How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge in Minnesota?

Drug trafficking or drug distribution refers to manufacturing, selling, moving or importing illegal drugs. It is often confused with drug possession, but these are two different types of drug crimes. Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime as well as a felony crime in Minnesota.

Is drug trafficking a violent crime? A drug trafficking charge in Minnesota can have serious repercussions on the accused’s life, especially if the case involves a conviction. Often, prosecutors seek maximum penalties in such cases in the wake of increased drug usage plaguing the country.

If you or your loved one has been charged with or are suspected of drug trafficking, you should ensure that you’re adequately prepared to tackle the accusation, while protecting your rights. Working with a reputed drug crime lawyer is always a good idea.

It is important to realize that there are no guarantees to beat any drugs-related charge, and every case is different. Most seasoned lawyers fight hard to try and save the day for their clients.

A Quick Overview of Drug Crime Laws in Minnesota

Usually, federal and state prosecutors can levy drug trafficking charges when they believe that controlled substances have been sold, imported, or moved around. In most cases, these charges involve drugs such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. US drug crime statistics reveal that, “Between 2011 and 2015, there was an almost 50% increase in the number of people sentenced for crimes related to heroin trafficking in the U.S.”

A drug trafficking charge can also extend to the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills, pain killers, or products containing hydrocodone, oxycodone, and pharmaceutical opiates.

Often, drug possession charges tend to escalate to trafficking because of the amount of substance found on the accused. This means that a person found with controlled substances even for personal use may have to deal with trafficking charges, and the associated legal sentences. So, someone who may have been found with large quantities of drugs on his/her person for personal use might end up facing a decades-long prison sentence.

Any Minnesota drug crime attorney will tell you that the consequences for drug charges are extremely severe. The state laws here oversee penalties in keeping with the type and quantity of drugs involved, area of distribution, and whether or not children were targeted.

A drug trafficking charge can be brought against you if you have been accused of manufacturing or distributing an illegal controlled substance, or if you have been found possessing a large quantity of the substance that exceeds the estimated quantity for personal use.

Sentences for drug trafficking typically range between three and five years to life imprisonment, but can be considerably higher when large quantities are involved. In extreme cases, where large amounts of drugs are involved, the accused can be charged with a first-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years.

Defending a Drug Trafficking Charge in Minnesota

Experienced drug crime attorneys in Minnesota employ the following commonly-used defenses to help their clients in attempting to beat a drug trafficking charge.

  • Illegal Search and Seizure

Law enforcement authorities need to have probable cause before searching through your personal property to check for possession of illegal drugs. If they did not have a valid warrant or probable cause, it means they violated your Constitutional rights, in which case, your charges may be reduced or dismissed altogether.

  • Miranda Violation

Any statement by you on your drug trafficking charge cannot be used against you in court if it was obtained when you were placed under arrest and weren’t familiarized with your right to remain silent. As per the American Constitution, providing any answer to unwarned police questions can be avoided.

  • Mistake of Fact

You can defend your charges by stating that you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And because of this, you were mistaken for the actual offender. This defense can be especially effective if the evidence presented fails to prove that you were involved in the crime in the first place.

  • The Lack of Intent

The drug trafficking charge levied against you is rooted in your (or the defendant’s) intent to distribute the controlled substances. The charge may carry no weight if this intent cannot be proven.

  • The Lack of Knowledge

When defending your drug trafficking charge, you can also state that you lacked the knowledge that the drugs were on your person to begin with. For instance, you may have been asked to drive a car or a delivery truck from one place to another, without you knowing that the vehicle contained a package of heroin.

  • Challenging Proof of Substance

This defense can be employed to refute state-presented evidence. While the state may allege that the substance found in your possession is a controlled substance or an illegal drug, it need not necessarily be so. The state will have to prove to the court that the substance is a drug through scientific evidence. You can then proceed to question the reliability of drug testing with the aim of either suppressing the evidence presented in court or creating doubts on the certainty of said evidence.

