With a stay-at-home order firmly in place in Minnesota through a governor’s order, Minnesotans are expected to stay at home.
These days, going out for a drive in your car can lead to more than you bargained for – as one Minnesota couple now charged with felony drug crimes for possession of methamphetamines has found out.
Ignoring the parameters of this order can land you in hot water with police, who can pull you over and search your vehicle. What they find can produce new charges that have nothing to do with the coronavirus.
Stay out of trouble while the stay-at-home order is in place by understanding what you can and can’t do while it’s in effect as well as what to do if you end up with a Minnesota felony drug charge.
Minnesota’s Stay-at-Home Order
An Executive Order was issued by the Governor in late March that orders people to limit going outside of their homes. That means only leaving home for essential needs, which include:
- Going to the grocery store for food
- Going outside for a walk, hike, or another form of exercise
- Taking care of another person such as an elderly relative
- Going to a doctor’s appointment
- Getting gasoline
Court hearings are another acceptable reason to leave the house, but many courts have postponed hearings.
If you have a court hearing coming up, it’s a good idea to check with your Minnesota defense attorney beforehand to make sure the hearing will still proceed or you may be able to have the hearing by phone.
Willfully Violating the Stay-at-Home Order
You can get in trouble for willfully violating the governor’s stay at home order. To willfully break the law, you must know what the law was but choose to ignore it.
Doing so could cause you to be charged with a misdemeanor crime, which may result in a fine or even jail time. Get pulled over and illegal drugs are found in your possession? Plan on facing a felony drug charge as well.
Minnesota Felony Drug Crimes
Minnesota law classifies drug possession based on the type of drug and the amount of it that was found. The charges of drug crimes are separated by degrees, which include:
First-Degree Felony Drug Possession
This is the most serious drug possession offense in Minnesota. Being found guilty could land you in prison for up to 30 years and result in fines of up to $1 million. Possessing 25 grams of methamphetamines can result in a charge of first-degree drug possession and even lead to drug trafficking charges.
Second-Degree Felony Drug Possession
Second-degree drug possession carries with it a prison sentence of up to 25 years and fines up to $500,000. Possession of six grams or more of methamphetamine can result in a second-degree drug possession charge.
Third-Degree Felony Drug Possession
A third-degree drug possession charge can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines up to $250,000. Possessing three grams or more of methamphetamine can result in these charges.
Fourth-Degree Felony Drug Possession
Fourth-degree drug possession charges only apply to possession of drugs such as LSD and other hallucinogens. Being found in possession of drugs such as these in amounts of 10 or more dosages can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of $100,000.
Fifth-Degree Felony Drug Possession
Being caught in possession of drugs that don’t fit into the criteria of the other classifications. While considered the least serious charge of drug possession, it can still land you in prison for up to five years and include fines up to $10,000.
The moral of the story about two Minnesotans charged with drug crimes while violating the stay at home order? If you have no reason to go out, it’s probably best to stay at home while the order is in effect.
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. Keyser 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.