Laws Emphasize Treatment for Drug Offenders

The most significant changes in over 30 years to drug sentencing in Minnesota have gone into effect and will be used to determine the sentences of future drug offenders. The effect of the new laws will be closely monitored by legislators and law enforcement to determine whether lighter sentences and a renewed emphasis on treatment over incarceration helps reduce drug use within the state.

Low-Level Offenders Catch a Break

The changes to the law are intended to reduce penalties and sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders. Indeed, the state is stepping up efforts to divert low-level offenders into treatment programs where their addictions may be addressed more effectively than possible within a correctional facility. Currently, there are 501 individuals in the state serving time for low-level possession of a controlled substance, however, the changes to the law are not retroactive and will not be used to release these individuals from prison.

Under the new guidelines, mandatory minimum sentences for third, fourth, and fifth degree possession have been eliminated. Further, fourth and fifth degree offenders are now eligible for conditional or early release. It is expected that conditions for early release will include provisions for offenders to successfully complete drug treatment programs.

Minnesota Funding Future Treatment Programs

It should be noted that the state is also increasing the number of Chemical Dependency beds within the state’s correctional facilities. The state is increasing funding for these beds by $750,000 in the coming year which will facilitate the installation of 70 new beds. Moreover, grants will be available to local police departments, jails, and non-profits who are seeking to initiate or expand their own Chemical Dependency Programs. So far, the state has earmarked $488,000 for this in 2017. This amount will drop slightly to $461,000 for every year following. It is hoped that the diversion to drug treatment programs will help the state save up to $12 million per year in incarceration costs.

Drug Treatment in Minnesota

Drug lawyers in Mineapolis should advise their clients about their drug treatment options. In Minnesota, drug treatment programs are required to provide counseling and education to clients that can help reduce the possibility of relapse. Successful completion of drug treatment requires clients to change their lifestyle and rely upon treatment programs that can help them address their addictions and get a second chance at life.

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.