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Controlled Substance Crime in the First Degree § 152.021

Drug possession or sale crimes that involve amounts exceeding certain statutory limits can result in alleged offenders facing first degree controlled substance crime charges. Controlled substance crimes of the first degree are the most serious kinds of drug charges in Minnesota.

Aggravated controlled substance crimes in the first degree are classified as D9 severity level and controlled substance crimes in the first degree are classified as D8 severity level on Minnesota’s Drug Offender Grid, the two highest levels for drug offenses. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of a drug crime, a subsequent first degree controlled substance crime can result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Lawyer for 1st Degree Controlled Substance Crimes in Apple Valley, MN

If you were arrested for an alleged controlled substance crime in the first degree anywhere in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, it will be in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. James Blumberg Law represents individuals facing drug charges in Rosemount, West St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights, and several other surrounding areas of Dakota County.

Apple Valley criminal defense attorney James Blumberg is a former prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Dakota County Attorney’s Office who understands the most effective ways to challenge evidence in these cases. You can have him review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Minnesota Controlled Substance Crime in the First Degree Information Center


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Types of Controlled Substance Crimes in the First Degree in Dakota County

A person can be charged with a first degree controlled substance crime if he or she commits any one of a number of prohibited acts established under Minnesota Statute § 152.021. With regards to alleged sale of an illegal drug, an alleged offender commits a controlled substance crime in the first degree if he or she:

  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 17 grams or more containing cocaine or methamphetamine;
  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 10 grams or more containing cocaine or methamphetamine and the alleged offender or an accomplice possesses on their person or within immediate reach, or uses, whether by brandishing, displaying, threatening with, or otherwise employing, a firearm; or the alleged offense involves two aggravating factors;
  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 10 grams or more containing heroin;
  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 50 grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;
  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 50 grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling 200 or more dosage units; or
  • on one or more occasions within a 90-day period unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of 25 kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC).

An alleged offender can also be charged with this crime if he or she commits any of the following possession crimes:

  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 50 grams or more containing cocaine or methamphetamine;
  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 25 grams or more containing cocaine or methamphetamine and the alleged offender or an accomplice possesses on their person or within immediate reach, or uses, whether by brandishing, displaying, threatening with, or otherwise employing, a firearm; or the alleged offense involves two aggravating factors;
  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 25 grams or more containing heroin;
  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 500 grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;
  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 500 grams or more containing amphetamine, PCP, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling 500 or more dosage units; or
  • unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 50 kilograms or more containing marijuana or THC, or possesses 500 or more marijuana plants.

Subdivision 2a of Minnesota Statute § 152.021 also establishes that a person commits a controlled substance crime in the first degree if the person manufactures any amount of methamphetamine. Under Subdivision 2b of Minnesota Statute § 152.021, an alleged offender an alleged offender can be charged with an aggravated controlled substance crime in the first degree if he or she violates subdivision 1, clause (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), or subdivision 2, paragraph (a), clause (1), (2), or (3) of Minnesota Statute § 152.021, and the alleged offender or an accomplice sells or possesses 100 or more grams or 500 or more dosage units of a mixture containing the controlled substance at issue and the alleged offender or an accomplice possesses on their person or within immediate reach, or uses, whether by brandishing, displaying, threatening with, or otherwise employing, a firearm; or the alleged offense involves two aggravating factors.

Subdivision 24 of Minnesota Statute § 152.01 defines each of the following as an aggravating factor:

  • The alleged offender, within the previous 10 years, has been convicted of a violent crime, other than a violation of a provision under this chapter, including an attempt or conspiracy, or was convicted of a similar offense by the United States or another state;
  • The alleged offense was committed for the benefit of a gang;
  • The alleged offense involved separate acts of sale or possession of a controlled substance in three or more counties;
  • The alleged offense involved the transfer of controlled substances across a state or international border and into Minnesota;
  • The alleged offense involved at least three separate transactions in which controlled substances were sold, transferred, or possessed with intent to sell or transfer;
  • The circumstances of the alleged offense reveal the alleged offender to have occupied a high position in the drug distribution hierarchy;
  • The alleged offender used a position or status to facilitate the commission of the offense, including positions of trust, confidence, or fiduciary relationships;
  • The alleged offense involved the sale of a controlled substance to a person under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult;
  • The alleged offender or an accomplice manufactured, possessed, or sold a controlled substance in a school zone, park zone, correctional facility, or drug treatment facility; or
  • The alleged offender or an accomplice possessed equipment, drug paraphernalia, documents, or money evidencing that the offense involved the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, or possession of controlled substances in quantities substantially larger than the minimum threshold amount for the offense.

