Criminal cases for drug offenses often result in jury trials, during which the prosecution must prove several elements to establish the defendant’s guilt. These cases can involve complicated legal matters and the state often prosecutes these charges harshly, which is why it is essential for someone accused of a narcotics offense to seek legal counsel early on. If you are facing illicit substance charges, a seasoned attorney could explain the process of a typical Minnesota drug case and help you build a strong defense to cast doubt on the prosecution’s arguments.
Burden of Proof in Drug Case
Typically, the prosecution in a drug case needs to first prove that there was actually some kind of a controlled substance involved in the offense. They will usually do this by sending the substance to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions Lab for testing, and they will provide the resulting lab report as evidence in court.
The next thing that the prosecution must prove during the process of a Minnesota drug case is either possession or sale. The state must establish that the person they have charged was in possession of that controlled substance. For example, they could prove that the drug was in the defendant’s pocket.
Constructive possession can be harder to prove. This occurs when law enforcement finds a substance on the defendant’s property and infers that it belonged to the defendant. However, to convict the defendant, the prosecution needs to prove that the substance actually belonged to them.
Usually, the testimony of the officer or officers that were involved in making the arrest and finding the drugs is a crucial part of establishing proof in the prosecution’s case. If a confidential informant was involved, they would have to testify to their role in the situation as well.
Impact of Sentencing Guidelines
Drug crimes that are felonies fall under the state’s sentencing guidelines grid. Typically, after a guilty plea is entered or a person is convicted following a trial, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled in the future.
In the meantime, the judge may order a pre-sentence investigation, or a PSI. This contains key information about the defendant, so that the judge can make an informed sentencing decision.
Typically, the outcome of a Minnesota drug case simply follows the sentencing guidelines. If the guidelines say that a defendant is supposed to go to prison for a certain amount of time, the judge will often stick to that suggestion.
Reach Out to a Minnesota Lawyer Regarding Your Drug Case
A trial for drug charges is nerve-wracking to undergo, especially without the assistance of legal counsel. The process of a Minnesota drug case is complex, and it can be difficult to understand all of its elements. Fortunately, a skilled member of our team could use their extensive knowledge of the local court system to help you build a compelling case against your charges and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. Call today to set up an initial consultation and learn more about your options.