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Third degree drug crimes: What are they and what are the consequences

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

While individuals guilty of first and second degree drug crimes face the most severe penalties, a third degree drug crime conviction still carries serious consequences. Remember, this is still a felony charge and one that carries the potential for a lengthy prison sentence and heavy fines.

So what causes an individual to be charged with a third degree drug crime? Let's take a look.

Sales crimes

Individuals involved in the sale of Schedule I, II or III narcotics are likely to face third degree drug charges. A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the third degree if:

the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug;
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing phencyclidine or hallucinogen, it is packaged in dosage units, and equals ten or more dosage units;
the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, except a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, to a person under the age of 18;
the person conspires with or employs a person under the age of 18 to unlawfully sell one or more mixtures containing a controlled substance listed in Schedule I, II, or III, except a Schedule I or II narcotic drug; or
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of five kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.
Possession crimes

Individuals caught in possession of small amounts of narcotics or in possession of Schedule I or II narcotics in public areas are likely to face third degree drug charges. A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the third degree if:

on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of three grams or more containing cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine;
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug, it is packaged in dosage units, and equals 50 or more dosage units;
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully possesses any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug or five or more dosage units of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxy amphetamine, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility;
on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols; or
the person unlawfully possesses one or more mixtures containing methamphetamine or amphetamine in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility.
Consequences if convicted

As we discussed above, while third degree drug crimes don't carry penalties as severe as first and second degree drug crimes, convicted individuals still face felony-level charges that include lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines:

(a) A person convicted under subdivision 1 or 2 may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 20 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.
(b) If the conviction is a subsequent controlled substance conviction, a person convicted under subdivision 1 or 2 shall be committed to the commissioner of corrections for not less than two years nor more than 30 years and, in addition, may be sentenced to payment of a fine of not more than $250,000.
(c) In a prosecution under subdivision 1 or 2 involving sales or acts of possession by the same person in two or more counties within a 90-day period, the person may be prosecuted in any county in which one of the sales or acts of possession occurred.
If you are facing third degree drug charges, you need experienced legal counsel. Many of these consequences can be avoided or mitigated. Some drug offenses may be kept off your record. 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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