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1st Degree Controlled Substance Crime Penalties in Minnesota

If an alleged offender has no prior convictions, a conviction for any of the sale, possession, or methamphetamine manufacture crimes listed above can result in the following sentence:

  • Up to 30 years in prison; and/or
  • A fine of up to $1 million.

If a first degree controlled substance crime is a subsequent controlled substance conviction, the alleged offender can receive a minimum sentence of four years up to 40 years in prison as well as a possible fine of up to $1 million. Aggravated controlled substance crime in the first degree convictions are punishable by a minimum of 65 months or the presumptive fixed sentence under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, whichever is greater, up to 40 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $1 million.

Presumptive dispositions are established under Minnesota’s Drug Offender Grid. Presumptive sentences are based on criminal history scores, which are calculated based on the points an alleged offender is assigned for prior convictions.

First degree controlled substance crimes and aggravated first degree controlled substance crimes can result in the following presumptive sentences:

Criminal History Score

0

1

2

3

4

5

6 or More

Aggravated Controlled Substance Crime in the 1st Degree

86 Months
(74-103 Months)

98 Months
(84-117 Months)

110 Months
(94-132 Months)

122 Months
(104-146 Months)

134 Months
(114-160 Months)

146 Months
(125-175 Months)

158 Months
(135-189 Months)

Controlled Substance Crime in the 1st Degree

65 Months
(56-78 Months)

75 Months
(64-90 Months)

85 Months
(73-102 Months)

95 Months
(81-114 Months)

105 Months
(90-126 Months)

115 Months
(98-138 Months)

125 Months
(107-150 Months)

Italicized numbers above denote the ranges within which a court can sentence without the sentence being deemed a departure.


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Minnesota Resources for Controlled Substance Crimes in the First Degree

Substance abuse | Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) — On this section of the DHS website, you can find information about substance abuse resources. Learn more about getting help, programs and services, and news and events. You can also find an alphabetical list of pages related to substance abuse.

State v. Peck, A08-579, Minnesota Supreme Court (October 22, 2009) — Commonly referred to as “the bong water case,” Sara Ruth Peck was charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, and child endangerment after police seized several items, including a small plastic bag found in Peck’s purse containing a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, another plastic bag containing “crystalline residue,” a digital scale, a spoon with residue, a glass pipe with apparent methamphetamine residue, and a glass water bong with liquid in it. A crime lab report indicated that the jar contained a “pink liquid exhibiting a fruity odor,” and that the liquid weighed 37.17 grams and tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. The district court issued an order granting Peck’s motion to dismiss the first-degree controlled-substance charge for lack of probable cause, but the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case after concluding that the definition of “mixture” in the Minnesota Statutes “is unambiguous as applied to bong water that tests positive for the presence of a controlled substance.” In a dissenting opinion, Justice Paul H. Anderson wrote that the “majority’s decision to permit bong water to be used to support a first-degree felony controlled substance charge runs counter to the legislative structure of our drug laws, does not make common sense, and borders on the absurd.”


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James Blumberg Law | Apple Valley 1st Degree Controlled Substance Crime Defense Attorney

Were you arrested anywhere in the Twin Cities for an alleged first degree controlled substance crime? Do not say anything to authorities until you have legal counsel. Contact James Blumberg Law today.

James Blumberg is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Apple Valley who defends clients all over Ramsey County, Anoka County, Dakota County, and Hennepin County, including Farmington, Hastings, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, and many others. Call (952) 431-7758 or submit an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


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