Minimum Sentences Drug Trafficking Michigan

In People v. Fields, 448 Mich 58, 62; 528 NW2d 176 (1995), the Supreme Court of Michigan acknowledged that the legislative intent behind the statutorily prescribed minimum sentence scheme was to impose stiff minimum sentences on persons engaged in drug trafficking. As such, the Court reasoned that the amendments allowing for deviation from the mandatory sentence must be read consistently with "the overarching intent of the Legislature to deter people from committing drug-related crimes." The Court explained further that the Legislature's use of strong language in the phrase "substantial and compelling reasons" indicates that deviations from the mandatory sentence were contemplated only for exceptional cases. Accordingly, the Fields Court held that a sentencing court must articulate on the record "objective and verifiable factors" that provide "substantial" and "compelling" bases to depart from the mandatory minimum prescribed by the statute.