Here's How Long You Could Be In Jail For Selling Drugs In MN

Recent updates to Minnesota drug laws have reduced sentences, increased quantity thresholds, included stricter minimum sentences, and expanded eligibility for statutory stays of adjudication. These changes were approved in order to differentiate addicts from dealers and to keep serious offenders off the streets longer while ensuring that fewer addicts are incarcerated.

The state of Minnesota enforces strict laws over controlled substances. It is illegal to sell or possess a controlled substance without a prescription from a licensed physician. A controlled substance is a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by the government. Typically, these are compounds that have a high potential for serious intoxication or abuse.

If you are caught in possession of or selling controlled substances, the penalties are severe, including jail time. Drugs deemed controlled substances include:

  • Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)
  • Amphetamines, Phencyclidines (PCP), and Hallucinogens (LSD)
  • Cocaine and Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • Other narcotics (opiates, benzodiazepine, prescription medications, etc.)

Minnesota divides controlled substances into five schedules. Schedule I consists of the most dangerous drugs associated with the highest probability of abuse and addiction. The other schedules represent drugs that decrease in dangerousness and likelihood of abuse. The classes determine which penalties apply.

Schedule I consists of the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction and no medical value. Schedules II through V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse and increase in medical uses.

High%20potential%20for%20abuse,%20severe%20psychological%20or%20physical%20dependence

The severity of penalization depends on the substance, how much is in the offender’s possession, and whether they intend to sell it. Possession is defined as either being on your person or in a place you have control over.

Possession and sale of different controlled substances are sentenced separately because sale is a more severe crime than possession. With the recent changes to Minnesota drug laws, the gap between the sentencing for possession and sale has widened.

Aggravating Factors

If you are caught selling a controlled substance and the prosecution proves that there are aggravating factors present, you will be sentenced to jail for a minimum of 86 months and not more than 40 years, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both.

Aggravating factors include:

  1. Possessing a gun at the time of your arrest
  2. Acting on behalf of a gang
  3. Holding kingpin status

First-Degree Controlled Substance Crimes

First-degree controlled substance crimes are the most serious drug crimes under Minnesota law. A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the first degree if on one or more occasions within a 90-day period they unlawfully sell or possess the following:

Marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols

  1. Possess 50+ kilograms or 500+ marijuana plants
  2. Sell 100+ kilograms

Amphetamines, Phencyclidines or Hallucinogens

  1. Possess 500+ grams or 500+ dosage units
  2. Sell 50+ grams or 200+ dosage units

Cocaine or Methamphetamines

  1. Possess 50+ grams
  2. Possess 25+ grams and: a. the person or an accomplice possesses or uses a firearm, or: b. the offense involves two aggravating factors
  3. Sell 17+ grams
  4. Sell 10+ grams and: a. the person or an accomplice possesses or uses a firearm, or: b. the offense involves two aggravating factors
  5. Manufacture any amount

Heroin

  1. Possess 25+ grams
  2. Sell 10+ grams

"Other" narcotics

  1. Possess 500+ grams
  2. Sell 50+ grams

Sale

25 kilograms or more of marijuana or THC

Penalties

A person convicted of a first degree controlled substance charge is guilty of a felony.

  • First conviction: At least 86 months imprisonment (up to 30 years), a fine up to $1,000,000, or both.
  • Second conviction: At least four-years imprisonment (up to 40 years), a fine up to $1,000,000, or both.
  • If the defendant sold or possessed 100+ grams or 500+ dosage units, they may be sentenced to at least 65 months imprisonment (up to 40 years), a fine up to $1,000,000, or both.

A person is guilty of aggravated controlled substance in the first degree if they sell or possess 100+ grams or 500+ dosage units of the controlled substance at issue and:

  1. the person or an accomplice possesses or uses a firearm, or:
  2. the offense involves two aggravating factors

Second-Degree Controlled Substance Crimes

A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the second degree if on one or more occasions within a 90-day period they unlawfully sell or possess the following:

Marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols

  1. Possess 25+ kilograms or 100+ marijuana plants
  2. Sell 10+ kilograms
  3. Sell 5+ kilograms in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility

Amphetamines, Phencyclidines or Hallucinogens

  1. Possess 50+ grams or 100+ dosage units
  2. Sells 10+ grams or 50+ dosage units
  3. Sell any amount in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility

Cocaine or Methamphetamines

  1. Sell 17+ grams
  2. Sell 3+ grams and: a. the person or an accomplice possesses or uses a firearm, or: b. the offense involves three aggravating factors
  3. Sell any amount in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility
  4. Possess 25+ grams
  5. Possess 10+ grams and: a. the person or an accomplice possesses or uses a firearm, or: b. the offense involves three aggravating factors

Heroin

  1. Sell 3+ grams
  2. Possess 6+ grams

“Other” narcotics

  1. Possess 50+ grams
  2. Sell 10+ grams

A person is also guilty of a controlled substance crime in the second degree if they sell any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug either to a person under 18 or in a school zone, park, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility.

