A Strong Defense Can Make All The Difference

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A Strong Defense Can Make All The Difference

Minnesota’s Drug Sentencing Reform Law in Effect

Minnesota’s new drug sentencing reforms have been in effect since August 1st of this year. The reform was aimed to target and provide a harsh penalty to “king pin” drug dealers, while acknowledging that many charged with a controlled substance crime are non-violent offenders struggling with addiction. The new laws recognize that many charged are better served by participating in treatment and do not deserve to have their record permanently stained with a felony conviction.

The new laws apply to anyone who was charged with a drug crime that was committed on or after August 1, 2016. If the offense was committed before August 1, 2016, the old drug laws will control. Click HERE for a copy of the bill.

Here are a few Highlights from the New Drug Laws:

  • Prior Dug Convictions LIMITED to 1stand 2nd Degree Convictions:

Whereas the old law included all levels of prior convictions to enhance new charges (5th Degree through 1st Degree), the new law only uses prior 1st and 2nd Degree Controlled Substance Offenses to enhance a current conviction. (Minn. Stat. § 152.01, subd. 16a)

  • Mandatory Sentences ONLY apply to 1stand 2nd Degree Offenses:  Mandatory minimum sentences would no longer apply to 5th, 4th, or 3rd degree offenses. ( Stat 152.026)
  • Sale and Possession Threshold Weights INCREASED for Cocaine and Methamphetamine:

1st Degree:  Sale: from 10 grams to 17 grams; Possession: from 25 grams to 50 grams  (Minn. Stat. § 152.021)       

2nd Degree:  Sale: from 3grams to 10 grams; Possession: from 6 grams to 25 grams  (Minn. Stat. § 152.022)

3rd Degree:  Possession: from 3 grams to 10 grams (Minn. Stat. § 152.023)

  • New 1stand 2nd Degree MARIJUANA CRIMES:

1st Degree: 500 Plants (Minn. Stat. § 152.021, subd. 2(6))

2nd Degree: 100 Plants (Minn. Stat. § 152.022, subd. 2(6))

  • Threshold Weights LOWERED for 1stand 2nd Degree MARIJUANA CRIMES:

1st Degree:  Sale: from 50 kilograms to 25 kilograms; Possession: from 100 kilograms to 50 kilograms (Minn. Stat. § 152.021)

2nd Degree:  Sale: from 25 kilograms to 10 kilograms; Possession: from 50 kilograms to 25 kilograms (Minn. Stat. § 152.022)

  • Felony Offense now GROSS MISDEAMNOR for 1stTime Offenders:

First time offenders receive gross misdemeanor if: 1) Amount of the controlled substance (other than heroin) is less than 0.25 grams or one dosage unit; or 2) Amount of the heroin possessed is less than 0.05 grams  (Minn. Stat. § 152.025, subd. 3)

  • EARLYConditional Release for Certain Non-Violent Offenders Already Serving Their Sentence( Stat. 244.0513, subd. 2)

Call Johnson Criminal Defense today if you have been charged with a drug crime. An experienced defense attorney can help navigate the new laws and the criminal justice system and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.