Drug trafficking is generally known as the most serious drug offense that carries the stiffest penalties. Drug trafficking charges refer to the weight of the drugs either sold or possessed.
Although Minnesota’s drug law prohibits selling, possessing to distribute, or possession of narcotics, it does not reference a drug trafficking charge by name. But like other states and the federal government, Minnesota reserves the most severe punishments for drug crimes that involve a high weight of the narcotics.
If you or a loved one faces drug trafficking charges in Minnesota, then you need a tough, experienced, and highly skilled drug trafficking defense lawyer to represent you. A seasoned Minnesota drug trafficking attorney with decades of experience knows how to create a defense strategy that minimizes your chances of spending many years in prison.
What Is Drug Trafficking in Minnesota?
Minnesota categorizes its drug crimes by the weight of the narcotics. The state’s most serious drug crimes are first-degree controlled substance crimes. A person violates Minnesota’s first-degree controlled substance crime drug trafficking law by either selling more than a threshold quantity of drugs within 90 days or possessing more than a threshold amount of drugs. The various thresholds for first-degree drug crimes depend on the type of drug.
Trafficking By Selling Narcotics
Under this section, a person is guilty of a controlled substance crime in the first degree by selling on one or more occasions during the previous 90 days:
- 17 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine;
- 10 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm or two aggravating factors;
- 10 grams of more of heroin;
- 50 grams or more of another narcotic other than cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin;
- 50 grams or more, or 200 dosage units, of amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogenic drug; or
- 25 kilograms of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Minnesota law allows prosecutors to include mixtures of non-narcotics in the total amount of drugs.
Trafficking By Possession
A person could be convicted of a controlled substance crime in the first degree by possessing a specified quantity of certain drugs as well. A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the first degree by possessing:
- 50 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine;
- 25 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm or two aggravating factors;
- 25 grams or more of heroin;
- 500 grams of a drug other than cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, or
- 50 kilograms of marijuana or 500 marijuana plants.
As with selling narcotics, the total weight includes the drugs and any other substance mixed in.
How Much Jail Time for Drug Trafficking?
The severity of the drug trafficking charges determines the amount of prison time a person could serve. A controlled substance crime in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. The court could issue a fine of up to $1 million. However, the maximum penalty increases to 40 years if the accused has a previous controlled substance conviction. The law requires the person to receive at least four years in prison for a subsequent offense.
The penalties increase if the state proves trafficking in the presence of aggravating factors. A person convicted of selling more than 100 grams or possessing over 500 grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin must serve 65 months in prison. The minimum mandatory is 86 months if the crime involved a firearm or the presence of two aggravating factors.
People Facing Tough Drug Trafficking Penalties Need a Tough Lawyer
If you or a loved one is facing drug trafficking charges in Minnesota, we can help. The drug tracking defense lawyers with the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka will rely on their extensive trial experience to fight for you.
Call Arechigo & Stokka today at 651-222-6603 to defend your drug trafficking charges aggressively.
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.