Drug Charges

Twin Cities Area Drug Lawyer

Drug offenses are some of the most common crimes in Minnesota. Since the 1980s, the state has made significant changes in the ways drug abuse is handled and controlled substance crimes are punished. The North Star State has some of the harshest laws against the possession, sale and manufacture of a controlled substance.

Drug charges in Minnesota can carry severe penalties, including jail time, expensive fines or even the loss of driving privileges. Conviction for a drug offense can lead to consequences even beyond a prison sentence or fines. An experienced drug defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against the allegations.

Apple Valley Drug Defense Lawyer

Former prosecutor James Blumberg is an Apple Valley drug crime attorney who understands how both sides of the law work. He has prosecuted a plethora of drug cases, and he knows what it takes to get a conviction. His experience and knowledge can be crucial when constructing a strong defense against the charges. James Blumberg Law can help you get a favorable outcome in your drug case.

Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation today. James Blumberg Law represents clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About Minnesota Drug Charges

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Drug Schedules in Minnesota

Like most states, Minnesota classifies substances based on five schedules, according to Minnesota Statute 152.02. These schedules classify drugs depending on the drug’s acceptable medical use and the likeliness the substance will be abused or create dependency.

Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous class of drugs, with a high potential for abuse and no medical use. They also have potentially severe psychological and physical dependency. These drugs could include various opiates, LSD, heroin, ecstasy, bath salts and marijuana. Marijuana, however, has its own subset of state laws with less harsh punishment.

Schedule II drugs often are less severe and can include cocaine, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, opium, amphetamine and methamphetamine. Schedule III substances could include various depressants, anabolic steroids, and human growth hormones.

A several commonly used prescription medications are considered Schedule IV substances, including Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol and Soma. Schedule V drugs are considered the least severe. This could include some over-the-counter cough medications.

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Types of Controlled Substance Offenses

Drug-related offenses in Minnesota are categorized by degrees, ranging from fifth-degree charges to first-degree charges. These charges can apply to various offenses, most of which are explained in Chapter 152 of the Minnesota Statutes. Some of the most common controlled substance offenses include:

Possession of a Controlled Substance: Being in actual or constructive possession of any substance listed in the five schedules could mean a criminal charge. The charges could range from fifth-degree possession to first-degree possession, depending on the substance and the amount involved.

Sale of a Controlled Substance: Similar to possession charges, the sale of a controlled substance can be considered anywhere from a fifth-degree offense to a first-degree offense. This charge also would be determined by the schedule of the drug and the amount involved in the offense.

Drug Paraphernalia: Possession of drug paraphernalia is a petty misdemeanor, according to Minnesota law. Paraphernalia could include pipes, bongs, rolling papers, scales, baggies, needles or even certain chemicals. Manufacturing, delivering or advertising drug paraphernalia would be a misdemeanor. Delivery to a minor is a gross misdemeanor.

Possession of Substances with Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine: A person could be charged with this offense if he or she is in possession of certain chemical reagents or precursors used to manufacture meth and the intent to create the substance can be proven. These chemicals could include methylamine, sulfuric acid, iodine, and ephedrine.

Manufacturing Methamphetamine: If a person is charged with manufacturing meth or running a “meth lab,” he or she could face first-degree drug charges. Additionally, they could be charged with other drug-related crimes, such as possession of a controlled substance or paraphernalia charges.

Importing Controlled Substances across State Borders: Possessing a controlled substance in an amount that would constitute a first-degree drug is a felony offense.

The degree of some of these charges could increase depending on where the offense took place. For instance, if a person is accused of possessing five kilos or more of marijuana in a school zone, park zone or public housing zone, he or she could face third-degree charges. Additionally, if a person is charged with a selling to a minor, the charges could be increased.

