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Unfortunately, when accused of drug crimes, many people try to save money because they don’t feel that the charges are serious enough to warrant speaking with a St. Paul drug crime attorney and they attempt to handle their cases on their own. These matters are complex and several variables come into play when working toward a favorable resolution. A drug conviction can have lifelong consequences and making a mistake at any step in the process can substantially affect the outcome of the case.
If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime in St. Paul or the surrounding areas, you need an experienced drug crime attorney on your side to fight your charges. At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, our lawyers have over 80 years of combined experience and have handled tens of thousands of cases, including those involving drug crimes. We are prepared to fight for you and put up a vigorous defense. Employing a strategic approach, we will seek a favorable outcome on your behalf, such as getting charges reduced or dropped or sentences lessened.
Minnesota has several laws on the books concerning drug crimes. The offenses fall into different categories called degrees. The degree of charge levied against a person depends on various factors, including the type of drug involved, the quantity of the drug, and any aggravating factors present at the time of the offense.
Prohibited drug-related behaviors include:
- Manufacturing drugs: In Minnesota, manufacturing drugs includes activities such as cultivating, producing, packing, and labeling.
- Selling drugs: Selling includes giving away or bartering for drugs. This means that money does not have to exchange hands for the conduct to be considered a crime.
- Possessing drugs: An offense occurs when someone owns or has in their control drugs.
- Possessing drug paraphernalia: In Minnesota, it’s a crime to possess drug paraphernalia, as well as manufacture or deliver it.
- Using recreational marijuana: In recent years, attitudes towards recreational cannabis use have relaxed. However, it is not legal in Minnesota to engage in such conduct. The state does allow for medicinal use of marijuana, but strict laws are in place regulating the possession and use of it.
Depending on the circumstances, a drug crime may fall under federal jurisdiction. When it’s charged as a federal offense, defending against accusations can be more challenging and the conviction penalties can be more severe.
Minnesota Drug Crime Penalties
Depending on the severity of your drug charge, a lot could be at stake. If you’re convicted, you could be facing a lengthy prison sentence, large fine, or both. Additionally, you’ll have a criminal record, which could impact your future. For instance, you may be ineligible for receiving federal student aid and might have difficulty getting a job, as many employers conduct background checks.
A few other consequences related to drug crimes include:
- Mandatory minimums: Many people aren’t aware that a judge must impose specific mandatory minimum sentences for drug crime convictions.
- Three strikes sentencing: If an individual has prior felony convictions, a drug-related offense could result in a life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- Property forfeiture: If law enforcement officials believe certain pieces of property were used to commit a drug crime or purchased with money gained from such conduct, they can seize the property.
- Increased penalties for aggravating factors: If aggravating factors were involved, charges and punishments become more severe. Aggravating factors include:
- Selling to a minor or vulnerable adult;
- Committing a drug crime in a school zone, park zone, correctional facility, or drug treatment facility;
- Carrying out the offense for the benefit of a gang; and
- Bringing drugs into Minnesota from another state or country
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At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, our St. Paul drug crimes lawyers will focus on your best interests as we seek a favorable result on your behalf. We are skilled negotiators and will work toward a resolution outside of court. However, we’re also prepared to take your case to trial should that be necessary.