Subsequent Drug Crime Convictions in Minnesota

EDITOR’S NOTE: The law has changed since this post. Here is a link about the law change on this topic: https://www.northstarcriminaldefense.com/drug-crime-sentencing-new-laws-effective-today/

For possession or sale drug crimes, the penalties imposed depend on where the criminal act falls on the first through fifth degree spectrum. As detailed here, a first-degree offense is the most serious, while a fifth-degree offense is the least serious – though, it’s still a felony. The prison sentence imposed will depend on whether the defendant has any priors.

If a defendant has a prior drug crime conviction, the minimum and maximum prison sentence will be:

  • 1st Degree – 4 years minimum with a maximum of 40 years;
  • 2nd Degree – 3 and 40 years;
  • 3rd Degree – 2 and 30 years;
  • 4th Degree – 1 and 30 years; and
  • 5th Degree – 6 months and 10 years.

One thing to note is that for a minimum sentence of one-year or less (i.e. 4th and 5th degree offenses), the time to serve may be done at a local jail rather than a state penitentiary.

The statutory framework suggests that these minimum sentences are mandatory. But, based on our experience, that is not always the case. Being proactive as a defendant in seeking treatment or programming, along with effective negotiations, can lead to a result that can avoid a jail or prison term. If you find yourself facing in this position, you need experienced and aggressive Minnesota drug crime attorneys to fight for you.