Criminal offenses involving illegal narcotics typically involve arrests by law enforcement. Often, an arrest for possession of an illicit substance is the inciting incident in a drug case. If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Minnesota, you should seek the advice of legal counsel as soon as possible. A skilled attorney who is familiar with the local police department and the court system could protect your rights throughout the legal process and help you minimize the penalties of your charges.
Process of an Arrest
Drug arrests in Minnesota commonly stem from one of two situations. The first is a traffic stop, where a person is pulled over for a traffic violation and a law enforcement officer finds drugs in the car. Depending on the nature of the drug, there will likely be an arrest. The individual will be taken into custody, their vehicle will be impounded, and then they will sit in jail for a day or two until they could see a judge and have their bail and conditions set.
The other common scenario occurs when the police have a search warrant to enter someone’s home. In this situation, law enforcement will generally detain the individual while they search the house. If they find drugs on the property, they will typically then arrest the person and take them to the county jail, where they will sit for several days until they can see a judge.
Aggravating Factors in an Arrest
Essentially, the type of drug and the amount determine the level of the offense, which then directly correlates to the arrest procedure. For a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor offense, Minnesota law indicates that an officer should issue a citation and not make an arrest.
This means that if someone is caught with a small amount of marijuana, they may get away with just a ticket and the confiscation of the substance. However, if they possess another drug and the charges are escalated to a gross misdemeanor or a felony, then they are typically taken into custody.
Prior Drug History
Drug charges in Minnesota are enhanced double if a person is a repeat offender. If someone is caught with the same amount of cocaine multiple times, the charges are going to be more serious every time, which can impact the process of an arrest.
When law enforcement believes that a person is involved in drug trafficking, standard drug charges can become even more enhanced. In these situations, the arrest procedure is more involved and planned longer in advance. Tactics such as sting operations and the use of confidential informants are common in these cases. Additionally, if a drug crime was committed for the benefit of a gang, the charges can be much harsher.
Protection of Rights during an Arrest
Someone who has been arrested for a narcotics offense in Minnesota should know their legal rights, such as the right to remain silent. An accused person should refrain from talking to the police, because anything they say could be used against them.
An accused person also has the right to an attorney, who could be a crucial resource during the questioning period after an arrest and during the ensuing court process.
It is also important for a person arrested for a drug crime to not consent to a search, even if they know that they do not have anything illegal in their car, to avoid the chance of an officer planting contraband.
Contact a Minnesota Attorney as Soon as Possible after Your Drug Crime Arrest
An arrest for a narcotics offense can be a frightening and emotionally overwhelming experience, but it is important to remember your legal rights while you are being detained. If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Minnesota, reach out to a seasoned attorney for help early on in your case. Skilled legal counsel could make all the difference in the outcome of your situation. Call today to schedule a consultation.