In Minnesota, drug possession charges can be steep, especially when these crimes occur across state lines. The I-90 corridor is a common passageway for narcotics and thus leads to drug trafficking busts.
Although Minnesota has recently updated its laws to reduce sentences, increase quantity thresholds and impose stricter mandatory minimum penalties, it is still important to know the laws and your rights for proper representation.
Drug Possession in Minnesota
Minnesota law defines drug possession as having controlled substances on your person or in a place you have control over. These laws also criminalize the possession of chemicals used to make drugs and certain accessories associated with drug use.
Depending on the type and quantity, drug possession charges can range from a petty or gross misdemeanor to a felony accompanied by up to 40 years in prison.
Drug Trafficking in Minnesota
Drug trafficking is the selling, transporting, and importing of illegal drugs, also known as drug distribution. This drug crime is considered a felony and carries harsher consequences than drug possession.
In Minnesota, whether a case is deemed drug trafficking is determined by the amount of the following narcotics in one’s possession:
- 25 or more grams of heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine
- 500 or more grams of narcotic drugs other than those previously listed
- 500 or more grams or “dosage units” of amphetamine, hallucinogens, PCP, or other “party drugs”
- 100 or more kilograms of marijuana
Other circumstances can automatically result in harsher charges, including:
- If the drug crime occurs across state lines or in multiple states, then federal drug trafficking charges may be applied in addition to state charges. The accused can then find themselves at risk of up to 40 years in prison and $5 million in fines.
- If children are targeted, or the drug crimes take place within a certain distance of a school.
- Multiple previous drug crime offenses
In some situations, an individual may be charged with multiple crimes. For example, a bust on a Rochester man along I-90 resulted in first-degree charges for multiple drug crimes, including possession, distribution, as well as importing drugs across state lines.
When To Get Help
Being charged with a drug crime is a serious matter that requires knowledgeable and experienced defense. A criminal defense attorney can help you or a loved one fight for the best possible outcome.