In Minnesota, there are strict laws that govern the possession of controlled substances. If you are found guilty of possession of a controlled substance in the state, you face jail time and fines – but that’s not all. There are life-altering penalties that can result from a drug possession charge that will impact you for the rest of your days, which is why it’s vital to understand the laws in the state.
Here’s what you need to know about drug possession in Minnesota and the penalties that can be faced – both legally and civilly – if you are found guilty.
What Drugs Are Controlled Substances in Minnesota?
Under Minnesota law, the following drugs are considered controlled substances:
- Other narcotics such as prescription medications, benzodiazepines, and opiates
These drugs are classified into schedules. Their particular schedule depends on how addictive the substance is and if there is any approved medical use for the drug. Any charges for possession depend on how much of the drug is found in your possession as well as the schedule of the drug.
Penalties for Controlled Substance Possession in Minnesota
There are several degrees of controlled substance possession in Minnesota. They are:
First Degree Drug Possession
There are minimum thresholds associated with first-degree possession laws in Minnesota. For example, you can be charged with first-degree possession if you have 25 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine, or 50 kilos of marijuana.
The penalties for first-degree possession are fines of up to $1 million and up to 30 years in prison.
Second Degree Controlled Substance Possession
Having less of a controlled substance may lead to a second-degree charge. For example, 25 kilos of marijuana, 25 grams of methamphetamine, or six grams of heroin can land you with second-degree possession charges.
The penalties for this level of possession include up to 25 years behind bars and fines of $500,000.
Third Degree Possession
If you are caught with three grams of heroin, 15 kilos of marijuana, or 50 doses of LSD, that’s considered a third-degree possession crime. It can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines of $250,000.
Fourth Degree Possession
If you possess 10 doses of LSD or any amount of a drug from Schedule I, II, or III, then you can face fourth-degree possession charges. That can land you in prison for up to 15 years and make you responsible for fines of up to $100,000.
Fifth Degree Possession
If you are found with any amount of a drug on Schedule I through IV, then you can be found guilty of this level of possession. So is any attempt to get the drugs by using a false name with a physician or misrepresenting yourself to one.
You can face five years behind bars for fifth-degree possession and fines of as much as $10,000.
The Hidden Consequences
If you’re found guilty of drug possession in Minnesota, you obviously know by now that you face legal consequences. However, there are other consequences to be aware of as well – especially if you ever plan on paying to attend college.
Ineligibility for Student/Government Loans
One consequence of a controlled substance possession conviction on your record is that it may disqualify you from obtaining student loans if you ever want to go to college or pursue training in higher education. Even a petty misdemeanor can impact this.
Landlords perform background checks. If your criminal history shows a drug conviction, then you may be turned down for housing.
Loss of a Professional License
If your chosen career field requires a professional license, then it’s a strong possibility that your license will be suspended or canceled if convicted of drug possession.
Problems Finding a Job
Just as with housing, many potential employers perform background checks. It can be challenging to secure employment with a drug conviction in your criminal history.
Loss of the Right to Own a Firearm
Felony drug offenses in Minnesota can lead to the loss of your right to own a firearm for the rest of your life. Even a misdemeanor conviction can lead to the loss of this right for up to three years after you’re convicted. Asking the court to reinstate your right also requires you to prove to them you have good cause to do so.
Loss of Right to Vote
If you are convicted of a drug felony, you may lose your right to serve on a jury and even vote. You may have these rights restored after you complete your sentence.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.