  • Not Meant for Human Consumption

This defense can work if the material in question is not drugs, but more like cannabinoids used in the production of skin creams. Proving this will render your drug trafficking charge baseless, and it will likely be dropped.

  • Duress

If you can prove that you were trafficking drugs under the threat of you or your family being harmed if you didn’t do so, you may find relief in your case.

  • Suppression of Pre-trial Identification

This is a slightly complex one and requires thorough knowledge of the law as well as the Constitution, which does not allow vague and unreliable identification processes. With the help of this defense, law enforcement authorities can be stopped from identifying you (the defendant) in court by proving that the identification procedures (mugshots, witness photos) used by the police were unreliable to begin with.

Conclusion

It is crucial for you or any individual who has been charged with drug trafficking to let neither the police nor the judiciary intimidate them. Most importantly, you should never give up hope and remember that you are going to be considered innocent until proven guilty. 

The above time-tested defenses are used by most Minnesota drug crime attorneys when defending their clients in drug trafficking cases. If you find yourself in tricky waters, make sure to consult a qualified and experienced lawyer at the earliest.

Consult Our Drug Crime Lawyer in Minnesota for a Positive Outcome

Call us for a free consultation at (855) 976-2444 today or contact us online. We will help you explore every legal option available and applicable to your case, preserve your rights, and get you the just outcome you deserve.

How to Beat a Felony Drug Charge in Minnesota?

Conviction for a drug crime can result in extreme consequences. 

Often, a lot of students and young professionals with a bright future ahead of them get convicted for a felony drug charge. The felony can not only result in imprisonment, but become a lifelong stain in your record that greatly impacts your present and future. For example, most employers are law-abiding citizens and will not hire a convicted felon.

Further, potential penalties can be severe. 

It is, therefore, crucial to fight against any type of felony drug charge you have been accused of.

Minnesota recently modified its drug laws to introduce a separate sentencing framework for drug-related crimes, rather than going by the standard felony sentencing guidelines.

Working with an experienced Minnesota drug crime attorney can be extremely beneficial as we are aware of the legal amendments as well as the tactics applicable to your unique case. Accordingly, we can prepare a watertight plan of action to defend you.

Felony Drug Charge in Minnesota

Felony drug charges in Minnesota can include possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, crack, and other narcotics, including prescription drugs. Simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is considered an infraction. But, the possession of over one pound of marijuana or any amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrate or hashish is considered a felony.

Most often, when an individual is found with an illegal drug on their person, they are arrested and charged with a felony. However, not everyone caught possessing narcotics gets criminally convicted of a felony drug charge. Each case is different and the penalty and outcomes are determined based on the various circumstantial factors involved.

Major drug crimes usually involve either the possession or the sale of drugs, including possession with intent to sell. Under Minnesota’s controlled substance laws, penalties for drug crimes depend on whether the offense falls under the first, second, third, fourth or fifth degree. 

First-degree drug crimes are the most serious, and hence, attract the most severe penalties. However, even a fifth degree offense is a felony nonetheless and comes with certain consequences. It is important to avoid a conviction whenever possible.

Mentioned below are some of the crimes that fall under each degree category, from the least severe to the most, and the associated penalties:

  • Fifth Degree

This includes the possession of any amount of Schedule I through IV drugs, except 42.5 grams or less of marijuana. It also includes the sale of or intent to sell marijuana or other Schedule IV drug, except the transfer of small amounts of marijuana without payment. 

Penalties: Fifth degree drug crimes can result in up to five years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.

  • Fourth Degree

These offenses include the possession of 10 or more doses of a hallucinogen, as well as possession with intent to sell a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance. It also includes the sale of Schedule I, II or III substances, as well as sale of Schedule IV drugs to minors. 

Penalties: Fourth degree drug crimes can result in up to 15 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $100,000.

