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Minnesota First Degree Controlled Substance Offenses

First degree sale or possession of a controlled substance is the most serious felony drug offense under Minnesota law. As a first-time offense, the crime is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. A mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison applies for people with a previous drug conviction on their record. And even as a first time offense, Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend a prison sentence of nearly 5.5 years!

Free, Confidential Case Evaluation by a Minneapolis Drug Charge Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested, charged, or even just questioned about a first degree controlled substance offense, you need to speak with an experienced Minnesota drug crime 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.

Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (Minn. Stat. § 152.021)

The offense of possession of a controlled substance in the first degree includes any of the following:

  • possession of a narcotic mixture(s) with a total weight of 50 grams or more (25 grams or more if a gun is also possessed) containing cocaine or methamphetamine
  • possession of a narcotic heroin mixture with a total weight of 25 grams or more
  • possession of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 500 grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or meth
  • possession of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 500 grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or an hallucinogen, or 500 or more dosage units of the same
  • possession of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 50 kilograms or more containing marijuana, or 500 or more marijuana plants

Minnesota statutes define drug possession broadly: 

“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 First Degree (Minn. Stat. § 152.021)

Sale of a controlled substance in the first degree includes any of the following:

  • sale of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 17 grams or more (10 grams or more if a gun is also possessed) containing cocaine or methamphetamine
  • sale of a narcotic heroin mixture with a total weight of 10 grams or more
  • sale of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 50 grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or meth
  • sale of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 50 grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or an hallucinogen or, 200 or more dosage units of the same
  • sale of a mixture(s) with a total weight of 25 kilograms or more containing marijuana

Aggravated First Degree Controlled Substance Crime (Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subdivision 2(b))

To qualify as an aggravated first-degree controlled substance offense, the offense must involve: 

  1. the sale or possession of 100 or more grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, other narcotic, or hallucinogen; or, if packaged in dosage units, 500 or more dosage units of amphetamine, PCP, or a hallucinogen, and 
  2. the presence of two or more aggravating factors (e.g. a prior controlled substance offense, sale to a person under the age of 18, offense committed for the benefit of a gang, etc.) or the possession or use of a firearm.

The consequences of a conviction for the aggravated level offense are severe. A mandatory minimum sentence applies to all convictions. The sentence must be the greater of 86 months or the presumptive guideline sentence.

Methamphetamine Manufacture Crime (Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subdivision 2(a))

Manufacturing any amount of methamphetamine is a first degree violation of Minnesota controlled substance law. The term “manufacture” is defined as: 

“. . . production, cultivation, quality control, and standardization by mechanical, physical, chemical, or pharmaceutical means, packing, repacking, tableting, encapsulating, labeling, relabeling, filling, or by other process, of drugs.”

Mandatory Minimum Sentence for First Degree Controlled Substance Crime

If the charge for First Degree Controlled Substance is a subsequent controlled substance offense, then Minnesota law requires the court to sentence a defendant found guilty of the subsequent offense to a minimum of four years in prison. A conviction for an aggravated first degree offense mandates a minimum sentence of just over seven years in prison. In some cases, a skilled drug crime defense attorney may be able to have a second offense sentenced as if it were a first time offense or otherwise negotiate a resolution outside of the mandatory minimum requirements.

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.

David Balmer

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David Balmer established the Balmer Law Office with one overriding goal: provide aggressive, high-caliber criminal and DWI defense for good people facing serious charges throughout the state of Minnesota. Read More

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