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What is 5th Degree Drug Possession in Minnesota?

If you are facing 5th-degree drug possession charges in the state of Minnesota, you might be unsure of what to do.

Because of the complicated categorization of drug offenses, it can be confusing to understand your charges.

It’s always important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

Your attorney can go over your charges with you and mount a strong defense.

At Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., we have decades of experience handling these types of charges for our clients.

In this article, we’ll discuss 5th-degree drug charges in Minnesota, as well as possible consequences and defenses.

Remember that with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, you might be able to reduce, or eliminate charges.

If you face drug possession charges, we strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible.

5th Degree Drug Charges in MN – Overview

In the state of Minnesota, there are five different degrees of drug charges. The degree of the crime depends upon the amount of substance in question.

It also depends upon whether someone is selling or manufacturing the substance.

5th-degree drug charges are the least serious. 5th-degree drug charges only include those for possession or sale.

However, 5th-degree drug charges can be either a felony or gross misdemeanor. 

Felony 5th-degree drug charges in Minnesota are for the sale of drugs or possession of larger amounts of drugs.

Gross misdemeanor charges are those for possession of a small amount of drugs.

In other words, if the cops arrest someone because they were selling marijuana, mixed drugs, or one of the drugs on Minnesota’s Schedule IV list, they might charge the person with felony 5th-degree drug sale.

If they arrest someone who was in possession of the drugs on the schedule I, II, III, or IV list (in greater than the amounts listed for gross misdemeanor charges), they might charge the person with felony 5th-degree drug possession.

If it is someone’s first offense, and they possess less than 0.05 grams of heroin or less than 0.25 grams (or one dosage unit) of another controlled substance, they might charge the person with 5th-degree gross misdemeanor possession. 

What Are the Consequences of 5th Degree Drug Possession? 

The consequences for 5th-degree drug possession in Minnesota will depend on whether the charge was a felony or gross misdemeanor

Gross misdemeanor possession charges are punishable by up to one year in jail, a $3,000 fine, and forfeiture of property related to the crime, like cash obtained.

Felony 5th-degree drug possession charges are punishable by up to five years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000, or both. 

However, the consequences you face outside the justice system may be worse. You may experience difficulty adjusting to life after your conviction.

It could be difficult to find work or housing. You may also lose certain privileges, such as voting rights or the ability to lawfully possess a firearm.

Because the consequences of 5th-degree drug possession can be so severe, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. 

Being charged with drug possession can be a complex legal process. Fill out the free and confidential form below with some brief details of your charge so we can review the details of your drug charge.

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Choosing the Right Drug Offense Attorney

Your choice of attorney will be the single most crucial factor in defending your drug charges in Minnesota. Several defenses may be available.

The experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. will thoroughly investigate your case and work tirelessly to defend you.

Possible strategies for defense include the following:

Investigating Entrapment

Depending on the situation, entrapment may be a viable defense if officers tricked you into buying or selling drugs.

Analyzing the Chain of Evidence

We analyze the chain of evidence to assess whether the drugs were actually in your possession.

Examining Due Process 

We determine whether law enforcement complied with due process.

We ensure that the arresting officers did not violate your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable searches.

Assessing Legal Possession

If you had a legal prescription for the substance but were not able to present it at the time of your arrest, you may still be able to get the charges dropped later.

Our Case Results

Our drug defense attorneys have had a number of drug charges dropped or reduced after a thorough investigation into the police conduct that resulted in the discovery of the drugs.

Charges drop or reduce because of the unlawful search of a motor vehicle, insufficient probable cause to support a search warrant to search a home, unlawful seizures and pat searches of an individual, and unreliable informants providing information to police.

Felony Drug Charges Dismissed

Judge Dismisses Client’s Felony Drug Charges in Wright County

THE FACTS: Client was charged with Felony 5th Degree Possession of drugs in Wright County. The drugs were discovered in the client’s vehicle after the police searched his car following a routine traffic stop for expired tabs. The police officer did not have a warrant to search the client’s vehicle. The office asserted a right to search under what’s known as the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.

This exception allows police to search a vehicle without a warrant if police can provide probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found in a vehicle. In this case, the police officer attempted to base probable cause on seeing a plastic gun grip on the rear floor of the vehicle. The grip was unopened in its original packaging. The officer knew the client had a prior felony conviction which made it unlawful for the client to possess a gun. The officer attempted to assert that because there was a packaged gun grip in the car, that the client probably had a gun in the car too. The officer then searched the client’s vehicle and found a felony amount of a controlled substance.

THE DEFENSE: We filed a motion to suppress the drugs found in the car. We argued that simply seeing a gun grip in a vehicle does not amount to probable cause to believe there was also a gun in the vehicle. The state refused to dismiss and we held a contested evidentiary hearing in front of a Judge.

The officer attempted to testify to his reasons why he thought he could search the client’s vehicle without a warrant. The officer’s credibility did not stand up to attorney John Arechigo’s cross-examination.

THE RESULT: After testimony and argument, the Judge agreed with attorney John Arechigo’s view of the law and ruled that the officer lacked probable cause to search the client’s vehicle. The Judge suppressed the drugs found during the search and dismissed the charge against the client. We’re now pursuing a full expungement of the client’s records.

Contact the Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. Today

If you’ve been arrested on a 5th-degree drug charge in Minnesota, contact the experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A online or call 651-370-8578.

We offer free consultations and will aggressively defend your case.

Author Photo

John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.