Five Degrees of Controlled Substance Crimes in Minnesota

Minnesota has five degrees of drug crimes based on Minnesota Statutes 152. The degree of the offense is determined by drug type and drug quantity. Each charge is a felony. Each drug type is assigned a schedule number from one to five. What charges an individual may face and their possible sentence can vary based on a number of factors. A first-degree drug offense carries a higher minimum and maximum sentence than a fifth-degree substance crime.

First-degree drug crimes

Individuals may face first-degree substance charges in Minnesota if they are arrested for selling ten grams or more of cocaine, heroin, or meth within a 90-day timeframe. Selling fifty grams or more of a narcotic that is not cocaine, heroin, or meth can also result in a first-degree drug charge. Possessing 25 grams or more of cocaine, heroin, or meth can result in a first-degree drug charge. A person possessing at least 500 grams of a narcotic other than the previously mentioned three can face the same degree of charge. Those found guilty can face up to 40 years in prison (if they have a prior conviction) and/or fines up to $1,000,000.

Second-degree drug crimes

Prison sentences for people convicted of second-degree drug crimes can also be up to 40 years if they have a prior second-degree drug conviction. A drug attorney can advise individuals on their rights and possible legal options. Anyone arrested selling three grams or more of heroin, cocaine, or meth may face a second-degree drug charge in Minnesota.

Third-degree drug crimes

Individuals arrested for selling 5 kilograms of a narcotic or 5 kilograms of marijuana within 90 days can be charged with a controlled substance crime in the third degree. Individuals who have a prior third-degree drug crime conviction may face up to 30 years in prison and fines as high as $250,000.

Fourth-degree drug crimes

Those with a prior fourth-degree drug crime conviction face the possibility of 30 years in prison. Fourth degree controlled substance crimes include possession of a Schedule I, II, or III drug with the intent to sell. Fourth-degree drug crimes also cover the selling of any Scheduled drugs to a minor.

Fifth-degree drug crimes

Individuals arrested for selling more than small amounts of marijuana or Schedule IV drugs may be charged with a fifth-degree controlled substance crime. Possession of Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs can result in up to 5 years in prison.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.