Despite recent actions taken in marijuana decriminalization, Minnesota law still enforces strict prohibitions on marijuana as well as numerous other controlled substances. If you are arrested for possessing, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute an illegal drug, you could face felony charges as a result.
In order to avoid severe and sometimes permanent consequences upon conviction for a drug offense, it may be crucial that you seek help from a knowledgeable Bloomington drug lawyer. These cases can be difficult to litigate and even harder to achieve a favorable resolution if you try to defend yourself alone, so working with a skilled attorney is in your best interests in virtually every situation.
The controlled substance classification system established in Minnesota Statutes §152.02 outlines the classification system enforced at the federal level, as it includes five categories known as schedules that are organized based on how addictive a substance is and whether it has any legitimate medical purposes. Schedule I drugs are thought of as more dangerous and therefore lead to the most severe criminal punishments, whereas drugs in higher-numbered schedules are generally not treated as harshly.
As a Bloomington drug attorney could explain in further detail, Schedule I substances include opiates, hallucinogens, and certain stimulants and depressants, and Schedules II, III, IV generally include derivatives of these substances and medications with high potential for abuse. Schedule V is reserved for “methamphetamine precursor drugs,” which are generally substances that can be legally purchased in bulk and used to illegally produce methamphetamine, a Schedule II substance.
Possessing 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is considered a petty misdemeanor offense is punishable by no more than a $300 fine, and first-time offenders can often seek to have such a charge struck from their record. However, possessing more than 42.5 grams of marijuana—or any amount of a drug in Schedule I, II, III, or IV—at one time is a fifth-degree felony drug offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for a first conviction, as per MN Stat. §152.025.
Depending on how much and what type of illicit substance a person is accused of selling or possessing, they may be charged with higher degrees of felony drug offenses and face more severe consequences if they are convicted. For example, possessing three grams or more of cocaine or heroin is a third-degree felony offense under MN Stat. §152.023 that could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a maximum $250,000 fine for a first offense. Conversely, possessing 25 grams of heroin or 50 grams of cocaine would be a first-degree offense that could lead to 30 years behind bars and up to $1 million in fines, according to MN Stat. §152.021.
Subsequent offenses of any degree can be punished more harshly than first offenses and often include mandatory minimum prison sentences. Working with a drug attorney may be especially important for anyone who has been convicted of a drug offense before and is now facing charges for a subsequent offense in the nearby area.
Law enforcement authorities in Bloomington take drug offenses very seriously, and Minnesota courts often prosecute them harshly. If you want to effectively defend your best interests when facing a drug offense, retaining legal counsel is strongly recommended.
Getting help from a Bloomington drug lawyer could make all the difference in how your case progresses and whether you can successfully achieve a positive end result. To schedule a consultation and discuss what may be possible in your situation, call today.