Both law enforcement authorities and legislative officials in Minnesota take drug-related criminal offenses seriously, regardless of the amount of the particular substance or its classification. Almost all controlled substance crimes defined under state law are felonies, meaning that a conviction for even a first offense could result in a prison sentence and permanently alter the course of your life.
No matter the specific charges you are facing, you have the right to retain a defense attorney and defend yourself in a court of law. A qualified Minnesota drug lawyer could fully explain your legal options and work tenaciously to protect your rights and secure a favorable case resolution.
Controlled Substances Classifications in Minnesota
Much like the equivalent federal laws regarding the classification of controlled substances, Minnesota Statutes § 152.02 establishes five “Schedules” to define controlled substances. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and prone to abuse with no viable medical uses, while lower-scheduled drugs may have legitimate medical purposes or may not create addiction to the same degree.
Notably, while marijuana is still considered a Schedule I substance under the law, medicinal use is legal with a valid prescription. Criminal charges for recreational possession of marijuana usually result in much lesser penalties than charges for other Schedule I substances. However, allegations that a person sold or distributed larger amounts of marijuana can still lead to felony-level consequences, as a well-practiced Minnesota drug attorney could explain in further detail.
Degrees of Controlled Substances Crimes
State law codifies “controlled substance crimes” into five degrees, almost all of which are felonies. The only exception is first-time possession of an extremely small amount of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV substance besides marijuana, which MN Stat. §152.025 Subdiv. 4(a) defines it as a gross misdemeanor that could result in maximum penalties of one year in jail and/or $3,000 in fines. First-time possession of 1.5 ounces of marijuana or less is a petty misdemeanor punishable by $300 in fines and possible mandatory participation in a drug rehabilitation program.
According to MN Stat. §§152.021 through 152.024, controlled substance crimes in the first through fourth degrees are classified as felonies regardless of whether they involve the sale or possession of the controlled substances in question.
Fifth-degree drug crimes can be classified as felonies if they involve unlawfully selling a mixture containing marijuana or THC, unlawfully selling any Schedule IV substance or mixture containing such a substance, or engaging in fraud or deceit to obtain a controlled substance through ostensibly lawful channels.
Depending on the specific substances, volumes, and actions involved, a conviction for a felony drug crime could result in a maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. In some cases, a 30-year prison sentence with four years not eligible for suspension plus a $1 million fine could be levied upon conviction. Assistance from a knowledgeable drug lawyer in Minnesota could be essential to challenge these kinds of allegations effectively and minimize the potential repercussions.
Seek Help from an Experienced Minnesota Drug Attorney
Whether you have been accused of selling controlled substances, manufacturing them, or just possessing an illegal drug for your own use, you could face severe consequences if you do not take your case seriously. Drug crimes in Minnesota are almost always felonies, and they can be hard to effectively contest without assistance from an attorney who has handled similar cases successfully in the past.
A qualified Minnesota drug lawyer could serve as a critical advisor and ally as you fight to preserve your best interests. Call today to set up a consultation to discuss your legal options.