In Minnesota, certain felony convictions for sexual predatory offenses and drug crimes require offenders to register with a Minnesota Offender Registry for a period up to 10 years.
Minnesota Offender Registries
Offenders convicted of sexually explicit predatory crimes and certain drug-related crimes are required to register with Minnesota offender registries. Offenders must provide certain personal information, so they may be tracked and observed by law enforcement when necessary. The goal of Minnesota offender registries is to protect the public from certain offenders who create a higher probability of harm to Minnesota residents.
The two main state offender registries include the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry which deals with sexual offenders and the Meth Offender Registry which deals with drug crimes. In Minnesota, criminal attorneys see a high rate of sexual and drug-related crimes. Offender registries are in place to protect citizens from injury and death and reduce repeat offenses for convicted offenders.
Predatory Offender Registry
The Predatory Offender Registry, established in 1991, focuses on sexual crimes committed by a predatory offender. The central registry is maintained by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension which keeps track of registered offenders and provides crime-related information to the public.
Registration with the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry is mandatory for the following offenses:
- Felony criminal sexual conduct
- Felony indecent exposure
- False imprisonment
- Solicitation of a minor for prostitution or engagement in sexual conduct
- Possession of pornography or sexually explicit photos of a minor
Offenders are required by Minnesota courts to provide information about their primary and secondary addresses, employment and/or school history, and motor vehicle license and registration. Offenders must register and remain on the registry for a minimum of 10 years, or until the end of their probation period, whichever is longer. Certain offenses require a convicted offender to register for life. Mandatory registration for predatory offenders also applies to offenders on other state registries who are visiting Minnesota for more than 14 days or working and/or attending school within the state.
Predatory offenders who fail to register or report changes in recorded information face serious consequences including violations that add additional time to the registry. First-time convictions for failure to register are subject to a prison sentence of one year and one day. Subsequent convictions are subject to a minimum two-year prison sentence. Every conviction for failure to register results in an additional five year registration period added to the offender’s original registration period, which is usually 10 years starting upon release from incarceration.
Meth Offender Registry
In recent years, Minnesota has been hard hit with the drug epidemic. Although the opioid crisis has dominated most headlines, other drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin are still impacting the state. According to law enforcement, these drugs continue to cause addiction, as well as injuries and overdose deaths in Minnesota.
The Meth Offender Registry in Washington County focuses on the criminal history of offenders convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine in a meth lab with the intent to distribute or sell the drugs. The registry does not list offender addresses, but it does provide records that are sorted by county. Public records include:
- Offender’s legal name, including aliases
- Offender’s date of birth
- History of drug convictions within the last 15 years
- Conviction level such as felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor
- Description of drug-related offenses
- Prison bookings and sentences served
Law enforcement emphasizes the importance of spotting the signs of meth labs and meth use. Meth labs create serious hazards to people living in close proximity due to high risks of fires and explosions from dangerous chemicals used in manufacturing. The public is warned to look for noticeable signs of a meth lab such as burn pits, soil stained by chemicals, and dead vegetation around the premises.
Minnesota Drug Penalties
In Minnesota, the manufacturing, possession, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs is a serious felony offense. This includes methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and some prescription drugs. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, but possession of one pound or more of marijuana or any drug with THC is a felony offense.
A conviction for a felony drug offense in Minnesota results in harsh penalties. Under Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a conviction for a felony drug-related crime can result in 5 to 30 years in prison, based on the level of the offense and other factors such as: an offender’s criminal history; use of possession of a lethal weapon during the crime; injury to another person/persons; and severity of crime-related injuries, including deaths.
In some drug-related cases, felony charges for drug possession can be reduced through legal defense with a Minnesota criminal attorney. When search and seizure laws are violated by law enforcement, convictions may be overturned due to violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment Rights. However, this defense rarely applies to the manufacturing of meth or the distribution and sale of most drugs.