How a Drug Attorney in Minnesota Can Help You

Being arrested for drug crimes in Minnesota can land you in a difficult spot.

If you’re convicted, you could face hefty fines, extensive prison time, and other penalties including forfeiture of vehicles, cash, or other personal property.

Plus, the lasting effect of a public drug crime conviction are consequences that could affect your life long after you’ve served your sentence.

The best way to avoid these implications is to mount a solid strategy to defend your interests, which starts with retaining a drug attorney in MN who focuses on these types of cases.

Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka have successfully helped a number of clients facing serious drug charges avoid severe penalties.

Drug Attorney in MN Handling Drug & Narcotic Charges in Minnesota and North Dakota

Were you recently caught and charged with a drug crime? Tell us about some of the brief details in the free and confidential form below.

Our drug crime lawyers have kept clients out of prison & have successfully fought to recover clients’ vehicles & cash. 

You should always remember how criminal cases work: you’re innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are defenses to drug charges.

We can explore legal options after reviewing the details of your case, so please contact our St. Paul, MN office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Minnesota drug attorney.

You can also read on for some important information about these criminal proceedings.

St. Paul, Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney; John Arechigo

John Arechigo was recognized by Minnesota Lawyer as the 2019 Attorney of the Year and has experience dealing with the following types of drug charges:

  • Cocaine possession charges
  • Crack Cocaine possession
  • Ecstasy charges
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Possession of Vicodin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Oxycodone
  • Valium

Felony Drug Charges Dismissed

Felony Drug Possession Charges Dismissed After Defense Demanded Identity of Confidential Informant and Moved to Suppress Evidence Found During Unlawful Search Warrant

THE FACTS: Client was charged in felony drug possession in Cass County, North Dakota. Attorney John Arechigo represents a select number of clients in North Dakota. This particular client lived in Fargo, North Dakota and was facing felony drug charges in Clay County (Moorhead), Minnesoa and Cass County (Fargo), North Dakota. Client’s charges stemmed from information purportedly provided to law enforcement by a confidential informant. The informant had recently been arrested on separate drug charges. Fargo police obtained a search warrant for client’s residence based on information provided by the informant.

THE DEFENSE: Defense lawyer John Arechigo demanded the state produce the identity of the informant. The state refused. The state typically refuses to provide the identity of an informant because most informants have questionable backgrounds or motivation for providing information. They’re typically looking out for themselves or are trying to gain a reduction on their own sentence. The state knows it will likely make their case weaker if they turn over the identity of the informant because a skilled defense lawyer will be able to exploit the credibility of the informant. That was the case here, the state refused to disclose the identity of the informant. Attorney John Arechigo filed a motion to compel disclosure. The Judge granted the motion and ordered the state to turn over the informant’s identity. The defense also filed several motions to suppress the evidence found, challenging the search warrant on several constitutional grounds. The state dismissed all charges two days before the suppression hearing.

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

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Types of Drug Crimes

To understand how drug offenses work in Minnesota, you should realize the forms of conduct that are prohibited by drug laws. Under the statute on drugs and controlled substances, there are three types of acts that could lead to an arrest, including:

  1. Possession: This offense refers to having a controlled substance on your person, or otherwise within your control. Possession could be through a pocket, on your person, in parts of your vehicle, and in your home. In addition, you could be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, including pipes, baggies, bongs, vape pens, and other items used to consume controlled substances.
  2. Manufacturing: Any action related to producing controlled substances is prohibited. This may include manufacturing, growing plants, storage, weighing, packaging, and any other conduct that relates to the manufacturing process.
  3. Trafficking: This type of drug offense pertains to business transactions surrounding the transfer of controlled substances to other individuals. Buying, selling, transporting, and related acts are prohibited, regardless of whether you were exchange money or some other item of value.

From these descriptions, you can see that all three forms of drug crimes are defined very broadly under Minnesota law. Plus, there may be some overlap among them, potentially leading to more serious charges or multiple counts. Due to these complications, having skilled legal representation is critical to defending the charges.

Different Degrees of Drug Charges in Minnesota

 Beyond the forms of conduct that’s prohibited by state law, there are also different degrees of offenses. The severity of the charges depends upon the type of drug and the amount. Minnesota uses a schedule of controlled substances, separating different drugs into five categories according to their accepted medical usage, risk of leading to addiction, and other factors. In general, the degree of the crime is a product of:

  • Its listing on the Schedule of Controlled Substances ranging from I to V, with I as the most dangerous;
  • The amount of the drug, by weight; and,
  • What you were doing with the controlled substance, i.e., possessing, manufacturing, or trafficking.

Specifically, the five degrees of drug charges in Minnesota are:

Fifth Degree: Though it’s the least serious offense, you could still face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted for Fifth Degree drug crimes. This category includes possession of any amount of drugs on Schedule I through IV.

Fourth Degree: A conviction for this offense classification could include incarceration up to 15 years, plus a maximum fine of $100,000. Sales and possession with intent to sell both fall in this category.

Third Degree: The penalties increase to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for an offense in the Third Degree. These crimes typically involve higher amounts of Schedule I and II drugs.

Second Degree: If convicted, you face up to 25 years incarceration and a $500,000 fine. Many of these offenses are based upon where the sales transaction took places, such as a school, park, or public housing zone.

First Degree: You could be charged with this highest degree of criminal drug activity for larger amounts of the most dangerous drugs. For a conviction, a judge may sentence up to 30 years in prison, plus a $1 million fine.

Do’s and Don’ts After an Arrest for Drug Crimes in Minnesota

In the chaos of an arrest, you’ll have many questions about what to do and not do to protect yourself. The first task is to retain an attorney for drug charges, so request to speak with your lawyer right away. In addition, a few tips in the immediate aftermath of an arrest include:

Do Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: It’s critical that you avoid making any statements to arresting officers, even if you just want to express your innocence. Anything you say could harm your case, so exercise this very-important constitutional right.

Don’t Resist or Fight Police: Never try to avoid an arrest by interfering with officers’ efforts. Save this fight for later, in court, with your attorney. You could face additional charges if you resist or cause bodily harm.

Do Refuse a Search of Your Home: If the police arrive at your home or business to charge you, step outside the door and allow them to make the arrest. Never consent to a warrantless search, which could turn up additional evidence against you.

Don’t Fall for Police Interrogation Tactics: Police may use tricks to get you to talk, perhaps by promising leniency, playing “good cop-bad cop,” or other tactics.  It’s also common for narcotics investigators to promise your case will go away if you simply cooperate and either “give up your sources” or participate in a controlled by.  Please know the police are not on your side.  They’re simply looking to make another arrest.  Remember your right to remain silent and don’t be fooled by these efforts.

Discuss Defense Options with a Skilled Drug Attorney in MN

If you were arrested for any type of drug crime, the key to obtaining a favorable outcome is retaining a criminal defense attorney for drug charges. To learn more about your options to fight the allegations, please contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. at 651-222-6603 or via our website.

We can set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in St. Paul, MN or Fargo, ND.

Our MN drug lawyers tackle tough criminal cases throughout Minnesota and North Dakota, including those involving serious drug offenses.