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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.