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How Minnesota punishes first-time drug offenses

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Like every other state, Minnesota severely punishes drug possession, trafficking and similar crimes. While the state has legalized certain cannabis products (and seems likely to fully legalize recreational marijuana soon), every other controlled substance and medication without a prescription remains illegal contraband.

You might assume that if you have no prior criminal record, a conviction for drug possession is not a big deal. But every drug crime carries potentially severe penalties. The lowest possession crime in Minnesota is fifth-degree controlled substance possession, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. This applies to possession of any amount of any scheduled drug except for 42.5 grams or less of marijuana.

The punishments go up mostly depending on the amount and type of drug you are allegedly caught with:

  • Fourth-degree possession: Any Schedule I, II or III drug with intent to sell, or at least ten doses of a hallucinogen. Up to 15 years in prison.
  • Third degree: At least ten g. of narcotics except for heroin, which is a minimum of 3 g. ten or more kg. of marijuana, or 5 g. of a Schedule I or II narcotics in certain areas, such as school zones and park zones. Up to 20 years in prison.
  • Second degree: At least 25 g. of cocaine or methamphetamine, 25 g. of heroin, 50 kg. or 500 plants of marijuana, or 50 g. of narcotics. Up to 30 years in prison.
  • First degree: At least 50 g. of cocaine or methamphetamine, 25 g. of heroin, or 50 kg. or 500 plants of marijuana.

You could have options for getting the charges reduced or dismissed, but your only chance at a fair result is by working with an experienced defense attorney.