Contact an attorney in this area
Ryan Pacyga Criminal Law
333 South Seventh Street, Suite 2850
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Minnesota Drug Laws and Drug Related Crimes
Under Minnesota drug laws, many drug-related offenses (including a cannabis business) have become much more severe than they were in times past. This makes it ever more important for a person facing possible charges for drug-related offenses to hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who can properly represent them to protect their rights and, ultimately, their liberty.
The possible consequences or sentences available after a conviction for a drug crime have been determined by the Minnesota Sentencing guidelines Commission. These so called “guidelines” contain “presumptive sentences” that exist in order to have judges across the state who sentence people convicted of drug crimes maintain some semblance of uniformity with regards to the type and length of sentence given to a convicted person. Of course the best way to avoid having to deal with harsh sentences or felony convictions on your criminal records is to hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to represent you the moment you become aware of a pending criminal investigation by the police or criminal charges having been filed against you or others close to you who may try to implicate you in their criminal conduct.
In Minnesota, the actual type and length of a sentence for a drug crime depends upon many things, but most notably it depends upon the type narcotic alleged to have been possessed, the amount (or weight) of the alleged drug (see for example, “The Bong Water Case“), and the person’s criminal history score (which includes a person’s criminal conviction record). Because a person’s criminal history plays such a key role in determining what sentence a person will receive for a drug-related conviction, repeat offenders receive much more severe sentences. Other factors a judge may consider include things like whether an offense took place in a school zone or park area, etc. But given the entirety of available aggravating factors available to a judge under certain circumstances, even a person being convicted of a FIRST TIME drug offense could be facing a presumptive sentence of over 12 years. Thus, the need for an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota is essential for advocating your case to the government and representing you in your entirety, so the prosecution is able to understand you, your case, and your situation.
Other Consequences for Drug Convictions in Minnesota and Beyond
In Minnesota (and other states) simply having a drug-related conviction on your record can have serious and unanticipated consequences for a person. This is true for both felonies and misdemeanors (and other similar offenses that exist from state to state, for example, gross misdemeanors; petty offenses; class 1, 2, and 3 misdemeanors; etc.). These consequences are often referred to as “collateral consequences,” and they may include any one or more of the following:
- A Person’s Ability to Qualify for Student Financial Aid (regulated by federal law and statutes)
- A Person’s Ability to Qualify for Health Insurance (or an increase in premiums)
- A Person’s Ability to Qualify for Housing or Renting an Apartment (effecting and reducing the availability of it)
- A Person’s Ability to Qualify for Employment or Job Positions and Promotions (and thereby reducing employment opportunities)
- A Person’s Ability to Qualify for Professional and Occupational Licenses (effecting and reducing a person’s eligibility or making a person completely ineligible)
- A Person’s Ability to Earn an Annual Income (or forced reduction in income as a result of the conviction)
- A Person’s Ability to Travel (by restricting a person’s movements in and around the person’s own state, the United States, and international travel locations)
- A Person’s Criminal Record (which is publicly available and is widely used by federal and state agencies and the private sector, including for-profit and nonprofit businesses alike)