Fifth Degree Drug Possession and Sale Charges in Minnesota
Minnesota has five different severity degrees of drug crimes. A fifth-degree controlled substance charge in Minnesota is based on the type and amount of drug involved. It is the least serious level and possession can be charged as a gross misdemeanor or felony while it is always a felony for sale or intent to sell.
A fifth-degree controlled substance charge occurs if you possess or sell any amount of marijuana—except for a small amount you have no intention of selling—or any Schedule IV drug. Schedule IV drugs are those with a relatively low potentials for abuse and dependence. These include Valium, Xanax, Ambien, Tramadol, Ativan, and Darvocet, for example.
Regardless of the level, penalties for all Minnesota drug charges are steep. Because of the complexity in drug laws, an experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota drug crime attorney can help you navigate these complicated waters.
What is 5th Degree Sale of Drugs in Minnesota?
With respect to drug laws, “sell” means something different under the law than the common understanding. Pursuant to Minnesota law, to “sell” a controlled substance means:
- “To sell, give away, barter, deliver, exchange, distribute or dispose of to another, or to manufacture; or
- To offer or agree to perform an act listed in clause (1); or
- To possess with intent to perform an act listed in clause (1).”
Thus, “sell” has a much broader definition that includes actions that wouldn’t ordinarily be included in a non-legal context such as exchanging goods or services—oftentimes sex—for drugs.
If convicted of felony fifth-degree drug sales in Minnesota, you face up to five (5) years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. You may also face court-ordered drug treatment, probation, community service, and seizure and forfeiture of any cash or property used during or obtained as a result of the crime.
What is 5th Degree Possession of Drugs in Minnesota?
Possession under the law can be actual possession wherein you have physical control of the substance regardless of whether it belongs to you or constructive possession wherein you have actual control of the substance without having physical control.
In order for a prosecutor to obtain a successful conviction, s/he must prove that you possessed the drugs in question consciously, either physically or constructively, and had actual knowledge or belief that the item was an illegal drug or otherwise prohibited substance. It is not necessary that you know what the substance is, just that it is illegal.
In order to be charged with fifth-degree drug sales as a gross misdemeanor, this must be your first drug-related offense and you must be in possession of:
- 42.5 or more grams of marijuana
- Less than .25 grams of cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, or similar substance
- Less than .05 grams of heroin or other opioid
Higher quantities of these drugs will result in your being charged with a felony.
If convicted of a fifth-degree felony drug crime—whether sales or possession—you face up to five (5) years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. If you are convicted of a fifth-degree gross misdemeanor drug crime, you may face up to one year in jail and/or up to a maximum $10,000 fine.