Being convicted of a drug crime in Minnesota can have serious and far-reaching implications. Whereas most people are aware of criminal punishment to include incarceration, fines, probation, community service, and mandatory drug counseling, for example, there are many more civil and financial penalties which arise from a drug crime conviction.
From the criminal punishment side, Minnesota drug crimes are criminally punishable with sentences ranging from 30 days to as many as 30 years’ incarceration and fines ranging from $10,000 to $1 million.
Generally, first-time offenders who plead guilty to a lower degree of drug crime may be able to evade incarceration in lieu of supervised probation and drug treatment. However, too many people make the difficult decision to plead guilty without understanding all of the potential consequences they may face.
As far as other potential consequences, there are many.
If you are arrested for a drug crime in Minnesota and cannot post bail, you may be in danger of losing your job. Additionally, if you are required to serve jail time, then you will likely have a gap in your employment history which can complicate or completely hinder your efforts to secure a new job. If you are convicted of a drug crime, your current and potential employer will likely see your conviction during a background check.
Further, a drug conviction may result in the suspension or cancellation of a professional license which could hinder your ability to continue at your current position or obtain a new on in the near future.
Trouble renting a home
Virtually all landlords and property management companies conduct background checks of potential tenants. If you have a drug offense conviction, your potential landlord may worry about your ability to pay rent in a timely manner, and you may lose the opportunity.
Child custody issues
If you are convicted of a drug crime and have children, many potential issues may arise. Typically, social services will investigate to determine if minor children are adequately taken care of. A drug conviction may prevent you from having visits with your children if you and your former partner are no longer together. In the worst-case scenario, you may even lose custody of your children completely.
Permanent residents, green card holders, and undocumented immigrants may face deportation for drug crime convictions. If the offense results in a felony drug conviction, automatic deportation may ensue.
If a vehicle was used in the commission of the crime (e.g. trafficking), then you may lose your driver’s license and have your vehicle impounded and/or forfeited. You may also be subjected to civil forfeiture of other assets used during the commission of the crime even your home if you, for example, stored or conducted illicit drug transactions there.
If an individual is convicted of—or pleads guilty to—a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor drug offense, he or she will lose their right to possess a firearm for three years from the date of conviction. If an individual is convicted of—or pleads guilty to—a felony drug crime, they will lose their right to possess a firearm for life. However, if you were convicted of a felony, you may petition the court to restore your rights should you demonstrate “good cause.”
Jury and voting rights
Another potential and far-reaching penalty is the loss of the rights to serve on a jury or vote. However, once you complete every aspect of your sentence—including probation or parole—then your rights are restored.
Travel restrictions or bans
One of the conditions of your probation will likely be restriction to travel to other states and/or countries. Even after you have completed your probationary period, some countries—such as Canada—may still refuse you entry.
Other potential consequences from a drug conviction
- Disqualification from acting as a foster parent or adopting a child
- Reputation damage as court records are public records and searchable by the general public
- Loss of eligibility for student or other government loans, even if the drug offense was a misdemeanor
- Being barred from doing volunteer work to include volunteering for your child’s school events
- Mandatory minimum sentencing enhancements for future offenses