Within the state of Minnesota charges for drug crimes are some of the most frequent criminal charges in the courts. Minnesota also happens to have some of the country’s most harsh penalties for the use of “controlled substances.” Like many other jurisdictions, Minnesota controls substances based on their medical usefulness and the likelihood that they will create addiction or be abused.
There is a “schedule” of drugs that are controlled by the state ranging from one to five. The schedule one drugs are the most dangerous class of drugs meaning they have very little medical benefit and a high potential for abuse and addiction; drugs like opiates, heroin, and LSD. Schedule five drugs have a high medical benefit and low potential for misuse. The Minnesota statutes list the schedule of each drug and here are some useful facts about the penalties imposed for each:
First Degree Penalties
Engaging in any sale or production of a schedule one substance can result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 and/or 30 years behind bars. A repeat offender could find themselves with an additional 10-year prison sentence. Schedule one activities include: selling ten grams of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine; selling fifty grams of any other narcotic drug; selling fifty grams of an amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen; or, manufacturing any amount of methamphetamine.
Second Degree Penalties
Drugs on the second schedule can result in up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500,000. As with the first degree penalties a repeat offender might spend an additional 10 years in prison. Schedule two penalties can be imposed for selling drugs in a school, park, public housing facility, or drug treatment facility. They can also be imposed for conspiring with a minor to sell a scheduled drug.
Third Degree Penalties
These permit a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Repeat offenders will still find themselves facing a threat of additional ten years in prison. Conspiring with a minor to sell a schedule three drug, or a mixture of schedule one or two can also lead a defendant to face penalties under this schedule.
Fourth Degree Penalties
Sale and possession of schedule four drugs will result in a maximum of 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $100,000; trying it a second time could lead to an extra 15 years in prison. Conspiring to employ a minor for the sale of a schedule four substance, or mixture of the above substances will result in penalties under this schedule.
Fifth Degree Penalties
The fifth and final schedule of drugs impose penalties of up to $10,000 and/or five years in prison; subsequent convictions come with a threat of up to 10 years in prison.