The state of Michigan legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes on December 6th, 2018 and now many individuals who have been convicted of marijuana charges or have some currently pending against them are wondering how the new law will affect their criminal record. Will their conviction be expunged? Will the charges be dropped?
While this is what many are hoping for, this isn’t a plausible outcome. You see, the law isn’t retroactive which means the charges still stand and these individuals are still going to be facing the penalties they would had the law never been enacted. That means those who are still sitting behind bars for a crime that they would no longer be punished for will remain there and those whose lives have been impacted by a marijuana charge can’t undo the damage that has been done.
As frustrating as this can be, you should know that you aren’t alone if you are currently facing the repercussions of a marijuana charge that was filed prior to the passing of the new law. Fox News 7 highlighted that there are still people “working their way through the court system on charges that pre-dated the change in law” and there “are also hundreds of people serving [time on] probation on low-level marijuana charges.” The source goes on to cite that there are “even more people who have a criminal record tied to something that is no longer a crime.” Take for instance the case involving Peter Trzos, who is “a former medical doctor who pleaded guilty to felony charges earlier this year in connection with his sale of medical marijuana.”
Trzos told the source that he’s spent the last six years of his life fighting this case and he’s been “battling to keep paychecks coming in ever since his charges were filed.” Trzos had taken over a medical marijuana facility before it was raided, and he was faced with the criminal charges. Not only was he hit with several marijuana charges, but also charges for having weapons in his possession as he owned guns. Trzos decided to accept a plea deal that involved him pleading guilty to possession and manufacturing charges in an effort to avoid being hit with additional charges.
As a result of the conviction, Trzos can no longer hold a medical license, says the news source. In fact, the charges have even led to him being denied a job as a Lyft driver given his criminal background. As unfortunate as it is, there are plenty of individuals just like Trzos who have been faced with the struggles convicted criminals encounter for a crime that is now no longer considered an offense.
Is there any possibility that the marijuana charges that were filed prior to the passing of the new law will be ever be dropped?
Although the likelihood of this happening is slim, one lawyer who pushed to have recreational marijuana legalized told the news source that if legislative action is taken, there is a chance that some low-level marijuana convictions may be expunged. The news outlet says that “California enacted legislation earlier this year that started an automatic process to potentially reduce, or dismiss, sentences and records for crimes that are no longer illegal under state law.” If Michigan were to pass a similar bill, it could “potentially remove convictions” as well. Will this happen? That is still unclear so for now, if you are currently facing any type of marijuana charge, you are encouraged to contact Lansing, MI criminal defense lawyer Stuart R. Shafer.
Our firm has extensive experience in handling these types of cases and will do all that we can to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.
You can reach the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906