A person arrested for and charged with a suspected drug offense in Minnesota may wish to understand the different types of charges under the state’s law and what penalties they may come with.
Minnesota law recognizes five degrees of drug crimes, with fifth degree offenses being the least serious and first degree offenses being the most serious. A first degree drug offense may carry with it the longest incarceration sentence and financial penalty.
First degree drug quantities
As explained by Minnesota State University, the type and amount of a particular drug a person involved in a case may direct the severity of the charge. A first degree offense related to cocaine or methamphetamine may involve a minimum of 50 grams for charges of drug possession and a minimum of 17 grams for charges of drug selling.
For charges related to heroin, the quantities are lower with a minimum of 25 grams and 10 grams leading to charges of drug possession and drug sale, respectively. Possessing 500 or more marijuana plans may contribute to a first degree charge. Accusations of first degree sale of pot may involve 25 kilograms or more of the drug.
Other narcotics and hallucinogens may also be involved in a first degree drug charge.
First degree drug penalties
According to the Minnesota Legislature, the financial penalty for a first degree drug offense may climb as high as $1 million. If the defendant’s record includes prior felony drug convictions, the minimum incarceration period is 48 months. Incarceration may last as long as 30 years for a first degree drug conviction regardless of the existence of any prior offenses.