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What is 5th Degree Drug Possession in MN?

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.

Felony Drug Possession

Felony Drug Possession Charges Dismissed For Unlawful Police Entry of Home

THE FACTS: Client was charged with felony drug possession for drugs found during a search of his home. Police responded to a report of an injured female in the front yard of the residence. A bystander was with the female and had called the police. The caller did not provide any information concerning any activity at the residence.

Responding officers recognized the female and knew her boyfriend was the client. The officers also knew the client had a prior history of drug charges and lived at the nearby residence. Officers walked up to the front door of the residence and found the door unlocked. The officers did not bother asking for any permission to enter the home. Instead, the officers opened the front door and entered the residence and proceeded to walk throughout the residence. A number of controlled substances were located in various areas of the residence. Ther officers did not have a search warrant.

THE DEFENSE: Defense lawyer John Arechigo filed motions to suppress the drugs arguing the officers’ entry into the residence was unlawful and violated client’s 4th Amendment constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches. The law requires officers to have a search warrant to enter a residence, or, if they don’t have a warrant, they must have a valid exception like consent to search or objective reason to believe an emergency exists that requires an immediate search without a warrant.

The court agreed with defense arguments that there was no such emergency in this case. The officers’ conduct and conversations were captured on their body cameras. The officers’ comments indicated they knew the residence had nothing to do with the reason for the police call, and that they had a hunch that they would find drugs inside the reason. The judge agreed this was not a valid reason to enter and search the home without a search warrant.

THE RESULT: Client’s felony drug charges were dismissed.

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 for 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. 

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.

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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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.

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

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.

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.

Our criminal defense lawyers have also kept clients convicted of serious 1st-degree drug crimes out of prison after successful downward dispositional arguments.

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.