Practice Areas

Drug Offenses

Beginning August 1, 2016, the Drug Laws in Minnesota have dramatically.  Here are some of the changes:

Prior to August 1, 2016 "trace amount" cases were charged as 5th Degree Controlled Substance Possession Felonies.  Now they are treated as gross misdemeanors.

"Trace Amount" defined:  As possession or sale of fewer than .25 grams of any controlled substance other than heroin; less than .1 gram of heroin; and one dosage unit or less of any controlled substance possessed or sold in dosage units rather than grams (e.g. LSD, Ecstasy, prescription pills, etc.)

A second subsequent offense crime for 5th degree Controlled Substance Possession will be charged as a Felony.

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia used to be a petty misdemeanor (punishable only with a fine) no matter how many prior drug paraphenalia possession convictions the person charged had.  After August 1, 2016, if you have two prior convictions for drug paraphernalia, a third charge will be charged out as a misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

There were also changes to the Mandatory Minimum Sentences which eliminated mandatory minimum sentence based on 3rd, 4th, and 5th-degree convictions.  Prior 1st and 2nd degree convictions within 10 years still trigger the mandatory minimum for a subsequent conviction of a 1st and 2nd degree of a crime of 48 months for a 1st-degree conviction and 36 for a 2nd-degree conviction (which is the same as in current law).

There were also changes to drug threshold amounts.

  • The First Degree narcotic sale threshold is increased from 10-25 grams.  Heroin threshold remained the same at 10 grams.
    • This crime would be a presumptive commit of 86 months with zero criminal history
  • The First Degree narcotic possession threshold is increased from 25-50 grams.  Heroin threshold remained the same at 25 grams.
    • This crime would be a presumptive commit of 86 months with zero criminal history
  • Second Degree Narcotics are increased from 3 to 10 grams for sale and 6 to 25 grams of possession.  Heroin thresholds remained the same at 3 grams sale and 6 grams of possession.
    • This crime would be a presumptive stayed 36-month sentence for an offender with no criminal history.
  • 3rd Degree Controlled Substance Possession threshold is increased from 3 to 10 grams of possession of all drugs other than heroin.  Heroin threshold remains the same at 3 grams.
    • This crime would be a presumptive stayed 21 month for an offender with no criminal history

See Minn.Stat. Chapter 152 

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