  • Third Degree

These drug offenses can include the possession of at least three grams of heroin, 10 grams of other narcotics, 10 kilograms of marijuana, and five doses of Schedule I or II narcotics near a school, park, or public housing. It further includes the sale of narcotics, five or more kilograms of marijuana, 10 doses of a hallucinogen, and Schedule I or II substance to a minor.

Penalties: Third degree drug crimes can result in up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.

  • Second Degree

These include the possession of at least 25 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, six grams of heroin, 50 grams of other narcotics, 100 doses of a hallucinogen, and 25 kilograms of marijuana or 100 marijuana plants. It also includes the sale of at least three grams of heroin, 10 grams of any other narcotic, 50 doses of a hallucinogen, 10 kilograms of marijuana, and Schedule I or II narcotics to a minor. 

Penalties: Second degree drug crimes can result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment and up to $500,000 in fines.

  • First Degree

First degree offenses include the possession of at least 25 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, and 50 kilograms of marijuana or 500 marijuana plants. Further, it includes the sale of at least 10 grams of heroin, 17 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, 50 grams of other narcotics, 25 kilograms of marijuana, and 200 doses of hallucinogens.

Penalties: First degree drug crimes are the most serious and can result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment and up to $1 million in fines. 

Dealing with Felony Drug Charges in Minnesota

Ask any drug crime lawyer in Minnesota, and they will tell you that no two drug cases are the same. No lawyer can guarantee that they will beat your charges without reviewing your case facts. However, the following pointers will help you understand the kind of defenses that can be used to fight the charges against you.  

  • The Search for Drugs Was Illegal

The first thing that Minnesota drug crime lawyers consider is whether or not the drugs in question were retrieved through a legal search. If the law authorities conducted an illegal search of your home or car, the evidence obtained can be questioned because any evidence procured from an illegal search or seizure is not considered at trial. 

This exclusionary rule states that the police cannot violate any individual’s Constitutional rights. Moreover, the evidence gathered by violating a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights are also considered null-and-void by the court. 

  • The Lack of Knowledge of the Existence of the Illegal Drugs

Another effective defense used by drug crime lawyers in Minnesota is the lack of knowledge or awareness of the existence of illegal drugs. 

Typically, when illegal drugs are found in a car, everyone in the vehicle is arrested. However, it is challenging for the police to prove these cases beyond a reasonable doubt. 

For instance, if the police stops a car with three riders and drugs are discovered in one rider’s wallet, it is possible that the other two riders were unaware of its presence. The government needs to prove that the persons knowingly possessed the illegal drug, which can be quite difficult if the accused’s lawyer puts up a strong defense. 

  • The Lack of or Inadequate Proof

If there is no or inadequate proof that the substance found is, in fact, an illegal drug, the drug crime charges cannot be established. For conviction to occur, the government has to prove that the alleged illegal substance is actually the drug they claim it to be.

The seized drugs are usually sent for testing to a crime laboratory. In some cases, the samples are lost or destroyed, the equipment isn’t calibrated, and so on. In such cases, an astute Minnesota drug crime attorney can question the results of the test and argue that the government failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the substance obtained was a narcotic. This can potentially get an accused acquitted of the criminal charge.  

Even if your case cannot be dismissed, the charges may be reduced or penalties can be minimized. Numerous details surrounding each case can have a huge impact on the possible outcome. Consulting a reputed Minnesota drug crime lawyer is a must to determine what course of action is appropriate in your specific case.

Conclusion

A felony drug conviction can have an adverse impact on your life. Apart from facing lasting detrimental consequences, you can end up behind bars or paying exorbitant fines or both. 

At Carlson & Jones P.A., our Minnesota drug crime attorney can help you by protecting your rights and fighting the charges levied, thereby abating or even eliminating the potential penalties you face. With our powerful legal defense on your side, you can look forward to positive outcomes in your case. 

Depend on Our Minnesota Drug Crime Lawyer for Aggressive Representative

For more information, call us for a free consultation at (855) 976-2444 or contact us online. We will be happy to hear your side of the story and help you by doing what we do best!

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