Drug Possession Charges in Minnesota

In the State of Minnesota, there are five severity levels for drug crimes with first degree drug charges being the most severe and fifth degree charges being less severe. The most severe level of drug crimes have a max penalty of thirty years incarceration and a $1,000,000 fine. Second Degree Drug Possession could have potential of up to twenty-five years incarceration and up to $500,000 fine.

Federal Drug Classifications

Receiving a drug possession charge can have Federal and State consequences depending on the circumstances of your case. Federal law classifies drugs into 5 schedules based on their potential for abuse or dependency. A schedule 1 drug has the most potential for abuse or dependency and schedule 5 with the least potential. Schedule 1 is defined as chemicals that generally don’t have any medically accepted purpose and have the possibility for abuse. Some of the common examples are heroin and LSD. Schedule 2 drugs are similarly defined and can also lead to abuse. Some examples are cocaine, methamphetamines and fentanyl.


In the state of Minnesota, the state has to prove that you actually and constructively possessed a scheduled drug for charges to stick. Actual possession of a scheduled drug generally means that it is found on your person, for example, in the pocket of your clothes. This charge is a more difficult to defend, and a good legal strategy is necessary.

Constructive possession generally means that a drug is in a person’s area of access but that the scheduled drug was not found on the person themselves. Common examples of constructive possession are when drugs are found in someone’s vehicle or residence. Another factor considered is if other people had access, or if the charged person had exclusive control of the area in which the drug was found. Case law has stated that in order to prove constructive possession, the state has to show an illegal substance is under the person’s exclusive control to which other people normally do not have access, or that, if police found it in a place to which others had access, there was a strong probability that the person was at the time consciously exercising dominion and control. Many different scenarios could arise when the state attempts to prove constructive possession.

The key terms here are consciously exercising dominion and control. Defense of a constructive possession case often takes a close look at whether dominion and control actually existed, or if it’s possible someone else may have had access as well. A person can also argue that the drugs were simply not theirs, although, this is a less viable defense and more difficult to prove.

When dealing with charges of possession, you need a good legal strategy. Obtaining a great legal defense can affect the outcome of your case. Contact the Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office to defend those charges and service your legal needs.

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