Penalties for Underage Possession in Minnesota

Children and teenagers who participate in criminal activity can face serious penalties that impact the rest of their lives. Underage possession of a controlled substance requires a drug attorney that handles juvenile criminal defense cases.

Juvenile Crimes in Minnesota

A juvenile is defined by Minnesota law as a person between 10 and 17 years old. When a juvenile commits a crime, the laws and consequences differ than laws and consequences for adult criminals. Depending on the circumstances, juvenile crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Penalties for misdemeanors often include detention in a youth facility and counseling, but in serious cases, a juvenile can be charged and punished as an adult.

When children and teenagers commit crimes, they are often unaware of the consequences of their actions. If charged with a crime in Minnesota, juveniles are not entitled to a jury trial or bail release. Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) is a Minnesota program that focuses on helping juveniles who commit serious crimes to return to a law-abiding lifestyle. According to law, Minnesota courts can impose a dual sentence with juvenile and adult sanctions to a juvenile offender. To be placed on EJJ, a juvenile offender must be at least 14-years-old. Under Minnesota law, convicted offenders must remain under EJJ supervision until they reach 21 years of age.

Underage Possession of Drugs and Alcohol


In Minnesota, when a person is caught in possession of a controlled substance, and the police suspect intent to sell, it’s charged as a possession with an intent violation. Possession with intent to sell, deliver or distribute drugs is a fourth-degree drug offense that requires a drug attorney for the proper criminal defense. Penalties include a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines up to $100,000. Minnesota law imposes stiff penalties on meth-related criminal possession charges, but there is no jail time for first-time offenders caught with a small amount of marijuana (42.5 grams or less) intended for personal use.


In Minnesota, the legal age to consume alcohol is 21, and minors caught with alcohol face serious consequences. The following are considered gross misdemeanors, punishable by fines of up to $3,000, in addition to civil penalties and criminal charges:

  • Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol under age 21
  • Providing the use of a fake ID to a minor to purchase alcohol
  • Serving or giving alcohol to a minor, except within the household by a parent or guardian under supervision

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.