A fifth-degree drug crime is the least serious level of offense under Minnesota law, but it can still result in severe punishments such as prison time, fines, and a permanent criminal record. Many individuals have unfortunately faced this charge under the state’s broad-reaching drug laws. A person could be charged in situations involving prescription drugs or marijuana, for example, even if they weren’t selling it for money.
One simple action could expose you to a drug charge with life-ruining consequences. If you’ve been accused of or charged with a controlled substance offense in Minnesota, call our experienced defense attorney right away.
What Makes a 5th-Degree Controlled Substance Charge in Minnesota
5th-degree Drug Sale Charge – Felony
Selling a controlled substance is a felony in Minnesota. State law has a broad definition of “selling”: it can mean trading drugs for money, exchanging drugs for goods or services, offering to sell drugs, or agreeing to sell them. A person can be charged with a fifth-degree drug offense if they:
- Sell a mixture containing a Schedule IV controlled substance, OR
- Sell a mixture containing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), unless it’s a small amount of marijuana given for no payment.
This second condition means that giving away 42.5 grams or less of cannabis for free would not be a felony crime. It would however be a petty misdemeanor, which we’ll discuss in a section below. What would count as a felony marijuana sale would be trading any amount of cannabis for money or services, or giving someone over 42.5 grams of cannabis for free.
5th-Degree Drug Possession Charge – Felony
Minnesota criminalizes both actual possession and constructive possession of drugs. Actual possession means the substance is directly found on you, such as in your pocket or hand. Constructive possession is if the substance is stored somewhere else, like in your house or storage locker, but is still deemed to be yours. Whether it’s actual or constructive possession, it will count as a felony if it is:
- Having a mixture containing a Schedule I, II, III, or IV substance, except 42.5 grams or less of marijuana, OR
- Getting any controlled substance through fraud, fake identity, false credit, or any deceitful means.
5th-Degree Drug Possession Charge – Gross Misdemeanor
A gross misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, but it’s still punishable with jail time and fines. A person may be convicted of this offense if they have no prior drug conviction AND:
- the amount of controlled substance, if it’s not heroin, is less than 0.25 grams or not more than one dosage unit, OR
- the substance is heroin and the amount is less than 0.05 grams.
“Small Amount of Marijuana” – Petty Misdemeanor
Possessing or giving away 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor in Minnesota. State law does not consider this a crime, which means it has no jail sentence. It is, however, a violation of the law, penalized with a $300 ticket and a requirement to attend a drug education program. A petty misdemeanor conviction will also show up in background checks.
Common Schedule Drugs in Minnesota
Schedule I Controlled Substances Examples
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC).
Schedule II Controlled Substances Examples
- Hydrocodone (such as Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (such as Oxycontin and Percocet)
- Methamphetamine and amphetamine.
Schedule III Controlled Substances Examples
- Benzphetamine (such as Didrex)
- Human growth hormones (anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone)
Schedule IV Controlled Substances Examples
- Alprazolam (such as Xanax)
- Clonazepam (such as Klonopin)
- Diazepam (such as Valium)
- Lorazepam (such as Ativan)
- Dextropropoxyphene (such as Darvon and Darvocet).
Schedule V Controlled Substances Examples
- Ezogabine (such as Potiga)
- Pregabalin (such as Lyrica)
- Lacosamide (such as Vimpat)
- Meth precursor drugs such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Sentence/Jail Time for a 5th-Degree Drug Crime in Minnesota
Minnesota’s maximum sentence for a fifth-degree drug crime is five years in prison, coupled with a $10,000 fine.
Defenses Against a 5th-Degree Drug Charge in Minnesota
It’s vital to get a lawyer’s counsel immediately after your drug charge or arrest, as it’s easy to make incriminating mistakes once the case is opened. A competent defense attorney should protect you from these mistakes and start building your defense.
Attorney Jeff Dean is highly experienced in crafting defenses against drug charges. He may challenge the legality of your arrest, or question the police’s cause to search or seize your property. He watches for constitutional rights violations, which can invalidate evidence against you. He may weaken the prosecution’s arguments, preventing them from proving that the drugs were yours.
With these defense strategies and more, Jeff Dean has helped many Minnesotans get acquitted or have their charges dropped. He has even won a Not Guilty verdict in a case where drugs were found in his client’s pocket. Protect your rights and freedom in a drug-related case by reaching out to Attorney Jeff Dean.
Contact Experienced Drug Defense Attorney Jeff Dean
Over the last 26+ years, Jeff Dean has built a stellar track record as a criminal defense lawyer. His skilled representation has proven effective for numerous Minnesotans accused of a crime, and he’s won even those cases with substantial evidence of guilt. Don’t hesitate to talk to him about your controlled substance charges. Call Jeff Dean at (612) 305-4360 today.