Second-degree drug crimes are a felony in Minnesota, punishable up to 40 years in prison and a half million dollars in fines. Under Minnesota Statutes section 152.022, selling or possessing a certain amount of a controlled substance may constitute a second-degree crime, which is the second most serious level of offense in the state.
Minnesota’s drug laws have a broad reach and are strict in penalizing. Individuals have faced serious felony charges just because narcotics were found on their property or they were involved in a drug sale conversation. If you’re facing a felony drug charge in Minnesota, contact our experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
What Makes a 2nd-Degree Controlled Substance Charge in Minnesota
2nd-degree Drug Sale Charge
In Minnesota, the word “selling” is not limited to trading drugs for money. It can also mean bartering (exchanging) drugs for other goods, agreeing to sell drugs, or offering to sell them. Here’s what counts as a second-degree drug sale crime:
- Selling a mixture containing any narcotic other than heroin, totaling 10 grams or more
- Selling a mixture containing methamphetamine or cocaine, totaling three grams or more, AND having a firearm or three aggravating factors (see our section below on what aggravating factors are)
- Selling a mixture containing heroin, totaling three grams or more
- Selling a mixture containing amphetamine, hallucinogen, or phencyclidine, totaling 10 grams or more (or at least 50 dosage units)
- Selling a mixture containing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), totaling 10 kilograms or more
- Selling any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic to a minor (person under 18 years of age)
- Conspiring with a minor to sell any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic
- Selling any amount of meth, LSD, or Schedule I or II narcotics at a school zone, park zone, drug treatment facility, or public housing zone
- Selling at least five kilograms of marijuana or THC at a school zone, park zone, drug treatment facility, or public housing zone.
2nd-Degree Drug Possession Charge
Minnesota penalizes both actual and constructive possession of drugs. Actual possession means you have the substance on your person, like in your hand or pocket. Constructive possession means you’re storing the outlawed substance somewhere like in your storage unit or in your bedroom. Here’s what counts as a second-degree drug possession crime:
- Having a mixture containing methamphetamine or cocaine, totaling 25 grams or more
- Having a mixture containing methamphetamine or cocaine, totaling 10 grams or more, AND brandishing a gun or having three aggravating factors (see our section below on what aggravating factors are)
- Having a mixture containing heroin, totaling six grams or more
- Having a mixture containing narcotics other than cocaine, meth, or heroin, totaling 50 grams or more
- Having a mixture containing amphetamine, hallucinogen, or phencyclidine, totaling 50 grams or more (or at least 100 dosage units)
- Having a mixture containing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), totaling 25 kilograms or more
- Having at least 100 marijuana plants.
Sentence/Jail Time for a 2nd-Degree Drug Crime in Minnesota
A person convicted of any first-degree drug crime in Minnesota could face a maximum of 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000. If the person has a prior drug conviction, this sentence could go up to 40 years with a mandatory minimum of 3 years in prison.
Aggravating Factors in a 2nd-Degree Drug Charge
In Minnesota, certain lower-level drug charges could rise to second degree if three aggravating factors are present. These are examples of aggravating factors:
- Having a violent crime conviction within the last 10 years
- Engaging in the drug act for the benefit of a gang
- Conducting drug acts across three or more counties (for example, selling narcotics to buyers in different counties, or storing marijuana in cross-county locations)
- Moving the controlled substances across state or international borders
- Being identified with a high rank in a drug distribution hierarchy.
Defenses Against a 2nd-Degree Drug Charge in MN
If you’ve been charged with or arrested for a second-degree drug crime, it’s paramount that you speak with a defense attorney right away. Many incriminating mistakes can occur early in the case, but your lawyer can help you avoid them. An experienced attorney will also determine the best defense strategy for your specific situation. Attorney Jeff Dean may employ these defenses and more:
- Suppression of evidence – If the police got evidence in a way that violated your constitutional rights, that evidence cannot be admitted in court.
- Illegal search or seizure – If law enforcement agents searched or seized your property without probable cause, they can’t use anything from there as evidence.
- Challenging ownership – Even if the illegal substance was found on your property, the prosecutor must still prove it was yours.
- Miranda Rights violation – If the arresting authorities did not properly read you your rights to remain silent and to have legal representation, anything you say to them will be inadmissible in court.
- Faulty identification – You may have been identified in an improper police line-up or by a biased witness. An attorney might use to prevent the prosecution from identifying you in court.
- Entrapment – Some law enforcement agents deceive or pressure individuals into committing the drug offense. This is unlawful and could get the charges dropped.
Other defense strategies may be available to you, providing solid protection against the severe punishments of a second-degree drug charge. Discuss this with Attorney Jeff Dean, one of the most trusted criminal defense attorneys in Minneapolis.
Contact Experienced Drug Defense Attorney Jeff Dean
For over 26 years now, Jeff Dean has protected numerous Minnesotans from heavy criminal sentences by getting their charges dismissed or obtaining Not Guilty verdicts for them. He has succeeded even in cases where drugs were found in a client’s pocket.
Work with Jeff Dean if you want skilled defense with a successful track record. Call (612) 305-4360 today.