There are many different drug-related charges that you could face in Duluth, ranging from from simple possession to use, sale, and distribution. Many of these charges are felonies, meaning that they are not something to take lightly. Punishments for drug charges can be harsh, and the type and amount of the drug can aggravate penalties even further.
An experienced Duluth drug lawyer can help you understand what degree of offense you are being charged with and what defenses are available. No matter the charge brought against you, our criminal defense team can help protect your rights.
For someone to be charged with a drug offense, they must allegedly possess use, sell, or distribute a “controlled substance.” Minnesota Statutes § 152.02 lays out the five “schedules” that define controlled substances. While the list of controlled substances includes many illegal drugs, some of the most common prosecutions stem from the following:
If an individual is charged with a drug offense, the type of controlled substance involved will affect the resulting penalties. A drug lawyer could further explain laws and regulations around controlled substances in Duluth.
State law follows a five-degree designation when it comes to drug offenses. From first-degree to fifth-degree, each charge has the potential for jail or prison time and monetary fines.
Fifth-degree drug charges are the least severe, carrying a maximum sentence of prison for five years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. A fourth-degree offense can result in a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. Third-degree drug charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years and/or up to a $250,000 fine.
On the more extreme end, second-degree drug offenses carry penalties of up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000. First-degree drug offenses, which are the most severe, can result in a maximum of 30 years in prison and/or up to a $1,000,000 fine. As a Duluth drug attorney could explain in more detail, any drug offense can have increased penalties if aggravating factors, such as prior convictions, are present.
When facing a drug charge, an experienced drug lawyer in Duluth will understand what defenses are available that may decrease penalties or have the charges dropped entirely. Because many drug offenses involve a police inspection or raid of a motor vehicle, home, or other private property, Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure often become significant. For instance, an attorney could argue that an officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search a vehicle or home.
The intent of the defendant is another important component of a drug conviction. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove the defendant’s intention to distribute the controlled substance. As such, another way an attorney can defend against a drug charge is to argue that the prosecution has failed to provide ample evidence of this intent.
The range of aggravating factors and circumstances surrounding drug offenses can make defending these cases incredibly complex. A Duluth drug lawyer could stand up for your rights and argue available defenses before the court to try and get the best possible outcome.
If you are facing charges for a drug offense, contact an attorney today. An initial consultation could provide you with clear expectations and prepare you for the litigation to come.