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Minnesota Drug Defense Lawyer

Drug crimes are some of the most common offenses in the State of Minnesota. They range from possessing a small amount of marijuana to trafficking in large quantities of narcotics. When you have been charged with a drug crime, it is imperative to have an experienced defense lawyer in your corner.

Carson J. Heefner has represented a wide range of clients, both in state and federal court, who have been charged with drug offenses. With over 20 years of experience, and the proper skill and knowledge, Carson can be a powerful advocate for you. He will thoroughly investigate your case, build a strong defense, and will not be intimidated by any prosecutor or judge.

Trustworthy And Straightforward Advice

Often, drug charges are the result of a traffic stop for a simple moving violation. If an officer smells the odor of marijuana, observe paraphernalia or drugs in “plain view” inside a vehicle during a stop, or notices furtive movements from anyone inside the vehicle, law enforcement will most likely conduct a search.  What about a search warrant you may ask?  Under established Fourth Amendment law, a warrant is generally not required to search an automobile. Therefore, if evidence is found as a result of a warrantless search, a conviction seems inevitable.  However, an experienced defense lawyer will investigate your case, and determined whether the officer had probable cause to conduct the search.  Carson has vast experience in challenging these searches.

Sometimes, investigations are the result of a tip obtained from a citizen, or from someone who has been arrested and agrees to provide information in exchange for leniency. Based on an investigation, law enforcement will apply for a search warrant.  If a judge signs a warrant, then law enforcement has the legal authority to conduct a search.  If evidence of a crime is uncovered during the search, criminal charges will be filed.  An experienced defense lawyer will investigate your case, and determined whether the Affidavit in support of the search warrant contained the requisite statement of probable cause.  Just because a judge signs a search warrant does not mean that the requisite probable cause has been established

As an experienced Minnesota defense lawyer, Carson will painstakingly review the search warrant and accompanying Affidavit to determine whether law enforcement had that probable cause.  In addition, Carson can determine whether the officers who conducted the search exceeded the scope of the warrant.  Under either scenario, evidence can be suppressed and charges dismisses.

Minnesota Drug Charge/Penalties

Under Minnesota law, drug offenses range from Petty Misdemeanors to Felonies.  The determining factors are:  1) the type of drug; 2) the amount of the drug; 3) whether it is a sale or possession allegation, and; 4) prior drug convictions.  Minnesota has 5 different levels, or degrees, of controlled substance charges:

First Degree

This offense is a Felony.  Whether a possession or sale charge, the maximum penalty is 40 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.  The mandatory minimum sentence that  must be imposed under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines is 86 months for manufacturing of methamphetamine, and 65 months for any other First Degree conviction.

This offense is charged under the following circumstances:

  • Sale – If you sell 17 grams or more of methamphetamine or cocaine, 10 grams or more of heroine, or 25 kilograms or more of marijuana.
  • Possession – If you posses 50 grams or more of methamphetamine or cocaine, 25 grams or more of heroine, or 50 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Second Degree

This offense is a Felony.  Whether a possession or sale charge, the maximum penalty is 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed is a stayed 48 month prison term.

This offense is charged under the following circumstances

  • Sale – If you sell 10 grams or more of methamphetamine or cocaine, 3 grams or more of heroine, or 10 kilograms of marijuana.
  • Possession – If you possess 25 grams or more of methamphetamine or cocaine, 6 grams or more of heroine, or 25 kilograms of marijuana

Third Degree

This offense is a Felony.  Whether a possession or sale charge, the maximum punishment is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed is a stayed 21 month prison term.

This offense is charged under the following circumstances:

  • Sale – If you sell 1 gram or more of any narcotic drug, or 5 kilograms of marijuana.
  • Possession – If you posses 10 grams or more of a narcotic other than heroine, 3 grams or more of heroine, or 10 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Fourth Degree

This offense is a Felony.  Whether a possession or sale charge, the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison or a $100,000 fine.  The mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed is a stayed 12 month prison term.

This offense is charged under the following circumstances:

  • Sale – If you sell 1 or more mixture of a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance, or one or more mixture of a Schedule IV or V controlled substance to person under the age of 18.
  • Possession –  If you posses 1 or mixture of a hallucinogen, or one or more mixtures of a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance with the intent to sell.

Fifth Degree

This offense can be either a Felony or a Gross Misdemeanor. If it is a sale charge, it is a Felony, and the maximum punishment is 5 years in prion and a $10,000 fine. If it is a possession charge, it is a Felony if you possess .25 grams or more of a drug other than heroin, or less than .05 grams of heroin.  All other Fifth Degree possession charges are Gross Misdemeanors, with a maximum punishment of 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine

Contact A Minnesota Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Carson J. Heefner has over 20 years experience representing individuals charged with drug sale and possession crimes.  If you or anyone you know has been charged with a drug offense, contact Carson at 612-202-8971 or carson@heefnerlaw.com for a free consultation.