If you are facing drug trafficking charges in Minnesota, you have several different possibly options for defense strategies depending on your specific situation.
The best way to know for sure which strategy is right based on the facts of your case is to speak with an experienced Minnesota drug crimes attorney. They will be able to ascertain your chances of a positive outcome with different defenses.
It starts with understanding how our state handles drug trafficking charges.
Drug Trafficking Charges in Minnesota
In Minnesota, you can face several different possible charges related to drug trafficking. You may face drug trafficking charges for manufacturing, possessing, distributing, transporting, cultivating, or selling illegal drugs.
Drug trafficking charges are based on the amount and type of drug. In general, the more dangerous and addictive a drug is, the lower the quantity needs to be to qualify for a trafficking charge as opposed to one for possession.
Most drug trafficking charges are felonies in Minnesota. A conviction will result in high fines and a prison term. If you are facing drug trafficking charges, it’s essential to get help from a skilled attorney with a track record of success in these types of cases.
Minnesota Drug Trafficking Defenses
These are some of the defenses your lawyer may use to fight your drug trafficking charges.
Lack of Possession
You may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you were linked to a group of drug traffickers but did not commit a crime, you may be able to use this defense. For example, you were at a party where others possessed drugs, but you possessed none yourself.
Violations of Search and Seizure Rights
The Fourth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution guards your rights to due process. This includes lawful procedures before police make an arrest.
For drug trafficking charges, illicit drugs must be in open view for charges to be filed. Your rights may be violated if an officer stops you without probable cause or opens your trunk without your permission. If the police failed to obtain a warrant before seizing drugs, you may be able to fight your charges.
Purity of Drugs
Every time drugs are seized as evidence, the crime lab analyzes them for purity. If the seized drugs do not match the description in the police report, the charges can be thrown out.
The drugs from the crime scene must match the drugs presented as evidence in court. Sometimes police departments mix up evidence. If the correct drugs don’t show up at your court appearances, they cannot be used against you as evidence.
Drugs Were Planted
In rare situations this defense may apply. The court will almost always take the side of the officer who presents testimony against you, but sometimes drugs are planted, and your attorney can raise enough questions about what really happened to sow doubts.
Duress or Coercion
This defense can apply if someone threatened serious bodily injury or death to you or a loved one unless you agreed to transport or possess illicit drugs.
If an officer or informant convinced you to transport or possess illicit drugs when you would not have otherwise done so, you may be able to use the entrapment defense.
You can use this defense if you were completely unaware that you had drugs in your possession. For example, if you transported someone else’s luggage but you did not know it contained illegal rugs, this defense may be used.
The Importance of Fighting Minnesota Drug Trafficking Charges
Drug trafficking charges can result in serious penalties under Minnesota and federal law. Even first offenders can expect to receive lengthy prison sentences with probation – especially if the crime is tried in federal court.
A conviction for a minor drug offense can have a negative impact on your quality of living. You may be prohibited from applying for certain jobs, which can lower your income level. You may be turned down for housing or loans. You may lose your right to bear arms, vote, and apply for certain licenses. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you could even face deportation.
To combat this, you need the strongest possible defense.
About the Author:
A former prosecutor and lifelong Minnesotan, Christian Peterson has handled hundreds of criminal cases from both sides of the aisle since he began practicing law in 2006, as well as a wide variety of family law matters. This background allows him to look at situations from all angles and anticipate which arguments the other side may use, increasing his clients’ chances of success. His work has been recognized by the American Society of Legal Advocates, the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, and National Trial Lawyers, and he has a perfect 10/10 rating from Avvo.