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Potential Punishments for Drug Offenses

Penalties for drug crimes vary based on the degree of the offense. For example, the penalties associated with fifth-degree charges are not as severe as those that accompany a first-degree charge. Some of the most common penalties include:

  • Fifth-degree: Up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines or both;
  • Fourth-degree: Up to 15 years in prison, $100,000 in fines or both;
  • Third-degree: Up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines or both;
  • Second-degree: Up to 25 years in prison, $500,000 in fines or both; and
  • First-degree: Up to 30 years in prison, $1 million in fines or both.

In some instances, the offender also could be ordered to pay restitution, including if he or she sold a controlled substance under the false pretense the substance was legal. When a person is convicted of a subsequent drug-related offense, he or she could face increased penalties, including more expensive fines and longer jail time.

Additionally, a person convicted to a mandatory sentence under a first-degree, fifth-degree or possession of substances with intent to manufacture methamphetamine charge would not be eligible for probation, parole, discharge, or supervised release until that person has served the full term of imprisonment, according to Minnesota Statute 152.026.

Under Minnesota law, a person’s driver’s license could be temporarily revoked if the court determines he or she used a motor vehicle to commit a controlled substance crime, including the sale of a controlled substance or even possession. According to Minnesota Statute 152.0271, this revocation can last for 30 days.

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Drug Court Programs in Dakota County

Drug court programs are used throughout the country as a way to assist those facing drug penalties while avoiding lengthy jail and prison sentences. This program essentially is a diversion program that holds participants accountable for their actions while focusing on rehabilitation.

In Dakota County, the Adult Drug Court is for substance-dependent offenders who are charged with felony drug offenses and are considered to be at high risk to reoffend. Participants in the program address sobriety and receive community support while working toward educational, vocational and housing goals.

The focus of the program is to help these people recover from addiction and to assist them in becoming productive, law-abiding members of society. The intensive program is voluntary, and a person first must be accepted into it. It can last from one year to 18 months.

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Illegal Search and Seizures in Drug Cases

One of the strongest defenses to a possession case is whether or not the drugs, or evidence, were obtained legally. The drugs often are located as the result of some sort of search. A skilled attorney can investigate and determine if proper protocol was followed during the search.

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizures. This means police officers cannot simply search a room or a vehicle for any reason. To search a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, law enforcement officers must have probable cause.

In most instances when a home or room is searched, police officers must have a warrant to do so. These warrants would be signed by a judge allowing the officers to enter the location and search for certain things. However, there still could be some level of privacy within the search.

When police officers search a person’s vehicle after a traffic stop, they must have probable cause to do so. If the officer thinks a crime is being committed, he or she can search the vehicle. They also can do if the owner consents to the search.

James Blumberg will examine the details of your drug charge to determine if the search was legal. If it was unconstitutional, evidence recovered as a result of the search could be thrown out. Without sufficient evidence, the charges could be dropped.

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Resources for Minnesota Drug Charges

Minnesota Statutes Chapter Concerning Controlled Substances — Read more information about the Minnesota laws regarding the possession, sale, distribution and use of various drugs and controlled substances. The statutes also outline the penalties associated with each offense.

Dakota County Drug Court — Some felony drug offenders in Dakota County may be eligible to participate in the county’s drug court program. Learn more about the purpose of the program and how to enroll. Contact the Dakota County Community Corrections at (651) 554-6060.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division — The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division works with providers throughout the state to ensure detoxification and treatment services are available to those facing addiction. This includes outpatient and residential services.

Narcotics Anonymous — Narcotics Anonymous is a national non-profit organization for people suffering from drug addiction. Those with drug addictions meet and support others suffering from substance abuse issues for treatment and to maintain a sober lifestyle.

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James Blumberg Law – A Drug Defense Attorney in Dakota County

If you are facing charges for a drug offense in Minnesota, it is important you understand how to defend yourself against the serious charges. Whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction could change the rest of your life. Call Apple Valley drug defense lawyer James Blumberg at (952) 431-7758. Blumberg and his legal team can help you fight the charges and protect your future.

He also represents clients in other surrounding communities including Steele County, Scott County, Rice County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, Carver County, and Sibley County.