CRIMINAL LAW – DRUG CRIMES
Law enforcement in Minnesota takes drug offenses very seriously. If a person is caught in possession or selling drugs, he or she may face serious penalties, including heavy fines, jail time and other consequences. At Marso & Michelson, we know how destructive a drug conviction can be to a person’s record, and we are committed to fighting for your freedom. Do not walk into the courtroom alone. Learn more about Minnesota’s drug laws and understand your legal rights.
Like all other states, Minnesota classifies drugs – better known as controlled dangerous substances (CDS) – by a defined set of criteria. These criteria helps determine the seriousness of certain offenses. Common or well-known CDSs such as marijuana and cocaine are classified as well as the compounds used to make such substances.
In Minnesota, there are five “schedules” or classifications. Schedule I CDSs are considered the most dangerous, and they are highly addictive. They also do not offer any medical value. From there, the schedules go down in terms of danger to the user and up in terms of medical relevance.
Drug Manufacture, Sale or Possession
Minnesota prohibits the manufacture and sale of most CDSs, except in circumstances where a doctor has prescribed them as a medication. The severity of the penalties for doing so depend on the type of CDS and the quantity you manufactured or sold.
Possessing even a small amount of a controlled substance can lead to trouble in Minnesota, and in many cases, offenders are charged with a felony. You do not need to be holding a large amount of a controlled substance in order to receive a heavy sentence and in some cases, you do not need to physically holding it at all. If you are standing on a sidewalk with a baggie of cocaine next to you, you could be charged with possession.
Minnesota law provides five classification levels based on the type and amount of drug in an accused offender’s possession:
First Degree: If convicted of manufacturing, selling or possession of one of the following amounts of a CDS, offenders may face 30 years in prison and fines totaling $1 million. For second and subsequent convictions, offenders may pay another $1 million in fines and serve anywhere between 4 and 40 years in prison or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.021).
- Marijuana: 100 grams or more
- Hallucinogens or Amphetamines: 500 grams or 500 doses or more in a 90-day period
- Other Illegal Narcotics: 500 grams or more in a 90-day period
- Methamphetamines, Heroin, or Cocaine: 25 grams or more in a 90-day period.
- Manufacturing any certain amount of methamphetamine
Second Degree: If convicted of manufacturing, selling or possessing one of the following amounts of a CDS, offenders may serve up to 25 years in prison and pay as much as $500,000 in fines. For second and subsequent offenses, offenders may have to pay up to $1 million in fines and may serve between 4 and 40 years in prison or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.022).
- Marijuana: 50 kilograms or more
- Hallucinogens or Amphetamines: 50 grams or 100 doses or more
- Other Illegal Narcotics: 50 grams or more in a 90-day period
- Methamphetamines, Heroin, or Cocaine: 6 grams or more in a 90-day period
- Selling Schedule I or II CDSs in any amount to a minor (younger than 18 years old) or conspiring to employ a minor to sell CDSs
- Selling Schedule I or II CDSs in any amount within a park, school, drug treatment facility, or public housing zone.
- Selling Schedule I or II CDS in any amount to anyone
Third Degree: If convicted of manufacturing, selling or possession of one of the following amounts of a CDS, offenders serve up to 20 years in prison and pay $250,000 in fines. For second and subsequent offenses, offenders may be fined up to $250,000, receive a prison sentence between 2 and 30 years, or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.023).
- Marijuana: 10 grams or more
- Hallucinogens: 5 or more doses
- Narcotics in the form of a Pill: 50 or more doses
- Other Illegal Narcotics: 10 grams or more
- Methamphetamines, Heroin, or Cocaine: 3 grams or more
- Selling Schedule I, II, or III CDS (Excluding Schedule I or II narcotics) in one or more mixtures to a minor or conspiring to employ a minor to sell them.
Fourth Degree: This level of drug possession applies only to hallucinogens, such as LSD. If you are holding 10 or more doses of this type of drug, you may have to serve 15 years in prison and pay $100,000 in fines. Second and subsequent offenses may result in another $100,000 fine and anywhere from 1 to 30 years in prison or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.024). For a selling conviction:
- Selling Schedule I, II, or III CDS (excluding marijuana)
- Selling Schedule IV or V CDSs to minors or conspiring to employ minors to sell them
Fifth Degree: If you are caught in possession of a drug and do not fit into any other category listed above, then you may be charged with a fifth degree drug charge. Though it is usually considered to be the least serious degree, it still awards convicted offenders a 5-year prison sentence and as much as $10,000 in fines. Second and subsequent offenses may result in a $20,000 fine, six months to 10 years in prison, or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.025). For selling convictions:
- Selling one or more mixtures of Schedule IV CDSs
- Selling them to minors or conspiring to employ minors to sell them.
- Possession with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is one of the more serious Schedule I CDSs, and manufacturing it or even possessing the materials to manufacture it can lead to high fines and prison sentences.
If a person is found to be in possession of the materials used to make meth, the offender may face penalties, including $30,000 fines, as many as 15 years in prison, or both (Minn. Stat. Ann. § 152.0262).
If you find yourself facing one or more of these charges, do not face them alone. Contact Marso & Michelson, P.A.