The Minnesota legislature set the degree of drug crimes and their sentencing limits in Minnesota in 1989. These sentence limits were amended in 1990, and the guidelines for each degree are in reference to the length of time you are convicted of an offense. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission sets guidelines, and your criminal history will determine the length of the sentence.
There are five forms of felonies in Minnesota that apply to drug offenses. Federal, State, and county lawmakers will refer to drug possession by degree. The first degree is the most serious, and the fifth is the least of all offenses. Penalties gradually increase according to which type of drug crime you are being convicted of.
First-Degree Drug Crimes
First-degree possession or sale of illegal narcotics or drugs in Minnesota is the most serious felony under the law. This drug crime is punishable for up to thirty years in prison, with a possible fine of $1,000,000. The mandatory minimum sentence for a first-degree conviction of a drug crime is four years in prison and is applied to those who have a previous drug conviction on their record. Even if you do not have a prior drug crime on your record, you could still face a five-and-half year prison sentence under Minnesota sentencing guidelines.
If you have been arrested, are just being questioned, or have been charged with a first-degree drug crime in Minnesota, you need to talk with an experienced drug crime defense attorney. Ringstrom Law has the experience to deal with these charges and is ready to speak with you about possible defense strategies.
If you are arrested with possession of a controlled substance, you will be charged under Minnesota Statute 152.021 as a first-degree felony. A possession offense of the first-degree can result from any of the following situations:
- Being found with a narcotic mixture of heroin that has a weight of twenty-five grams or more
- Being found with a mixture that weighs more than five-hundred grams and contains amphetamine, hallucinogen, or phencyclidine with five-hundred dose units or more
- Being found with a mixture that has a total weight of fifty kilos or more of marijuana, or with five-hundred marijuana plants or more
- Being found with a narcotic mixture that has a weight of fifty grams or twenty-five grams if you also have a gun in your possession, that contains methamphetamine or cocaine
- Being found with a mixture that weighs more than five-hundred grams or more of a narcotic drug other than meth, heroin, or cocaine
Under Minnesota statutes, a drug crime or drug possession is defined by the following:
- If the illegal drug was in a position under your exclusive control to which other people do not usually have access to, or if it was found in an area to which other people did have access, and you knowingly exercised control and dominion over it.
It is also a first-degree felony under drug crimes in Minnesota if there is a sale of a controlled substance. A first-degree felony charge would occur if any of the following are involved:
- You are caught selling a mixture with a weight of seventeen grams or more, ten grams if you also have a gun in your possession, which contains methamphetamine or cocaine
- You are caught selling a mixture with a weight of fifty grams or more that contains a narcotic drug other than meth, heroin, or cocaine
- You are caught selling a mixture with a weight of twenty-five kilos or more which contains marijuana
- You are caught selling a narcotic heroin mixture with a weight of ten grams or more
- You are caught selling a mixture with a total weight of fifty grams or more which contains a hallucinogen, phencyclidine, or amphetamine, or two-hundred or more dosage units or more
Minnesota defines the ‘sale’ associated with drug crimes and possession as:
- Selling, bartering, exchanging, giving away, distributing, or disposing of the controlled substance to another, or to offer or agree to do the same, to possess the substance with an intent to do the same or to manufacture the substance.
It is also considered a first-degree aggravated offense under Minnesota Statute 152.021 subdivision 2(b) if your charges include any of the following:
- Possession or sale of one-hundred grams of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or other narcotic, or if you have packaged PCP, hallucinogen, or amphetamine in dosage units of five-hundred or more
- You are in the presence of two or more aggravating factors, a sale to a person who is under the age of 18, prior controlled substance offense, or committed the crime for the benefit of a gang, or are in the possession or use of a firearm
The consequences of a conviction for an offense that has reached the aggravated level are serious. You would be facing a mandatory sentence that is applied to all convictions. The minimum sentence has to be the greater of eighty-six months or the presumptive guideline sentence.
Second-Degree Drug Crimes
A second-degree drug crime charge in Minnesota covers the possession or sale of a controlled substance and is a very serious felony. If you are convicted, it could result in a prison sentence of twenty-five years and a fine up to $500,000. There is a mandatory sentence with this conviction of at least three years in prison, and it applies to those with a previous first or second-degree drug crime conviction on their file.
