A brief overview of the five different degrees of drug crimes

Posted by Eric Olson | Mar 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Like DUI, drug crimes in the state of Minnesota are prosecuted based on varying degrees of severity. If you are facing drug related charges, understanding the different degrees of drug crimes is important so you understand the corresponding consequences if you are charged with each of these crimes.

Today we're going to look at all five degrees of drug crimes, what has to be done to draw a charge and what consequences an individual will face if they are convicted. Individuals can face charges for possession and/or sale of a controlled drug. The nature of the substance will decide the charge that is filed as well as the total weight of the substance being sold or possessed by the individual.

Over the next five blogs we will take an in-depth look at each of the five degrees of drug crimes. We'll look at what is entailed to reach each of these degrees for buyers and sellers. We'll also look at any unique circumstances that may result in a drug charge of a certain degree. And, lastly, we'll discuss the consequences an individual could face depending on the degree of the drug crime.

Today we're going to take a brief overview of the five degrees so you can see how they differ.

First Degree Drug Crimes

First degree drug charges are the most serious narcotic-related charges an individual can face. These charges are reserved for individuals who possess or sell large amounts – comparatively speaking – of a given substance. As you may expect, charges for first degree drug crimes carry the heaviest consequences.

Second Degree Drug Crimes

While not as severe as first degree drug charges, second degree drug charges still carry stiff consequences. Second degree drug charges are similar to first degree drug charges except they require smaller quantities of a given substance to be sold or possessed to meet the charge. The consequences of a second degree drug charge conviction are reduced as well, but stiff fines and prison sentences are still very real possibilities.

Third Degree Drug Crimes

While the volume of the narcotic being sold helps determine first or second degree drug charges, simply selling a narcotic – regardless of the amount – could cause an individual to face third degree drug charges. Volume remains the qualifier for determining a third degree possession drug crime. Fines for third degree drug crimes are severe and prison remains a viable possibility.

Fourth Degree Drug Crimes

Fourth degree drug crimes do not involve narcotics and, instead, focus on the possession or selling of controlled substances Schedule I, II, III, IV and V. Individuals who sell marijuana could also face fourth degree drug charges depending on where the sale takes place. Possession of mixtures containing phencyclidine or hallucinogens, as well as other controlled substances, could be grounds for fourth degree drug charges.

Fifth Degree Drug Crimes

Fifth degree drug charges are the least severe but it's important to remember these are still felony level charges, punishable by stiff fines and/or possibly, prison time. Individuals who sell or possess mixtures containing marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols could face fifth degree drug charges. Attempting to acquire a controlled substance through deceit or subterfuge could also cause an individual to face fifth degree drug charges.

If you are facing drug charges, you need experienced legal counsel. Contact Attorney Eric J. Olson for vigorous defense and unrivaled results.

About the Author

Eric Olson

Eric J. Olson has dedicated his career exclusively to criminal law, with a focus onDWI defense. For the past 16 years, Mr. Olson has developed a reputation in the legal community as an aggressive, compassionate advocate for his clients.


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