An arrest for drug charges can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your permanent criminal record. Depending on the arrest circumstances and your background, a sentence could also mean paying steep fines, probation, or time in jail.
Many factors can determine the outcome of a drug charge, including the amount of a controlled substance and whether the charges relate to possession for personal use or distribution. Contesting these charges can be nearly impossible without an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, so do not wait to contact us after an arrest. A skilled Golden Valley drug lawyer could review your case, answer your questions, and help plan a solid defense strategy.
The state of Minnesota classifies controlled substances based on medical use and potential for addiction. The classification of a drug plays a significant role in the potential penalties a person will face for a conviction. According to Minnesota Statutes § 152.02, there are five schedule classifications under which drugs will fall, with Schedule I being the most dangerous. Schedule I drugs include heroin, cocaine, narcotics, marijuana, fentanyl, and other opioids.
While marijuana is technically still a Schedule I substance, it is legal with a prescription for medical use. Therefore, the penalties for possession of marijuana for recreational purposes are generally not as severe as the other substances that fall within the category. A knowledgeable drug attorney in Golden Valley could review the list of drug classifications and determine how a specific controlled substance could impact someone’s case.
The penalties for an arrest involving a Schedule I drug depend on a person’s criminal background and the presence of aggravating factors. An arrest for distribution could result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years and fines of up to $1 million. If a defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, they may face a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison.
Some people are eligible for a stay of adjudication after a drug arrest. In this process, the party pleads guilty to the charges, but rather than accepting the plea, the judge gives a sentence of a stay of adjudication with probation terms. Probation conditions can include fines, community service, electric home monitoring, or jail time. As long as the defendant successfully completes their probation requirements, the conviction will not appear on their permanent criminal record.
However, while the court may dismiss a conviction, the initial arrest will still appear on a criminal record and could cause problems during background checks. An individual must pursue an expungement of their record if they wish to clear the arrest from their criminal background.
It is important to note that not everyone is eligible for a stay of adjudication, and the final decision will come down to the state prosecutor and criminal court judge. An experienced Golden Valley drug attorney could help determine if an individual qualifies for a stay of adjudication and pursue this outcome on their behalf.
An arrest for possessing or distributing an illegal substance is always a serious matter. Creating a strong defense against drug charges involves investigating and carefully reviewing the case specifics, including the arrest details. Taking the time to prepare a sound defense strategy is vital.
A seasoned Golden Valley drug lawyer could help you prepare your defense and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact the experienced team at BK Law Group to get started.