Penalties

  • First conviction: Up to 25 years imprisonment, a fine up to $500,000, or both.
  • Second conviction: At least three years imprisonment (up to 40 years), a fine up to $500,000, or both.
  • The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a 48-month sentence for a person with no criminal history.

Third-Degree Controlled Substance Crimes

A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the third degree if on one or more occasions within a 90-day period they unlawfully sell or possess the following:

Marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols

  1. Possess 10+ kilograms
  2. Sell 5+ kilograms

Amphetamines, Phencyclidines or Hallucinogens

  1. Possess 5 or more dosage units
  2. Sell 10+ dosage units

Cocaine or Methamphetamines

  1. Possess 3 grams or more
  2. Possess any amount in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility
  3. Sell any amount

Heroin

  1. Possess 3+ grams

Schedule I, II, or III drug (except Schedule I or II narcotic drug)

  1. Sell any amount to a person under the age of 18
  2. Conspire with or employ a person under the age of 18 to sell

Schedule I or II narcotic drug

  1. Possess 50+ dosage units
  2. Possess 5+ dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility
  3. Sell 5+ dosage units of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment center

“Other” narcotics

  1. Possess 10+ grams
  2. Sell any amount

Possession

  • 50 dosage units or more of a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine
  • Any amount of a schedule I or II narcotic drug

Penalties

  • First conviction: Up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000, or both.
  • Second conviction: At least two years imprisonment (up to 30 years), a fine up to $250,000, or both.
  • The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a 21-month sentence for a person with no criminal history.

Fourth-Degree Controlled Substance Crimes

A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the fourth degree if they unlawfully sell or possess the following:

Marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols

  1. Sell any amount in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility

Hallucinogen

  1. Possess 10+ dosage units

Schedule I, II, or III drug (except marijuana)

  1. Possess any amount with intent to sell
  2. Sell any amount

Schedule IV or V drug

  1. Sell any amount to a person under 18
  2. Conspire with or employ a person under the age of 18 to sell

Penalties

  • First conviction: Up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine up to $100,000, or both.
  • Second conviction: At least one year imprisonment (up to 30 years), a fine up to $100,000, or both.
  • The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a 12-month sentence for a person with no criminal history.

Fifth-Degree Controlled Substance Crimes

A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the fifth degree if they unlawfully sell or possess the following:

Marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols

  1. Possess 42.5 grams or less
  2. Sell any amount

Schedule I, II, or III drug

  1. Possess any amount

Schedule IV drug

  1. Possess any amount
  2. Sell any amount

The offender may also be charged if they procure, attempt to procure, possess, or have control over a controlled substance by any of the following means:

  1. Fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge
  2. Using a false name or giving false credit
  3. Falsely assuming the title of, or falsely representing an authorized person for the purpose of obtaining a controlled substance

Penalties

  • If the offender has not been previously convicted of a violation, they will be found guilty of a gross misdemeanor and up to one year in jail, a fine up to $3,000, or both if they:
  • Possess less than 0.25 grams or one dosage unit of a controlled substance
  • Possess less than 0.05 grams of heroin
  • A person convicted without the above exceptions may be convicted of a felony and sentenced to up to five years imprisonment, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

High%20potential%20for%20abuse,%20severe%20psychological%20or%20physical%20dependence%20%281%29

Possession of precursors with intent to manufacture

Possession of a precursor drug with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine is a felony. The penalty is up to ten years imprisonment, a fine up to $20,000, or both. If the person has a previous conviction, the penalty is up to 15 years imprisonment, a fine up to $30,000, or both.

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend an 18-month sentence for a person with no criminal history.

Protection of children and vulnerable adults

Special laws are in place to protect children and vulnerable adults from methamphetamine. Causing a child or vulnerable adult to inhale, have contact with, or ingest methamphetamine is a felony. It's also a felony to manufacture methamphetamine or store precursors, waste products, or paraphernalia in the following places:

  • In the presence of a child or vulnerable adult
  • In the home of a child or vulnerable adult
  • In any building, structure, or location where a child or vulnerable adult could be present
  • In a room offered to the public for overnight accommodations
  • Any multiple-unit residential building

Violators are subject to a sentence of up to five years imprisonment, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a 12-month sentence for a person with no criminal history.

Seek legal help

The potential penalties in Minnesota for possessing drugs are very serious. If you're facing a drug offense in Minnesota, contact a criminal defense attorney. A controlled substance conviction can subject you to fines and incarceration. A defense lawyer will review the facts of your case to determine possible defenses. They can make sure that you're aware of the consequences so that you can make an informed decision.

Contact