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Minneapolis Criminal Defense Blog

Marijuana possession and sale penalties in Minnesota

In Minnesota, much like other jurisdictions in the United States, the possession or sale of marijuana is illegal. The penalties associated with the crime vary depending on how much of the Schedule I drug that you're found in possession of at the time of your arrest.

Individuals who are found in possession of 42.5 grams (g) or less of the drug will generally be charged with a misdemeanor. This also includes if they had 42.5 g or less and planned on selling it. They generally won't face any potential jail time but will have to pay a mandatory $200 fine.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony?

As is the case in many other states, crimes in Minnesota are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Each one of these has different offense classes that fall under its umbrella. The penalties associated with each crime increase the more serious a defendant's charges are.

Misdemeanors

Prescription drug abuse is a crime with serious consequences

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently published its National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data shows that 36 million Americans, age 12 and up, have abused prescription drugs at least once in life. At least 6.9 million first-time improper uses are made by those between the age of 18 to 25. Teens age 12 to 17 have the second-highest abuse rate at 2.7 million.

At least 10 percent of all American high school seniors have abused some type of narcotic during their lifetime. "Monitoring the Future Survey" researchers at the University of Michigan uncovered that barbiturates, tranquilizers and stimulants were most apt to be abused.

How does Minnesota handle crimes committed by teenagers?

Getting arrested is a frightening experience for anyone, but particularly for teenagers and young adults. It is common for parents whose children face legal issues to want to protect them from the consequences of a mistake. Teenagers are often driven to make questionable decisions as a result of their frontal lobe still developing and social pressure from their peers.

Teenagers can make mistakes involving drugs, alcohol, dangerous driving or even shoplifting. They may not really think about the consequences of their actions until they have already made a major mistake and find themselves facing legal consequences or getting arrested. Unfortunately, that can mean that young adults wind up paying a steep price for a long time.

What are the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction?

When defendants are facing charges, those who work in the legal system often advise them of the immediate penalties that they face. These include fines, prison time, restitution and supervised release. They don't tell them about all the "collateral consequences" associated with being convicted of a crime.

These may affect their ability to qualify for housing, certain professional licenses, welfare, employment or property rights. Their ability to adopt or move about freely and their immigration status cna be impacted as well. Individuals who have been convicted of a crime may find it difficult to readjust to being back in society and thus be more prone to recidivism.

A suspect takes a gun into a Minneapolis police interrogation

A 28-year-old Minneapolis man is facing weapons and other charges after he was discovered in possession of a gun in an interrogation room at the Minneapolis Police Department's First Precinct.

In their criminal complaint filed in the Hennepin County District Court, prosecutors outlined how the precinct's community response team attempted to make contact with the defendant on April 10. They wanted to question him after allegedly catching him selling drugs at the intersection of South Hennepin Avenue and North 5th Street. The filing outlines how he took off running toward his North Linden Avenue home as they got closer to him though.

How are assault charges different from charges for battery?

The terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably on television shows and by individuals to describe those who either threaten to or actually inflict physical harm on another person. To law enforcement and prosecutors in some states, though, they're two distinct criminal offenses.

Put quite simply, an individual may be charged with assault if they threaten or attempt to injure someone else. If they actually make contact with them in either an offensive or harmful way, then they may be charged with battery.

Don't get caught 'doctor shopping'

You absolutely have the right to seek a second -- or even third -- medical opinion when you don't think you're getting good medical care. You also have the right to change doctors simply because you don't like the doctor you have.

You cannot, however, go "doctor shopping." Doctor shopping is generally defined as going to multiple health care professionals and obtaining prescriptions for narcotics and other controlled substances without each doctor's full knowledge of who else you have seen and what prescriptions you already have.

Mail fraud is defined pretty broadly by federal officials

Of all the different federal offenses that someone can be charged with, mail fraud is perhaps the most common one.

There are two different types of actions that may result in you being charged with this crime.

Pros and cons of plea bargaining

You were arrested, bonded out and now face going to trial on criminal charges. At some point in the court proceedings, you may be approached by your criminal defense attorney to "cop a plea." Is it in your best interests to do so?

It might be, but that is never a given, and it all depends on the charges you face and the strength of the prosecution's case against you. Let's look at the arguments for and against accepting a plea bargain.

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