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When does a Minnesota drug offense cross over from a misdemeanor to a felony? [infographic]

A Minnesota man was found recently in his home with more than a half a pound of methamphetamine. According to, federal agents arranged a bait-and-switch operation and arrested the man on charges of first-degree drug conspiracy. Law enforcement alleged that the man was involved in a large network that was funneling 20 pounds of meth from Minnesota to Arizona. The man was scheduled to appear in court with a drug lawyer Minneapolis defendants use.

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The Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor Drug Charges

While this man faces a felony, not all drug crimes are categorized as such. It is important for people facing criminal charges to understand the difference between misdemeanors and felonies.

Defining a misdemeanor

A misdemeanor charge, according to Minnesota laws, is typically reserved for cases in which a defendant possesses or sells a small amount of marijuana, typically 1.5 ounces or less. People who have more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a vehicle may be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Selling or possessing salvia divinorum or synthetic cannabinoids and the possession of drug paraphernalia may also merit a misdemeanor.

The consequences of a misdemeanor drug conviction typically involve a fine and mandatory participation in a drug education program. A drug lawyer Minneapolis residents can trust might try to get charges reduced to a misdemeanor in order to avoid the harsh sentences associated with felonies.

Felony drug charges

There are several factors that will elevate a drug crime to a felony, including the following:

  • The type of drug involved
  • How much of the drug is present
  • The details surrounding the sale of possession of the drug

A felony charge is ranked based on severity and range from first degree to fifth degree. People in Minnesota who are found to have drugs in excess of pre-determined limits will face a fifth degree charge at minimum. There are also aggravating factors that can prompt a felony charge, such as conspiracy to sell, selling drugs in a school zone, fraud or operating a motor vehicle.

Even a fifth degree drug charge will result in a mandatory prison sentence of up to five years as well as fines of up to $10,000. A first-degree conviction can mean as long as 30 years in prison in addition to hefty fines.

In order to understand how the state views and handles charges, it is important to work with a drug lawyer Minneapolis defendants can trust. An attorney can employ various tactics such as obtaining a stay of imposition to reduce a crime to a misdemeanor after a probation period. Anyone with questions regarding this topic should consult an attorney.

Difference Between Felony And Misdemeanor Drug Charge

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