The level of a drug charge and the penalties resulting from a conviction involve a range of factors, including aggravating circumstances, gang involvement, carrying a firearm, or crossing a state or international border. The classification of the drug under the Controlled Substances Act may also enhance the charges.
Despite the range in severity of different classifications of controlled substance cases, any drug charge could have lasting consequences on a defendant’s life. If you are facing a drug charge, it may be crucial to seek advice from a experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. A Hennepin County drug lawyer could assess your situation and help you mitigate or defeat your charges in court.
Classification of Drug Offenses in Hennepin County
Under Chapter 152 of the 2019 Minnesota Statutes, drug offenses are classified as controlled substance crimes of classes one through five. First-degree offenses relate to the sale, possession, or manufacture of controlled substances and any aggravating circumstances involved. The degree of the offense depends on factors such as the amount of the substance involved, the number of aggravating factors, and the number of offenses occurring within a 90-day period.
Selling 17 grams or more of substances containing cocaine or methamphetamine within a 90-day timespan, or possessing 50 grams or more of such substances, qualifies as a first degree offense, as does selling drugs while the accused offender or an accomplice carries a firearm. Manufacturing any amount of methamphetamine also constitutes first degree offense. A person charged with a controlled substance crime at any level could learn about strategies for defeating their charge or qualifying for a supervised-release treatment sentence by consulting a Hennepin County drug lawyer about their case.
How are the Drug Schedules Defined?
Drugs are classified into the five schedules that are based on several factors, including the drug’s potential medical uses and addictive properties.
- Schedule I drugs include any substances that have a high potential for abuse and have no currently accepted medical purposes, such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Marijuana is also a Schedule I drug, though recent laws have decriminalized small amounts of this substance and it is acknowledged to have a medical benefit
- Schedule II drugs still have a high potential for abuse, and there could also be a potential of psychological or physical dependence on the drug, like cocaine, codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone
- Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence or addiction, such as ketamine, anabolic steroids, and human growth hormone.
- Schedule IV includes drugs that have a low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependence. The common examples are generally prescription drugs like Ambien
- Schedule V drugs have a low potential for harm or abuse and generally have some recognized medical uses or benefits, such as cough syrup or arthritis medication
A Hennepin County drug lawyer could explain these schedules and a potential defense in more detail during a confidential consultation.
How Does Drug Court Operate?
Part of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the Hennepin County Drug Court conducts a voluntary, post-conviction treatment program for chemically dependent adult, nonviolent, drug and felony-property offenders. The court was established to reduce illegal use of drugs and recidivism among participants and help them find employment, receive education and training, and secure housing. The court offers many services, including individual judicial supervision, drug dependency treatment, mental health counseling, and drug testing.
The treatment program lasts for at least 12 months during which the court and community closely supervise participants, who take part while serving a three-year probation term. Along with a participation cost, a person in the program must pay any fees imposed during sentencing and meet the eligibility requirements. Someone convicted of a drug offense who is interested in this program could discuss it further with a drug lawyer in Hennepin County.
Learn How a Hennepin County Drug Attorney Could Aid Your Case
Speaking with a legal practitioner who understands how controlled substance cases tend to play out could benefit your defense, regardless of the classification of your charges. A Hennepin County drug lawyer could give you peace of mind throughout the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for a positive outcome in your case. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation and discuss your next steps.