If a jury convicts you of a drug crime, you can face a lengthy prison term and a hefty fine. Moreover, a North Dakota drug conviction can result in the loss of your:

  • Right to own a firearm,
  • Ability to rent an apartment
  • Entitlement to receive public services, and
  • Eligibility to work for the government.

Therefore, a North Dakota drug conviction has severe lifelong collateral consequences.

However, a North Dakota drug crime lawyer can help you avoid these harsh penalties by aggressively defending your rights.

The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has successfully represented many clients facing drug charges.

We are drug defense lawyers in Fargo who have a history of protecting our clients from the harsh penalties of a drug conviction. 

What Drugs Are Illegal in North Dakota?

Despite a wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the nation, it is still illegal to possess small amounts of marijuana in North Dakota.

Therefore, charges can range from possession of marijuana to sales of heroin and fentanyl. Also, punishments can range from a mere fine to 20 years in prison.

North Dakota prohibits the possession, manufacture, and sale of:

  • Heroin (and other opiates),
  • Fentanyl,
  • Crystal meth (methamphetamine),
  • Marijuana,
  • Peyote,
  • MDA (MDMA, PMA, ecstasy), and
  • Prescription opiates (Vicodin, oxy, oxycontin, Adderall, Ritalin).

This list is not comprehensive. A drug crime defense attorney can walk you through the complete list found in Chapter 19-03.1 of the North Dakota Statutes under controlled substance schedules I, II, III, IV, and V.

Is It Illegal to Use a Controlled Substance?

Yes. In North Dakota, it is a crime to intentionally take into the body (inhale, inject, ingest) a controlled substance without a prescription.

Ingestion of a controlled substance is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face 360 days in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Nevertheless, the statute has some caveats. For example, if you are over 21, it is not a crime to ingest marijuana in North Dakota.

However, if you are under 21, ingesting marijuana is a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor carries a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cass County Felony B Drug Charges Stand to be Dismissed

THE CASE: Felony Drug Charges Receive Deferred Imposition of Sentence, Avoid Prison

THE FACTS: Client was under investigation by state and federal authorities for several months. The Cass County Drug Task Force and the DEA had been conducting a joint drug investigation. Client’s travels were monitored via GPS location tracking search warrants, confidential informants, surveillance, and K9 dog sniffs. The investigation ultimately led to the client’s arrest in Fargo, North Dakota. Client was facing the prospect of serious federal drug charges. Through initial discussions, we were able to persuade federal and state authorities to bring state drug charges instead of federal charges. Client was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The charge was a Class B Felony and carried up to 10 years in prison.

THE DEFENSE: Our investigation revealed significant problems with the police investigation, starting with the initial GPS search warrants. The confidential informants relied on by the police to obtain the GPS search warrants lacked serious credibility. Our investigation also revealed that the task force agents had possibly not been entirely truthful with the Judge when they applied for the GPS search warrants. Vital information on the credibility of the confidential informants had been lift out of the warrant applications. We filed a series of motions that sought to suppress vehicle searches, the client’s statements, and the search of the hotel room in which the drugs were found. The state recognized the legitimacy of the defense motions and offered the client a deferred imposition of sentence a week before the suppression hearing. A deferred imposition of sentence offers an opportunity to have the charge dismissed after a brief probationary period. In addition, the state agreed that the client did not have to serve any jail time. The state had initially offered a 7 year prison sentence. Finally, the state agreed to return the client’s seized vehicle.

CASE RESULT: The prosecutor recognized the possibility that the Judge would have granted the defense’s suppression motions and dismissed the case. The client had a lot at stake. A deferred imposition of sentence provides the client with a great opportunity to have his case dismissed.

Possession of Controlled Substances

In North Dakota, it is illegal to possess controlled substances. First offense possession is a class A misdemeanor.

Thus, you can face 360 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. However, if convicted of a second or subsequent offense, the court can sentence you to the punishment of a class C felony.

A class C felony carries up to five years in state prison and a maximum fine of  $10,000.   

Nonetheless, the legislature did carve out an exception for weed. Possession of small amounts of marijuana is an infraction.

An infraction carries a maximum fine of $1,000. However, subsequent convictions can be sentenced as a class B misdemeanor.

Possession of one-half ounce to 500 grams of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500.

In comparison, possession of more than 500 grams of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor.

Distribution of Controlled Substances

In North Dakota, it is a crime to manufacture, deliver, or distribute controlled substances. It is also a crime to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

A distribution conviction can range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. A class B felony conviction carries up to ten years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.  

The difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge depends on the drug type and whether there are aggravating factors.

For example, if you employ a minor in a drug distribution scheme, the state can charge you with a class B felony. In contrast, the distribution of schedule V drugs is a class A misdemeanor.  

Check Out Our Blog For More Information

We want to provide you with the best information possible for your workers' compensation and criminal defense claims in Fargo, ND. Check out some of our related workers' compensation and criminal defense articles and then contact us for a free consultation.

Should You Hire a Drug Crime Defense Attorney?

An experienced drug crime lawyer can develop a strategy to defend you. For example, there are a couple of affirmative defenses you can lodge:

    • Entrapment—the state used unethical behavior to get you to commit a crime; and

    • Illegal search and seizure—the police conducted an illegal search.

Also, North Dakota law may grant you immunity if you try to help another person who overdosed.

Nevertheless, drug laws and avenues for defense are complex in North Dakota.

Therefore, it is essential to consult with a Fargo drug crimes attorney. A drug crime lawyer can evaluate your case and aggressively represent your interests.

At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we are experienced Fargo drug lawyers.

We have been representing criminal defendants for over 20 years and have won hundreds of cases. Our priority is to handle your case and aggressively fight for your freedom.

Call us today or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.