What is a Controlled Substance?

The Minnesota legislature enacted over sixty-pages (60) of laws criminalizing the use, sale, and possession of controlled substances. These laws are available to anybody to read here. There are five types of controlled substances crimes in Minnesota:

  • Controlled Substance Crime in the First Degree

    According to Minnesota Statute §152.021, there are three acts that constitute controlled substance crime in the first degree—sale, possession, and methamphetamine manufacturing. These acts are not mutually exclusive, and the State need only prove one or the other for a conviction of controlled substance crime in the first degree. A person commits controlled substance crime in the first degree (sale) when s/he:

    1. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    2. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    3. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance dosage units; or

    4. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols, or one or more mixtures of a total weight of 25 kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the first degree (possession) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 25 grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    2. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 500 grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    3. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 500 grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling 500 or more dosage units; or

    4. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of 100 kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the first degree (methamphetamine manufacturing) when s/he:

    1. Manufactures any amount of methamphetamine.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the first degree is imprisonment for thirty (30) years, a $1,000,000 fine, or both. However, a person may serve up to forty (40) years in prison if s/he was previously convicted of controlled substance crime.

  • Controlled Substance Crime in the Second Degree

    According to Minnesota Statute §152.022, there are two acts that constitute controlled substance crime in the second degree—sale and possession. These acts are not mutually exclusive, and the State need only prove one or the other for a conviction of controlled substance crime in the second degree. A person commits controlled substance crime in the second degree (sale) when s/he:

    1. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of three (3) grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    2. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    3. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling fifty (50) or more dosage units;

    4. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling fifty (50) or more dosage units;

    5. Unlawfully sells any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug to a person under the age of 18, or conspires with or employs a person under the age of 18 to unlawfully sell the substance; or

    6. Unlawfully sells any of the following in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility:

    a. Any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, lysergic acid

    b. One or more mixtures containing methamphetamine or

    c. One or more mixtures of a total weight of five kilograms or more diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxy amphetamine, or 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine; amphetamine; or containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the second degree (possession) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of six (6) grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    2. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    3. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling 100 or more dosage units; or

    4. the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of fifty (50) kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the second degree is imprisonment for 25 years, a $500,000 fine, or both. However, a person may serve up to forty (40) years in prison if s/he was previously convicted of controlled substance crime.

  • Controlled Substance Crime in the Third Degree

    According to Minnesota Statute §152.023, there are two acts that constitute controlled substance crime in the third degree—sale and possession. These acts are not mutually exclusive, and the State need only prove one or the other for a conviction of controlled substance crime in the third degree. A person commits controlled substance crime in the third degree (sale) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug;

    2. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing phencyclidine or hallucinogen, it is packaged in dosage units, and equals ten or more dosage units;

    3. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, except a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, to a person under the age of 18;

    4. Conspires with or employs a person under the age of 18 to unlawfully sell one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance listed in Schedule I, II, or III, except a Schedule I or II narcotic drug; or

    5. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of five (5) kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the third degree (possession) when s/he:

    1. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of three (3) grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    2. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;

    3. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug, it is packaged in dosage units, and equals fifty (50) or more dosage units;

    4. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully possesses any amount of a schedule I or II narcotic drug or five (5) or more dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4- methylenedioxy amphetamine, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility;

    5. On one or more occasions within a ninety-day (90) period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten (10) kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols; or

    6. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing methamphetamine or amphetamine in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the third degree is imprisonment for twenty (20) years, a $250,000 fine, or both. However, a person may serve up to thirty (30) years in prison if s/he was previously convicted of controlled substance crime.

  • Controlled Substance Crime in the Fourth Degree

    According to Minnesota Statute §152.024, there are two acts that constitute controlled substance crime in the fourth degree—sale and possession. These acts are not mutually exclusive, and the State need only prove one or the other for a conviction of controlled substance crime in the fourth degree. A person commits controlled substance crime in the fourth degree (sale) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, except marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols;

    2. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule IV or V to a person under the age of 18;

    3. Conspires with or employs a person under the age of 18 to unlawfully sell a controlled substance classified in Schedule IV or V; or

    4. Unlawfully sells any amount of marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility, except a small amount for no remuneration.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the fourth degree (possession) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing phencyclidine or hallucinogen, it is packaged in dosage units, and equals ten (10) or more dosage units; or

    2. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, except marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols, with the intent to sell it.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the fourth degree is imprisonment for fifteen (15) years, a $100,000 fine, or both. However, a person may serve up to thirty (30) years in prison if s/he was previously convicted of controlled substance crime.

  • Controlled Substance Crime in the Fifth Degree

    According to Minnesota Statute §152.025, there are two acts that constitute controlled substance crime in the fifth degree—sale and possession. These acts are not mutually exclusive, and the State need only prove one or the other for a conviction of controlled substance crime in the fifth degree. A person commits controlled substance crime in the fifth degree (sale) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols, except a small amount of marijuana for no remuneration; or

    2. Unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing controlled substance classified in Schedule IV.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the fifth degree (sale) is imprisonment for five (5) years, a $10,000 fine, or both. However, if the person was previously convicted of controlled substance crime, then s/he may serve up to ten (10) years in prison, but no less than six (6) months in jail and pay a $20,000 fine, or both.

    A person commits controlled substance crime in the fourth degree (possession) when s/he:

    1. Unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, III, or IV, except a small amount of marijuana; or

    2. Procures, attempts to procure, possesses, or has control over a controlled substance by any of the following means:

    a. Fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge;

    b. Using a false name or giving false credit; or

    c. Falsely assuming the title of, or falsely representing any person to be, a manufacturer, wholesaler, pharmacist, physician, doctor of osteopathy licensed to practice medicine, dentist, podiatrist, veterinarian, or other authorized person for the purpose of obtaining a controlled substance.

    The maximum possible sentence for controlled substance crime in the fifth degree (possession) is imprisonment for five (5) years, a $10,000 fine, or both. However, if the person was previously convicted of controlled substance crime, then s/he may serve up to ten (10) years in prison, but no less than six (6) months in jail and pay a $20,000 fine, or both.

  • Defenses

    Minnesota’s controlled substance crimes are thorough. Being convicted of a controlled substance crime can land you behind bars decades. This is all the more reason to hire a Minnesota criminal lawyer who aggressively fights for your rights and asserts every defense possible. For example, one of the best ways to fight a controlled substance crime is to dispute possession. In most cases, law enforcement seizes the controlled substance while the person is carrying it or inside the person’s property. Fighting the legality of this search and seizure is crucial in almost all controlled substance crimes. Without a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer, you could face days, months, or even decades behind bars. When you’re charged with a controlled substance crime, don’t take a risk with your defense. Hire the right defense attorney who understands the system and isn’t afraid to fight for your rights.

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