There is also a mandatory minimum sentence with this conviction if you are arrested with a gun on your possession. Under the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, it is recommended that you serve a forty-eight-month prison term as even a first offender.
Being arrested and charged with a second-degree felony drug crime in the State of Minnesota has life-altering effects on your future. You will want an expert drug crime defense attorney working with you through this difficult legal battle. Talk to Ringstrom Law and find out what your options are to ensure you receive fair treatment, and your future is protected.
Being arrested for the possession of a controlled substance is also a second-degree offense under Minnesota Statute 152.022 and can include any of these situations:
- Being arrested for the possession of a narcotic mixture with a weight of twenty-five grams or more, or with ten grams or more if you are also caught with a gun, of meth or cocaine
- Being arrested with the possession of a mixture weighing fifty grams or more that contain a narcotic that is not meth, heroin, or cocaine
- Being arrested with a mixture that weighs twenty-five kilos or more or marijuana
- Being arrested with a mixture that weighs ten grams or more of heroin
- Being arrested with a mixture of fifty grams or more, or one-hundred dosage units of phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamine, or a hallucinogen
Another drug crime which is charged as a second-degree felony involves the sale of a controlled substance under Minnesota Statute 152.022 and includes any of these activities:
- The sale of a mixture weighing three grams or more of heroin
- The sale of a mixture weighing ten grams or more which contains a narcotic drug other than meth, heroin, or cocaine
- The sale of a mixture which weighs a total of ten grams or more, or fifty dosage units, containing PCP, hallucinogen, or amphetamine
- Caught conspiring or employing a person below the age of 18 to sell or to schedule to sell a level I or level II narcotic drug
- Selling any amount of a schedule I or II narcotic drugs, a mixture containing any amount of meth, or a mixture weighing five kilos or more of marijuana in a school park, drug treatment facility, or public housing facility
- Selling a mixture weighing ten grams or more, or three grams or more if you have a gun on your possession, containing meth or cocaine
- Selling a mixture weighing ten kilos or more of marijuana
- Selling any amount of a schedule I or II narcotic drugs to a person who under 18 years of age
Third-Degree Drug Crimes
A third-degree drug crime charge in Minnesota covers the sale or possession of an illegal drug and is a felony under the law. This drug crime can result in a prison sentence of twenty years, along with a possible fine of $250,000. First-time offenders are not always sentenced to prison with a third-degree charge, but there are other serious consequences one can face with this drug crime conviction.
If you are being questioned regarding a felony drug crime, or have already been arrested, you need the help of Ringstrom Law. These charges will impact your future negatively if they turn into a conviction, and you will need the legal expertise of Ringstrom Law to fight these charges.
Under Minnesota Statute 152.023 subdivision 2, you can be charged with a third-degree felony drug crime if caught in any of these situations:
- You are caught with a mixture weighing ten grams or more that contains a narcotic that is not meth, heroin, or cocaine
- You are caught with a mixture that contains a narcotic drug packaged in fifty dosage units or more
- You are caught with mixture weighing ten kilos or marijuana
- You are caught with a mixture near a drug treatment center, public housing, park, or school that contains meth
- You are caught with a mixture weighing three grams or more of meth, heroin, or cocaine
- You are caught with any amount of a schedule I or II narcotic drugs, or five or more dosage units of ecstasy, MDA, or LSD in a park, school, drug treatment center, or public housing
It is also a third-degree felony to sell a controlled substance under any of these situations:
- Selling a mixture that contains PCP packaged in dosage units of ten or more
- Employing or conspiring with a person under the age of 18 to sell a controlled substance listed as a I or II, or III, or to accept a schedule I or II narcotic drug
- Selling a mixture containing a narcotic drug
- Selling a mixture that contains a schedule I, II, or III controlled substance to a person under the age of 18, or to accept a schedule I or II narcotic drug
- Selling a mixture with a weight of five kilos or more of marijuana
Fourth-Degree Drug Crimes
A fourth-degree drug crime in the State of Minnesota is a felony and is punishable to as many as fifteen years in prison and a fine of $100,000. Prison sentences are not common if it is your first-time charge of a fourth-degree drug crime, however, it will still impact your future, and you will need strong legal representation against these charges. Ringstrom Law has the experience you will need to defend yourself against these charges and protect your future.
