Drug Law overview
The balance of police enforcing criminal drug laws while also respecting individual rights and liberties is up for considerable debate. Many drug charges rise and fall on constitutional issues, specifically, the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the police from making unreasonable searches and seizures.
Police officers routinely patrol highways and as a result traffic stop issues are often the most common legal challenges raised in court. The police are not allowed to search you, your car, or your home based on a hunch or a suspicion alone.
Many drug cases involve the use of Confidential Informants (CI) to obtain search warrants of homes, storage facilities or vehicles. The credibility of the CI – and the information provided – must be carefully reviewed to determine whether the search warrant and the subsequent investigation was lawful. The laws and limits on what the police can and cannot do changes constantly.
If the police violated your constitution rights during an investigation, you could get your criminal drug charges dismissed entirely or significantly reduced. These issues demand a high level of understanding of Minnesota drug laws.
There are five degrees of controlled substance crime.
Generally, the prosecutor decides the severity of the drug charge based on the weight of the drugs and whether there was criminal intent to possess or sell drugs. The punishments can be more severe if aggravating factors are present, such as the possession or use of a firearm or the presence of children. In Minnesota, the levels of drug crimes are:
⇒ Possession: 17+ grams cocaine or methamphetamine, 10+ grams heroin, 50+ grams of other narcotic drug, 200+ doses hallucinogen, or 25 kilos marijuana
⇒ Sale: 50+ grams cocaine or methamphetamine, 25+ grams heroin, 50 kilos marijuana, or 500+ marijuana plants
⇒ Possession: 10+ grams any narcotic drug other than heroin, 3+ grams heroin, 50+ doses hallucinogen, 10+ kilos marijuana, or sale of certain drugs in a narcotic drug either to a person under 18 or in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment center
⇒ Sale: 25+ grams cocaine or methamphetamine, 6+ grams heroin, 50+ grams of other narcotic drug, 100+ doses hallucinogen, 25+ kilos marijuana, or 100+ marijuana plants.
⇒ Possession: Any amount of narcotic drug, 10+ doses hallucinogen, 5+ kilos marijuana, or sale of certain drugs to a person under 18 or employment of person under 18 to sell same, any amount of cocaine or heroin
⇒ Sale: 10+ grams any narcotic drug other than heroin, 3+ grams heroin, 10+ grams of other narcotic drug, 10+ kilos marijuana, and 5 doses of specified drugs in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment center
⇒ Possession: Any designated drug (except marijuana), or sale of marijuana in a school zone, park zone, or public housing zone or specified drugs to a person under 18 or conspiracy for the same
⇒ Sale: 10 doses hallucinogen, any amount designated controlled substance (not including marijuana) with intent to sell
⇒ Possession: Any amount of marijuana except small amounts for no remuneration, or any designated controlled substance
⇒ Sale: Any amount of designated controlled substance or drugs except 42.5 grams or less of marijuana.
If you have been charged with a drug offense, it is a frightening and possibly life-altering experience. The charges carry severe punishments, including prison, probation and/or thousands of dollars in fines. In addition, the charges can impact your ability to find or maintain a job or housing.
However, know that there is hope. Minnesota courts have recognized several defenses to drug charges, including entrapment, lack of knowledge or intent, and chain of custody issues. Luke Neuville has represented more than 200+ clients facing serious felony drug charges. Many of these charges were dismissed entirely or significantly reduced.
Hiring an experienced attorney in Minnesota is extremely important if you have been charged with a drug crime. Neuville Law Office represents people facing charges for drug crimes in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Edina, Bloomington, St. Cloud, Plymouth, Stillwater, Fergus Falls and nearby areas. Call or text Neuville Law Office at (612) 293-6654 to discuss your defense options during a free consultation.
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