If you’re facing drug possession charges in our state, then you’re facing penalties that can change the course of your life forever. In fact, the charges and penalties for drug possession here in Minnesota are quite harsh, so even small amounts of controlled substances can put you in serious legal jeopardy and have you facing serious penalties such as lengthy prison sentences or stiff fines.
In Minnesota, possession of drugs in most cases is a felony offense. Here’s what you need to know about the types of substances that are illegal and in what cases you will be facing felony charges for possessing those substances.
Is Drug Possession Always a Felony in Minnesota?
With the exception of the possession of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana as a petty misdemeanor, drug crimes in Minnesota are felonies. What level of felony you face depends on what drugs you were in possession of and how much you had of them at the time of the arrest.
Drug Classifications in Minnesota
Drugs in Minnesota are broken down into five schedules. Schedule I contains the drugs that are considered the most dangerous and addictive with no known medical use, while schedules II, III, IV, and V contain the drugs that are considered progressively less serious and with some medical value.
These schedules are also used by the courts in Minnesota to determine what penalties a person in possession of them may face. Each drug fits into a level of drug offense based on what it is and how much you were found in possession of, as previously noted.
Degrees of Drug Possession in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you can face five different degrees of drug possession. First-degree possession is the most serious, while fifth-degree possession is the least serious – but they are all felonies.
First Degree Drug Possession
If you are found with certain types of drugs in certain amounts in our state, then you can be charged with first-degree drug possession. These include:
- Hallucinogens – 500 or more doses
- Marijuana – 100 or more kilos
- Methamphetamines, Cocaine, or Heroin – 25 or more grams
- Other narcotics – 500 or more grams
If you are found guilty of first-degree drug possession, then you can face as many as 30 years in prison. You may also be ordered to pay fines for as much as $1 million.
Second Degree Drug Possession
This is another felony drug possession charge in Minnesota. It is applicable in cases where these types of drugs in these amounts are involved:
- Hallucinogens – 100 or more doses
- Marijuana – 50 or more kilos
- Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Heroin – Six or more grams
- Other narcotics – 50 or more grams
The penalties for being found guilty of second-degree drug possession include as many as 25 years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
Third Degree Drug Possession
In Minnesota, third-degree drug possession is yet another felony that can be charged if you are found with:
- Hallucinogens – Five or more doses
- Marijuana – 10 or more kilos
- Methamphetamines, Cocaine, or Heroin – Three grams or more
- Other narcotics – 10 or more grams
If found guilty of third-degree drug possession, you can face as much as 20 years behind bars and fines of as much as $250,000.
Fourth Degree Drug Possession
Fourth-degree drug possession can be charged if you have up to 10 doses of any hallucinogenic drug as well as any amount of a drug found on schedule I, II, or II (with the exception of marijuana). For this level of drug possession, it must be shown that you intended to sell the drugs you were in possession of.
The penalties for fourth-degree drug possession include as many as 15 years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
Fifth Degree Drug Possession
Being in possession of any amount of drugs from Schedule I, II, III, or IV with the exception of marijuana can leave you charged with this felony offense. While it is the least serious drug felony, it can still land you in prison for up to five years and make you responsible for fines of as much as $100,000.
As you can see, Minnesota takes drug crimes seriously. If you are found in possession of any amount of a controlled substance under the law, then you can face serious ramifications.
That’s why it’s vital to understand why you are being charged as you are and how to best make sure your rights are upheld, or you could be facing many years in prison.
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.