Under Minnesota Statute 152.024, it is a fourth-degree felony under these situations:
- You are caught with a mixture that contains a schedule I, II, or III controlled substance, except marijuana and intend to sell
- You are caught with LSD, PCP, or psychedelic mushrooms which are packaged in dosage units of ten or more units
It is also illegal and a fourth-degree felony in Minnesota to sell controlled substances under any of these situations:
- Selling a mixture that contains schedule I, II, or III controlled substances except for marijuana
- Selling a mixture which contains a schedule IV or V controlled substance to someone below the age of 18
- Employing or conspiring with a person under the age of 18 to sell a controlled substance that is classified as a schedule IV or V
- Selling any amount of marijuana in a public housing, drug treatment facility, park, or school zone, except for a small amount of marijuana for no money
Fifth-Degree Drug Crimes
A fifth-degree drug crime in Minnesota for possessing or selling a controlled substance is a felony conviction if found guilty. With a fifth-degree charge, if the amount of the illegal drugs are small that is found with you, it could be reduced to a gross misdemeanor charge. This conviction is still a felony drug offense and can be punishable with a five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
You can be charged with fifth-degree felony drug possession under these situations:
- You are caught with any amount of a schedule I, II, III, or IV substance, such as heroin, crack, cocaine, LSD, meth, Vicodin, Xanax, or marijuana if less than 42.5 grams
- You are caught with any amount of a controlled substance by means of deceit or fraud
It is also a fifth-degree felony to sell a controlled substance under these situations:
- Selling more than 42.5 grams of marijuana
- Selling any amount of a schedule IV controlled substance, but not a small amount of marijuana
Avoiding a Conviction for a Drug Crime
If you are arrested for a first-time drug crime offense, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney from Ringstom Law can often result in the judge giving you an adjudication of the offense. This process means that instead of being convicted to a prison sentence, you will receive probation.
Probations typically involve completing a drug treatment program, performing community service, paying the court costs, and remaining a law-abiding citizen. If the arrest includes a fifth-degree drug crime charge, you could walk away without a conviction to appear on your criminal files, and avoiding other strict consequences of a drug conviction.
Defense for Drug Crimes in Minnesota
The Ringstrom Law attorneys take an aggressive approach in defense of their clients arrested for drug crimes. These charges, while sometimes challenging, can be defended using several defense strategies. The State’s case against you can be reviewed, and one of these possible paths can be pursued to help you fight a charge for a drug crime:
Police are not allowed to seize your property unless they have probable cause that leads them to believe you have committed a crime. If they illegally search your property or person, any evidence they find as a result of the search cannot be used against in court.
Under your Constitutional Rights, unreliable and suggestive identification procedures are prohibited. Your attorney at Ringstrom Law might be able to prevent the government from identifying you in court if it is shown the identification procedures used by the police were unreliable. This defense is possible if your attorney can prove the police mishandled your mugshots shown to witness, did not perform a line-up of suspects correctly, or wrongly showed a witness pictures of you.
When the State obtains evidence against you through a violation of your constitutional rights, they cannot use that evidence against in a court of law. Your attorney at Ringstrom Law will thoroughly investigate how evidence against you was collected, and if possible, have it thrown out of the proceedings if the police or prosecution did not follow the law and violated your constitutional rights in any manner.
It is your constitutional right to be warned by the police at the time of an arrest, that you have the right to remain silent until represented by an attorney. This warning, known as your Miranda, must be given by the police before you make any form of statements. If the Miranda is not given, anything you say will not be admissible as evidence against you.
Other defense strategies are possible if these pretrial suppression attempts do not work in your case. Talk to your attorney at Ringstrom Law if you are questioned or have been arrested for a drug crime. It is vital to your future to receive legal representation right away to protect your rights and future.
Who to Contact for Drug Crime Defense Near Me?
Your future is at stake if you are arrested or are being questioned about a drug crime in Minnesota. Contact Ringstrom Law at 218-284-0484 immediately to protect yourself against these life-altering charges. We have the experience needed to get you through this difficult legal challenge and are ready to begin building your defense against these serious felony charges.