DRUGS: Have You Been Charged With
Possession of a Controlled Substance?
Any drug possession charge in Minnesota is a serious criminal offense. A possession of a controlled substance charge can be pressed when anyone has physical control or dominion over a controlled substance or has access to a controlled substance without proper authority.
What is a controlled substance?
A controlled substance can be prescription medication that is not yours, illegal drugs or any other type of material, compound or substance that is considered to be restricted or controlled. Driving in a vehicle where controlled substances are found, can result in the charge if you knew or had reasonable ability to know that the substance was in the vehicle.
You’ve been caught with a controlled substance—now what?
If you were caught with drugs, you’ve been through the frightening experience of being arrested and charged with a crime. From the moment you realized you were “busted”, your heart has probably been racing, as you wondered what this charge could mean for your future.
It is critical that you act to protect your rights. And whether you think you are actually guilty of the drug possession charge or not, you want to make sure there is someone there who is on your side at this difficult time.
The first thing you need to do is to educate yourself on the process, so you can make the best decision possible for your future. This information will help you do just that!
Understanding Minnesota Drug Possession Laws
Minnesota possession charges are classified by degrees. The charges you face are dependent on the substance you had in your possession … and the amount.
1st degree possession charge:
Possession of a controlled substance in the 1st degree is a serious felony charge. If you are facing this charge you could be sentenced to 30 years in prison or longer, and fines reaching $1,000,000.
|Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine:||25 grams or more|
|Narcotics other than the above 3:||500 grams or more|
|Amphetamine or hallucinogens:||500 grams or more (500 or more doses)|
|Marijuana:||100 kilograms or more|
2nd Degree Drug Possession
Second degree possession of a controlled substance is also a felony. This charge has the potential to get you up to 25 years in prison and fines reaching $500,000.
|Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine:||6 grams or more|
|Narcotic other than cocaine, heroin, or meth:||50 grams or more|
|Amphetamine or hallucinogens:||100 or more dosage units|
|Marijuana:||50 kilograms or more|
3rd Degree Drug Possession
Third degree possession charges can get you a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The following amounts and substances qualify as a 3rd degree possession charge if caught in possession on one or more occasions within a 90 day period:
|Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine:||3 grams or more|
|Narcotic other than cocaine, heroin, meth:||10 grams or more|
|Narcotics packaged in dosage units|
|(pills for instance):||50 or more dosage units|
|LSD:||5 or more dosage units|
|Marijuana:||10 kilograms or more|
4th Degree Drug Possession Penalties
This offense, another serious felony, carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years in prison and fines reaching $100,000. You may be charged with this offense if you are caught with 10 or more dosage units of a hallucinogen.
5th Degree Drug Possession Penalties
The least severe of all possession charges, 5th degree possession still carries a potential sentence of up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. You may be charged with this felony if you are caught in possession of a controlled substance that does not fit within the criteria for the other, more severe possession charges.
First time offenders
Although a felony offense in many cases, the courts are not as harsh for first time offenders on this charge than some of the other felony offenses. The amount of the substance and if the intent to sell can be established will impact on the penalties possible.
- Jail time
- Random drug testing
- Community service
- Suspended sentence with guilty plea
- Alternative drug rehabilitation programs
Suspended sentences or rehab for first offenders
In many areas suspended sentences or drug rehabilitation programs with a guilty plea but no sentencing are often ordered. As long as the individual follows all the requirements of these programs no formal felony sentence will be imposed.
Any failure to follow the program or positive testing on a drug test results in a sentence that includes jail time and a permanent felony record.
First time offenders represented by an attorney may be able to work with the prosecutor to arrange this type of alternative sentencing in conjunction with drug testing and community service.
Possession of a controlled substance charges and legal help
A criminal defense attorney can often be very successful in obtaining alternative sentencing to jail ordered, especially with first time offenders. This option can prevent any permanent blemish on your criminal record and also allow you to keep your current employment since no court sentence will appear on your record as long as you follow the guidelines imposed. In some situations the attorney may even be able to have the case dismissed or sent to a diversion program.