Rochester Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

Drug Crimes in Minnesota

In 2016, Minnesota passed comprehensive drug-law reforms. They repealed many of the harshest mandatory-minimum sentences. But even after the reforms, almost all Minnesota drug crimes are felonies and must be taken seriously.

There are five degrees of controlled substance crime. Generally, the state decides which level to charge based on the weight of the drugs and whether there was intent to sell. The punishments can also be more severe if there are aggravating factors, such as a firearm. The levels of drug crimes are:

  • First-degree drug crimes. These are the worst, and even first-time offenders typically go to prison. Selling more than ten grams (about a third of an ounce) of heroin would be an example of a first-degree drug crime.
  • Second-degree drug crimes. These are very serious, but not as bad as first-degree. Possessing—but not selling—an ounce of methamphetamine would be an example of a second-degree drug crime.
  • Third-degree drug crimes. With these crimes, it can make a difference whether you are accused of selling drugs or merely possessing them. Third-degree drug sale is one of the more common charges because it covers any sale of most street drugs, no matter what the weight.
  • Fourth-degree drug crimes. These charges are somewhat rare. The fourth-degree law generally is not used to address the Schedule I drugs we often read about in the newspaper. It is more likely to be invoked for the unlawful sale of prescription drugs.
  • Fifth-degree drug crimes. These are the lowest and most common type of drug crimes. After the reforms, there are a few situations where they may be a gross misdemeanor. But for the most part, fifth-degree drug crimes are still felonies and should be treated seriously.

There are a variety of other drug crimes in the statute books. But these five are generally most common.

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