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