Minneapolis has five categories (or Schedules) of controlled substances, with lawmakers basing the schedules on how addictive they are and the likelihood of them being abused. An arrest for drug charges may lead to lasting consequences and severe penalties. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys could help you prepare a sound and effective defense strategy.
A conviction involving Schedule I drugs could mean facing first-degree drug charges, which lead to the most severe penalties. Set up a consultation with a hard-working and knowledgeable Minneapolis drug lawyer for help after an arrest or if you are under investigation.
The Five Degrees of Controlled Substances Offenses
There are five levels, called degrees, of the severity of drug offenses with which the state may charge an individual. The degree of drug crime will determine whether a person faces probation or a long-term prison sentence.
Fourth- and Fifth-Degree Drug Offenses
Fourth- and fifth-degree drug offenses are the least severe and often involve a first-time arrest for possessing a small amount of Schedule I drugs, such as heroin and LSD. A fifth-degree conviction could mean spending up to five years in prison and paying fines of up to $10,000. The maximum sentencing guidelines for a fourth-degree controlled substance conviction are 15 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Second- and Third-Degree Drug Crimes
Third-degree drug crime conviction involving controlled substances is a felony and punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000. The maximum sentencing for a drug crime conviction in the second degree is 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. A Minneapolis drug arrest attorney could explain which penalties are on the table for a particular defendant during a consultation.
Drug Crimes in the First Degree
A conviction for a first-degree drug offense can result from the illegal sale, manufacturing, or possession of Schedule I drugs. According to Minnesota Statutes § 152.021, it is illegal to possess the following amounts of controlled substances, which is a drug crime in the first degree:
- 25 grams or more of heroin or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl
- 50 grams or more of methamphetamine or cocaine
- 500 grams or more of amphetamine, PCP, or hallucinogens
- 500 grams or more of other narcotics
A first-time conviction of a first-degree drug crime could result in a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000. There may also be a mandatory minimum depending on the individual’s criminal background or the presence of other aggravating factors. Aggravating circumstances include selling controlled substances within a school zone or while possessing a firearm.
First-Degree Controlled Substance Sales
The sale of Schedule I controlled substances, including the following, is a first-degree drug crime:
- 10 grams or more of heroin or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl
- 17 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine – or 10 grams when there are aggravating factors present
- 50 grams or more, or 200 doses of pre-packaged amphetamine, PCP, or hallucinogens
- 50 grams or more of other narcotics
After reviewing the case, a drug lawyer in Minneapolis could answer specific questions about potential defense strategies and implement that plan in court.
Call a Seasoned Drug Attorney in Minneapolis
The city of Minneapolis takes drug offenses seriously and prosecutes them harshly. Therefore, you must be proactive and prepare your defense strategy as soon as possible.
An experienced Minneapolis drug lawyer could investigate the cause of arrest and thoroughly examine the evidence to determine the most effective approach. Call today to schedule a free consultation to review your case.