Are Drug Charges Felonies in Minnesota?
2 years ago by Brian
Like many other states, Minnesota has tried to update drug laws in the state to address problems in how these laws are enforced. These changes were sought and have been implemented specifically to keep more serious offenders off the streets for longer periods of time while ensuring that low-level offenders get the help they need and are not incarcerated.
However, all drug charges are serious matters, and anyone arrested should call a Woodbury, MN, drug crimes attorney right away.
When is a Drug Charge a Felony?
Whether you are charged for a misdemeanor or felony for a drug-related offense in Minnesota depends on several factors that are taken into consideration, which include the following:
- Were you accused of selling the drugs, or were you merely in possession of them?
- What types of drugs were involved?
- What was the quantity of the drugs found in your possession?
These answers will provide direction as to whether the charge you face is a felony or misdemeanor.
Minnesota controlled substances law provides detailed guidelines on how courts apply these laws, which are divided into five “schedules.” Schedule I contains the most dangerous drugs, for which the chance of abuse or addiction is very high and has no medical value. Schedules II through V lists drugs whose dangerousness and probability of abuse are deemed lower than the schedule before, and the drug’s medical use increases with each level.
Some of the most common drug arrests and convictions in Minnesota involve marijuana, which is still not legal for recreational use in our state, though there is an expanding medical marijuana program. The quantity of marijuana possessed without a medical card is generally what determines what the charge and consequences will be.
For example, an individual in Minnesota who is found with 42.5 grams or less of marijuana will face a petty misdemeanor charge and a fine of $200 if convicted. However, if you are found with more than 42.5 grams either in your possession or if there is evidence you sold or intended to sell, the charge will suddenly become a felony, and the consequences are enhanced to up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. This is for marijuana, which is viewed as one of the least serious substances to possess.
Aggravating Factors in Minnesota Drug Cases
If one is caught selling a controlled substance and the government proves that there are aggravating factors present as defined by the law, the defendant will face significantly enhanced penalties and felony charges.
Aggravating factors for Minnesota drug conviction penalty enhancement include:
- Being found in possession of a gun at the time of arrest
- Previous conviction of violent or similar drug crimes within 10 years
- Committing a crime on behalf of a gang
- Controlled substance transported across state lines
- Being near a school
Contact a Woodbury, MN, Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties for a drug conviction can be harsh, and you want to have a Woodbury, MN, drug crimes defense attorney from J.S. Defense, PA, handling your case. Please call (651) 362-9422 or contact us immediately if you are facing controlled substance charges.