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Drug crime charges are complex and often very serious in nature. Minnesota in particular takes drug charges very seriously, and many of the penalties are quite harsh. Drug crimes may be categorized at either the state or federal level, and there are many different outcomes for a criminal case depending on the type of drug, amount in question, how it was used, and other factors.
If you’re worried about what to do following your drug crime charge, we may be able to help. We at Knutson + Casey are qualified criminal defense lawyers, and our experienced legal team deeply understands the legal process of drug crime cases. If you’re seeking information regarding your drug crime charge, allow us to elaborate on the crucial information you should know.
The first confusing element of a drug crime is related to the type of drugs involved. Even legal drugs may be considered illegal under certain circumstances. For example, while amphetamines like Adderall are legal with a valid prescription, they’re considered illegal if they were not prescribed to you. If you buy Adderall from a friend because you ran out of your prescription and the doctor’s office was closed, both you and your friend may face drug charges.
Furthermore, drugs are divided into different categories based on their potential to be abused and lead to dependency. For example, heroin is considered schedule I drugs, meaning it’s considered the most “dangerous.” Controlled substances like Adderall and Vicodin, while still considered dangerous, are Schedule II drugs. The higher the schedule number, the less potential the drug is considered to have for abuse.
Aside from the type of drug you have, the amount of drug and what you were doing with it might affect your charges as well. For example, if you’re caught with more than five kilograms (roughly 11 pounds) of marijuana, you’ll potentially be charged with the intent to sell marijuana.
If you’re caught with any amount of a Schedule I, II, or III drugs in a school zone, you may also face drug selling charges. here are multiple other factors that go into determining a drug charge and the penalties.If you are charged with a drug crime, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Knutson + Casey to assist you with your case.
Drug charges may become much more specific or consequential, depending on the specific details of what you might have been doing with the controlled substance or substances in question. For example, in addition to being charged with selling a controlled substance, you might be charged with drug possession. Drug possession can be categorized anywhere from a petty misdemeanor to a felony charge depending on the factors discussed above.
The most common forms of drug possession in Minnesota involve marijuana, methamphetamines, or heroin, but if you are in possession of any non-prescribed drug, you are at risk of criminal charges. Where you are when possessing those drugs also matters. If you’re close enough to a school, are in a school zone, or are in close proximity to a handful of other building types, you may face more severe charges. This means there is a greater potential for your penalties to be enhanced or increased.
Even if you only have a small amount of non-prescribed drugs in your possession, you may still be charged with a crime. In fact, if you are found to be in possession of any Schedule I-IV drug—with the exception of 42.5 grams or fewer of marijuana—you may be charged with fifth-degree drug possession. While this is the least serious charge for drug possession, there are still steep consequences you might face.
Drug trafficking is not limited to a singular action, as it covers a broad range of drug-related crimes. If you have been charged with selling, transporting, or importing illegal drugs, these all fall under the drug trafficking category. However, in Minnesota, the laws are even more specific. You may be charged with drug trafficking in Southern Minnesota if you manufacture, cultivate, or distribute large amounts of controlled substances. This is especially true if you distribute the substances or drugs across state or international borders which would implicate a federal crime.
Some actions that may lead to a first-degree drug trafficking charge include possessing the following:
You may also be charged with first-degree drug trafficking for sale of controlled substances in some of the following ways:
What matters most in the distribution of these charges is the perceived intention and the amount of drugs law enforcement is able to uncover. If you are met with any of the above charges, you may need legal help to reduce your penalties or otherwise set the record straight.
As previously stated, penalties in Minnesota for drug crimes may seem especially harsh. Charges are divided into five degrees, with the first degree being the most severe. Simply having any amount of Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs (except marijuana) is a felony and may get you up to five years of jail time, $10,000 in fines, and 19 months of probation.
However, the penalties that go along with drug crimes in Minnesota are ultimately up to the judge. He or she has the power to reduce your charges, drop certain charges, and alter your sentence. Your attorney’s job is to gather evidence to support your case and keep your sentence as close to the minimum as possible, and in some cases, have your charges dismissed completely.
If you are a first-time offender in Minnesota, your attorney may be able to get you a plea deal that allows you a lesser sentence if you participate in a diversion program.Under the diversion program, you’ll enter a plea of guilty and agree to go through a substance abuse program (usually for 18 months).
If you complete this program and don’t commit any other offenses in the time frame, your charges may be dismissed and removed from your record. If you fail to fulfill these requirements, the guilty plea will stick, and you might incur additional charges and penalties.
Aside from the diversion program, there are many other alternatives to the maximum penalties allowed by the law. In some cases, you may attend rehab instead of taking jail time. Your attorney can negotiate other plea deals as well, including pleading down your charges to lesser offenses.
If you’re concerned about your drug crime charges, you may need the assistance of a qualified and experienced drug crime attorney, who are usually referred to as criminal defense lawyers. Your criminal defenselawyer may be able to aid you in a number of ways through the duration of your legal case.
Lawyers, including criminal defense attorneys, are generally well known for their excellent negotiation skills. Prior to your case going to trial, your criminal defense lawyer will use their negotiation skills to try and get you a favorable plea deal. A plea deal can often be agreed to up until the point of a jury delivering its verdict. Ensuring that you have a criminal defense attorney on your side who is good at negotiation can help you get the desired outcome in your case.
Criminal defense attorneys at Knutson + Casey are experienced and more than qualified to handle drug cases. By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you will have their legal expertise to ensure that there is a full understanding of the law, which can only benefit your case. Hiring a lawyer puts you in a better position to reduce any potential penalties or consequences. It is not advisable to represent yourself in a criminal legal case because if a mistake is made, it is sometimes too late to go back and fix later on. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to hire a qualified drug crime law attorney to assist you in your case.
Your criminal defense lawyer is familiar with the defenses that are the most successful in not guilty verdicts or reduction of penalties.If any defenses make sense for the specific details of your case, your lawyer can include them in order to argue your case effectively. These defenses may include ignorance, insanity, claiming you’re a victim of entrapment, or explaining the controlled substances belong to someone else.
Legal cases may feel stressful, overwhelming, or confusing, especially if you’ve never faced a drug crime charge. If you’d like to avoid additional stress while facing your drug crime charges, your lawyer may be able to assist you in this endeavor.
For example, your lawyer may aid you in the completion of any necessary forms, analyze evidence that may be relevant to your case, help you with the scheduling of court-ordered engagements, and a number of other significant legal requirements. If you’d like to reduce the amount of time and energy you’re spending on your legal case as well as proceed with your life in a way that is as normal as possible, a lawyer may be able to help.
Your lawyer can also give you tailored suggestions for any next steps you want to take. You may be asked to avoid discussing your case with friends and family, cease posting on social media, file proper paperwork, or a number of other essential steps.
We at Knutson + Casey have years of experience in a variety of criminal defense laws, including drug crime defense. We’ll fight for you to get you the smallest charges and sentencing possible, and in some situations, have your case dismissed. We’ve helped thousands of clients reduce their penalties, and we may be able to help you too.
If you think our legal team can assist you in the handling of your drug crime defense case, we’re patiently waiting to hear from you. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, please call us at (507) 344-8888. Or, if you prefer, feel free to complete our contact form.