Meth Charges in Minnesota - Size Matters

Maury Devereau Beaulier

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Criminal Defense Attorney

Contributor Level 19

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to Alaska, 1 helpful vote

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First Degree Methamphetamine Charges

Second Degree Sale of ten grams or more of any mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, or possession of 25 grams or more of any such substance, is a first-degree controlled substance crime and carries a penalty of up to 30 years' imprisonment and a $1 million fine, or both. If the person has a previous controlled substance conviction, the penalty is increased to at least four and up to 40 years' imprisonment. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend an 86-month sentence for a person with no criminal history who is convicted of a first-degree controlled substance offense.

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Second Degree Methamphetamine Charges

Sale of three to ten grams or possession of six to 25 grams of a methamphetamine substance is a second-degree controlled substance violation and is punishable by a 25-year prison sentence or a $500,000 fine, or both. For offenders with a previous controlled substance conviction, the penalty increases to up to 40 years (with a three-year minimum sentence) and an optional fine of up to $500,000. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a 48- month sentence for a person with no criminal history who is convicted of a second-degree controlled substance offense.

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Third Degree Methamphetamine Charges

Sale of any substance containing methamphetamine, or possession of three to six grams of such substance, is a third-degree controlled substance crime and carries a prison term of up to 20 years or a fine of up to $250,000, or both. With a previous controlled substance conviction, the term is at least two and up to 30 years, with an optional $250,000 fine. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a stayed 21-month sentence for a person with no criminal history who is convicted of a third-degree controlled substance offense.

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4th Degree Methamphetamine Charges

Possession of a substance containing any amount of methamphetamine is a fourth-degree controlled substance crime and carries a prison term of up to 15 years or a fine of up to $100,000 or both. With a previous controlled substance conviction, the term is at least one and up to 30 years, with an optional $100,000 fine. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a stayed 12-month sentence for a person with no criminal history who is convicted of a fourth-degree controlled substance offense.

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Challenges to Charges

There are many challenges to methampehatmine charges. Those defenses, however, depend on the particular facts of the case. Were your constitutional rights violated? Were warrants supported by requisite probable cause? Was the contraband carefully collected? Was testing sciuentifically provormed by a reliable method? Some other types of challenges are listed below.

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The Evidence

Obviously, evidence of a drug charge is critical to a conviction. The existence of contraband including the necessary weight must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That evidence can be challenged where the search was flawed. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. As individual rights are highly valued in this country, our lawyers have been very successful in challenging drug arrests based on improper searches and invalid search warrants. A constitutional violation may occur where searches are unsupported by sufficient probable cause to conduct the search. Such challenges require a careful inspection as to what the law enforcement officer knew and when it was known. Even where search warrants are acquired, numerous potential challenges exist. Challenges may include attacking the probable cause for the warrant or arguing that the scope of the warrant was exceeded either as to l

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Entrapment

Entrapment occurs when the government, usually law enforcement, entice a person to commit a crime that they were not predisposed to committing. In the context of a drug offense, it may be a viable claim of entrapment if law enforcement initiates contact and communication regarding a sale of narcotics where there was no predisposition on the part of the defendant to commit the offense. It is important to note that law enforcement officers have no obligation to tell the truth or to reveal their true identity if asked by a potential drug buyer or drug seller. Claims of entrapment are very difficult to present effectively without a trained lawyer. Some successful claims against law enforcement agencies have centered around the idea of a 'virtue test'. Police cannot select random citizens to participate in organized sting operations in hopes of generating an arrest. There must be some compelling evidence that a specific individual has a propensity for committing such a crime.

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Possession

One of the critical elements of any drug case is whether the defendant was the person who had actual possession of the drugs on their person, or whether the defendant had constructive possession, by locating drugs within that individuals span of control, whether that is in a car, a house, or a dresser drawer.

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Conclusion

Charges related to methamphetamine possession or possession with intent to sell are extremely serious. On a first offense, presumptive prison sentence in excess of twelve years may apply. Accordingly, you should always seek experienced and aggressive counsel for your defense.

Additional Resources

Minnesota Defense of Drug Charges

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