Fifth degree possession or sale of a controlled substance is a serious criminal offense in Minnesota. Most often the crime is charged as a felony — though possession of very small amounts may result in a still-very-serious gross misdemeanor charge. As a felony-level drug offense, fifth degree possession or sale of is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, with the assistance of an experienced drug crime defense lawyer, first-time offenders are very rarely sentenced to prison. Nonetheless, there are serious consequences that can result from a felony drug conviction.
Free, Confidential Case Evaluation by a Minneapolis Drug Charge Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested, charged, or even just questioned about a fifth degree controlled substance offense, you need to speak with an experienced Minnesota drug defense lawyer. The Balmer Law Office is available via its 24-hour hotline: 612-326-4175. Minneapolis attorney David Balmer is pleased to provide free, confidential case evaluations. Contact the Balmer Law Office today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree (Minn. Stat. § 152.025)
Fifth degree drug possession includes any of the following:
- possession of any amount of a schedule I, II, III, or IV substance (e.g. cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, meth, LSD, vicodin, Xanax), but not including a small amount of marijuana (defined as less than 42.5 grams)
- possession, or attempted possession, of any amount of a controlled substance by means of fraud or deceit
Under Minnesota law the term “possession” means:
“if it was in a place under the defendant’s exclusive control to which other people did not normally have access, or if found in a place to which others had access, defendant knowingly exercised dominion and control over it.”
Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree (Minn. Stat. § 152.025)
Fifth degree drug sale includes:
- sale of more than 42.5 grams of marijuana
- sale of any amount of a schedule IV controlled substance, but not including a small amount of marijuana
As with possession, Minnesota defines the term “sale” very broadly:
“to sell, give away, barter, deliver, exchange, distribute, or dispose of to another, to offer or agree to do the same, to possess with intent to do the same, or to manufacture.”
How to Avoid a Conviction for a First-Time Controlled Substance Offense
For true first-time controlled substance offenders, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often convince a judge to stay adjudication of the offense — that is, not convict and instead place the defendant on probation. Typically probation involves successfully completing a drug treatment program, completing community work service, paying a modest amount of court costs and remaining law abiding. For a Fifth Degree offense, probation can last up to five years. The end result is that the client walks away without a conviction or public record of the offense and avoids the many harsh consequences of a drug conviction.
Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Fifth Degree Controlled Substance Crime
If the current offense is a second (or greater) controlled substance offense, then Minnesota statutes require a minimum sentence of six months in jail. However, many times a skilled drug crime defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor or judge to have the subsequence offense sentenced as if it were a first time offense.
Defenses to Controlled Substance Charges
There are numerous possible defenses and mitigating strategies to Minnesota’s harsh drug laws. Learn more about drug charge defenses.
Consequences of a Minnesota Controlled Substance / Drug Conviction
If you have been charged with a controlled substance offense, there’s more on the line than just jail or prison. Minnesota laws create a whole host of other severe consequences for a controlled substance conviction.
Contact an Experienced Minnesota Drug Defense Attorney
If you have been charged, arrested, or even just questioned about a Minnesota controlled substance offense, you need to speak with an experienced Minnesota drug crime defense attorney. The state is preparing its case against you — it’s time to start preparing your defense. The Balmer Law Office is available via its 24-hour hotline: 612-326-4175.