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What are the penalties for drug possession in Minnesota?

If you're accused of possessing drugs in Minnesota, you could face many different penalties. If you're further accused of selling or transporting drugs, you can face far more serious penalties.

Depending on the kind of drug you have in your possession, you can face as little as no time in prison to a lifetime in prison. For example, on a first offense for the possession of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana, you can face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If instead you have over 50 grams of cocaine in your possession, you face up to 30 years in prison and up to a million dollars in fines for each count you're found guilty of.

Selling any amount of marijuana can land you in prison for up to five years, but if you gave away a small amount for no payment, the same penalties may not apply. This is why it's key to have a strong defense as soon as you're accused of a crime. Certain limits apply to drug cases, and if you don't possess enough to meet the standard, the court may not penalize you in the same manner as someone legitimately attempting to sell or possess large quantities of illicit drugs.

Remember, the prosecution must prove that you were in possession of the drugs and that you intended to sell them to obtain a conviction for sales or distribution. Simple possession does not have the same penalties, which is why you should fight to have any charges against you lowered to possession if they will not be dropped.

Source: Minnesota State University, "Controlled Substances Crimes & Penalties," accessed July 11, 2017

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