A hands with a handcuff and a lawyer holding a folder with a text Criminal Record on it.

How Much Xanax is a Felony?

Possession of more than one dosage unit of Xanax is a felony. Trying to get these drugs through deceitful tactics, including impersonating a medical practitioner, pharmacist, or manufacturer, can elevate the severity of your crime. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of these drugs can also give rise to additional charges. Knowing how much Xanax is a felony allows you to take the necessary steps, such as working with a drug crime attorney, to fight your drug possession charges and mitigate the potential consequences of a conviction. 

A hands with a handcuff and a lawyer holding a folder with a text Criminal Record on it.

What Is Xanax? 

Xanax is a prescription medication for depression, generalized anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. It is, however, widely abused and illegally sold across the streets of the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies it as a Schedule IV controlled substance. The same applies to Minnesota, as the state classifies drugs based on schedules equivalent to federal drug schedules. 

How Much Xanax is a Felony?

The specific charges for illegal possession of Xanax vary from state to state. Generally, most states consider the Xanax amount in your possession when determining the severity of your crime. 

Possession of Xanax without a prescription is a state-level offense, as nearly all states classify this drug as a controlled substance. How much Xanax is in your possession will determine the charges you will face. 

Xanax possession of one dosage unit or less often leads to a misdemeanor charge. Possession of more than one dosage unit of Xanax often results in felony-level charges. 

Your intention will also determine the level of charges you will face for Xanax possession. You might face felony charges if the police officers have a reasonable cause to believe that you intended to sell the drugs. 

Your criminal record will also play a critical role in determining the level of charges you will face for Xanax possession. Your charges will be less severe if you are a first-time offender than if you are a repeat offender. 

Operating a motor vehicle after using Xanax can also get you into legal trouble, even if you had a prescription for the drug and followed the doctor’s instructions correctly. This is because legal drugs can lead to DWI charges. A conviction can result in harsh criminal penalties, such as prison time and significant fines. It can also lead to temporary or permanent loss of your driver’s license. 

A seasoned prescription drug attorney can review your case and discuss your legal options when facing a prescription drug DWI charge. The attorney can gather enough evidence to question the reliability of the sobriety test results and police report. The attorney can also get some pieces of evidence against you excluded, especially if the prosecution violated your rights in the evidence collection process. 

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance

Penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Minnesota depend on the type and amount of drug in question, the unique circumstances of the possession, and the alleged offender’s criminal record. A conviction of Schedule I drug possession carries the most severe penalties, with Schedule IV drug possession carrying the least severe penalties. 


Fines are common penalties for many controlled substance possession convictions. If convicted for having any amount of Xanax without a valid prescription or with the intent to sell it, you may face up to $10,000 in fines. 


Drug possession convictions can also lead to jail or prison time. The length of prison sentences depends on the controlled substances involved, the severity of the crime, and state laws. If convicted of possessing Xanax illegally in Minnesota, the court may sentence you to up to five years in prison. 

Probation Sentences 

Judges usually grant probation sentences in many controlled drug possession cases. Probation sentences may be part of other penalties like fines, prison time, or rehabilitation. Specific rules apply to probation sentences. These rules are called conditions of probation.

Probation conditions may include:

  • Reporting to a probation officer regularly
  • Attending a drug rehabilitation program
  • Submitting to regular drug testing
  • Staying within a specific geographical location 

A convicted person must fulfill all the conditions of probation. A court can revoke the probation sentence if the offender fails to satisfy one or more probation conditions. The court can then order the offender to serve the whole original sentence.   


Many states, including Minnesota, have programs that help certain drug offenders keep their criminal records clean. The prosecution permits you to participate in a behavior modification treatment program. The program requires you to meet certain conditions for a specific period, usually six months.

The prosecution agrees to drop the drug possession charges if you complete the program successfully. The prosecution moves forward with possession charges if you fail to meet one or more diversion conditions. 

A Minneapolis drug crime attorney familiar with the Minnesota diversion programs can review your case to determine if you qualify. If so, the attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to admit you to an appropriate diversion program. 


A conviction of controlled substance possession can also result in a rehabilitation period. A court-ordered rehabilitation period or substance addiction treatment is an alternative to serving a prison sentence. 

Prescription Medications as Controlled Substances

Prescription medications are pharmaceutical drugs, which you can only obtain with written instructions from a licensed doctor. These medications include narcotic (opioid) pain relievers, antipsychotics, depressants, stimulants, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers.

Prescription medications effectively treat and manage a continuously growing list of medical conditions when used as prescribed. Unfortunately, these medications are widely abused across the United States. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially declared the abuse of prescription opioid drugs an epidemic in 2017. Approximately 11.4 million Americans are currently abusing this class of prescription medications. Stimulants and depressants are other classes of commonly abused prescription medications. 

The DEA classifies prescription medications as controlled substances because of their risk for abuse and dependence. They fall under Schedule II, III, IV, and V based on their individual risks and potential for addiction. 

Possession of prescription medications without written instructions from a licensed doctor is a criminal offense. How much Xanax is a felony will also depend on your prescription. Xanax possession of more than the prescribed amount, even with a valid medical prescription, is also an offense.

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

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.