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Controlled Substances and the Penalties for Carrying Them? Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Drug Related Offenses

Controlled Substances and the Penalties for Carrying Them?

1 year ago by Brian
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To understand the laws concerning controlled substances, you first have to define simple possession. This offense is an act where the accused person knowingly possessed a controlled or counterfeit drug or a substance or chemical prohibited under the law.

The possession of narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and other banned substances carries severe penalties in Minnesota. The state also imposes penalties for possessing the chemicals used to make them.

In addition, Minnesota employs schedules to categorize drugs by their severity and potential for harm and abuse.

This is done to establish the appropriate penalties for illegal possession. These schedules are comparable to federal drug schedules.


Drug Schedules for Illegal Possession in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota separates illegal narcotics into five schedules. The most harmful substances, with a high potential for abuse and addiction and no proven medical benefit, are included in Schedule I. 

Schedules II, III, IV, and V are less harmful and more likely to be abused when prescribed.

Check out the schedules in Minnesota Statute section 152.02 to locate a specifically prohibited substance.


Keep on Top of Legislative Changes

Remember that laws outlining crimes and their punishments are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to verify them.

Find the most recent amendments and laws online. Be aware, too, that courts may alter the way they interpret and apply legislation.

To accurately comprehend your rights in this regard, it is crucial to choose a professional drug crimes attorney.


Defining Drug Possession in Minnesota

In Minnesota, it is against the law to possess a controlled drug without a valid prescription from a doctor. Penalties vary depending on the type and quantity of the substance. Laws also determine guilt with respect to firearm use or other aggravating elements.

To show possession, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intentionally had the restricted substance, either physically or “constructively,” in their possession and was aware of its purpose.


Constructive Possession

Constructive possession is when the offender has control over the place where the drug was found. For example, if the drug was located in the defendant’s closet, that’s an example of constructive possession. 

It is more difficult for a prosecutor to prove their case if it involves constructive possession, as this type of evidence is circumstantial. Naturally, it’s easier to show possession if the defendant had the drug on their person.


Aggravating Elements

Aggravating elements might raise the severity of a possession charge if the defendant had prior drug arrests and convictions or if they possessed the drug in a park or schoolyard.


Penalties for Illegal Drug Possession in Minnesota

In Minnesota, penalties for illegal drug possession range from a minor infraction for having a small amount of marijuana to a 40-year felony sentence for committing an aggravated first-degree offense.


Aggravated First-Degree Controlled Substance Offense

You’ll be penalized for a first-degree aggravated controlled substance offense if the following applies:

  • The crime involved the possession of 100 or more grams or 500+ dosage units of substances that contained cocaine, meth, or heroin; and/or
  • You used a firearm.

If you’re found guilty, you can face from seven years to 40 years in prison and may be subject to a $1,000,000 fine.


First-Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance

The following banned drugs are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine for illegal possession. Four to 40 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine are the consequences of a second conviction and any consecutive ones.

Therefore, the following events will put you behind bars:


  • One or more combinations of drugs, including meth or cocaine, each weighing 50 grams or more (but less than 100 grams).
  • One or more drug combinations comprising meth or cocaine, each weighing at least 25 grams (but less than 100 grams), where the crime featured a weapon, or there were two aggravating circumstances.
  • Heroin-containing mixes weighing 25 grams or more in total (but less than 100 grams).
  • Hallucinogens, amphetamine, or phencyclidine weighing 500 grams or more or packed in 500 or more dosage units.
  • One or more mixes comprising marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol weighing 50 kilograms or more; or 500 or more marijuana plants.


Second-Degree Charges for the Possession of a Controlled Substance


The following restricted drug types and dosages are illegal and can result in up to 25 years in jail and a $500,000 fine. Three to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine are the possible penalties for a second conviction and any subsequent ones.


This charge applies to the following instances:


  • An amount of 10 grams or more (but less than 25 grams) of a mixture combining cocaine and methamphetamine involving a weapon or at least three aggravating elements. 
  • An amount of 25 grams or more (but less than 50 grams) of a drug combination of cocaine or meth.
  • Heroin-containing combinations weighing six grams or more (but less than 25 grams).
  • An amount of 50 grams or more of a combination comprising a narcotic substance other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, but not more than 500 grams.
  • An amount of 50 grams or more (but not more than 500 grams) of a mixture of hallucinogens, amphetamine, or phencyclidine
  • An amount of 100 dosage units or more (but not more than 500).
  • An amount of 25 kilograms or more (but not more than 50 kilograms) of a mixture of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol.
  • An amount of 100 marijuana plants or more (but not over 500).


Third-Degree Charges for the Possession of a Controlled Substance


Third-degree charges for the possession of a controlled substance involve possessing the substance one or more times in a small 90-day period. This crime is subject to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. 


Fourth and Fifth-Degree Penalties for the Possession of a Controlled Substance

Both fourth-degree and fifth-degree charges may also be imposed in some cases, so you need to speak to an attorney if you’ve been charged with possession or a related drug crime.


Misdemeanor Penalties for Drug Possession in Minnesota

Minnesota defines misdemeanors under three classifications.


Gross Misdemeanor

One year in jail and a $3,000 fine are possible penalties for someone who illegally possesses one or more combinations of a substance containing a category V restricted narcotic.



Possession of synthetic cannabinoids, salvia divinorum, and kratom (if under the age of 18) carries a misdemeanor punishment of up to 90 days in jail.


Petty Misdemeanor

A defendant who is found guilty of a petty misdemeanor, which involves possessing 42.5 grams or less of marijuana, must (in most cases) attend a drug education program and pay a fine of up to $300. This crime has no mandatory jail sentence.


Contact a Woodbury, MNDrug Defense Lawyer About Your Drug Possession Charge Today

If you need the help of a drug defense lawyer, contact the legal team at JS Defense. To beat the stigma a drug possession charge can leave, you need to have a professional attorney on your side. Call 651-350-1148 to get the legal help and advice you need today.


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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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