana, which we believed a complete overreach from the intent of the delivery statute. When the day of the motion hearing was held, all of our clients we offered and took advantage of the same deal: Possession charges were dropped. Delivery charge dropped, elimination of a non-public record after 30 days of non-reporting and non-testing probation. In fact, the court sent a check back to our clients because the arraigning judge had assessed a bond that well exceeded the fine imposed.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was pulled over by a police officer after he had allegedly drove through a red light. Our client immediately confessed to having his medical marijuana in the wrong part of the car. Our client was issued a misdemeanor citation for Improper Transportation of Marijuana, and the Failed to Stop at a Traffic Light civil infraction. After we filed our Motion to Dismiss based on the MMMA superseding the Improper Transportation statute, the City Attorney argued that both the Improper Transport and the MMMMA could be read harmoniously. The judge concerned himself with the pending case before the Court of Appeals, People v Latz and believed the case should be stayed until the appellate court provides further guidance. The City Attorney then offered to dismiss both the Improper Transportation citation and the civil infraction, if our client paid a fine. Our client agreed, and left the courthouse without a conviction, probation, or testing.
After more than a year and more than a dozen hearings, a long fight finally ended with a severely reduced plea bargain and a Cobb’s evaluation to a lengthy term of probation. This case started with a raid by the DEA. More marijuana and plants were in our client’s home than authorized by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Inevitably, a safety deposit box was located and more than $100,000 in cash was seized by the federal government. The home was not subject to forfeiture, but there was an understanding that if we put up much of a fight, it would be. Despite the federal government being involved, we were able to secure the return of a significant portion of the cash in the civil forfeiture proceedings. Our client was charged with six felony counts: Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Michigan’s version of RICO), a 20 year felony, both the 4 and 7 year Manufacture of Marijuana felonies, conspiracy charges, and Maintaining a Drug House. Our client was a Habitual 4th Offender, meaning the judge could send our client to prison for life. Our client’s minimum sentencing guidelines were for many years in prison. We mounted the appropriate defenses and were prepared to take the case to trial. After hundreds of hours of work, half the charges were dismissed, including the 20 year felony, and the judge agreed to sentence our client to probation.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was charged with Possession of Marijuana. Our client unfortunately had no diversion program eligibility; he had already used §7411 and he was in his mid-30s. However, our client did secure a medical marijuana card after the incident. The prosecutor initially made no offer other than to plead guilty and be on probation, however after talking the judge about the implications of having a medical marijuana card while on probation, the judge decided to permit our client to use marijuana for medical purposes while on probation. Bringing that new information back to the prosecutor, the prosecutor was gracious enough to offer a reduced plea to Improper Transportation of Marijuana. The judge, seemingly happy to further help our client, then decided to simply sentence our client to fines and costs. For our client, who had no medical protections at the time of the arrest, he walked away with simply fines and costs on an Improper Transportation charge. No probation, no testing, and no driver’s license sanctions.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was had been charged with Possession of Marijuana after marijuana was found in his pant pocket, his glove box, and in the center console. Our client told the police officer that he had an active medical marijuana patient card, but was unable to produce it at the scene. We filed our Section 4 motion and sought a pre-hearing discussion with the prosecutor. Inevitably, the Prosecutor dismissed the case. Our client never stepped foot in the courthouse.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was charged with Possession of Marijuana in a District Court known for its lengthy terms of testing probation. Our client had one goal: to be able to continue to using marijuana. We uncovered a potential Kolanek issue that would render him protected under Section 8 under the Medical Marijuana Act. We filed a motion and prepared for the Section 8 hearing. When we appeared, the prosecutor eventually offered our client a dismissal in exchange for a plea to Improper Transportation of Marijuana. Unfortunately, Improper Transportation of Marijuana in this court often results in testing probation as well. We explained to the judge firstly the necessity of the need for our client to use marijuana for medical purposes, and then secondly, our position that marijuana use for medical purposes is protected from violations of probation. With that, the judge agreed to simply place our client on non-reporting and non-testing probation. Further, with the dismissal of the Possession charge, our client also avoided all driver’s license sanctions. Our client left the courthouse with his goals achieved.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was charged with Improper Transportation of Marijuana and Minor in Possession of Alcohol. We filed motions to dismiss both charges, and we received a call from the prosecutor before the motion hearing to discuss possible resolutions. Long story made short, both charges were dismissed outright in exchange for a plea of responsible to a simple traffic infraction. No probation. No testing. Better yet, our client never even had to show up for court and sent the $165 fine for the civil infraction by mail.