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How to Get a First-Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance Charge Dismissed in Minnesota

If you currently face allegations of first-degree sale of controlled substance charges, it is important to understand the legal jeopardy you are dealing with. State prosecutors aggressively pursue drug charges, and a conviction on this count could upend your life forever.

The prospect of a conviction can be stressful. However, aggressively pursuing the right defense strategy could prevent you from being convicted of a crime at all. In some cases, you might even be able to have your charges dismissed.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller have had success with securing dismissals in a wide range of criminal cases. Even when dismissal is not an option, our firm could help you pursue the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Reach out today for your free consultation.


Who Has the Power to Dismiss Criminal Charges?

If you have already been arrested and charged with first-degree sale of a controlled substance in Minnesota, your best-case scenario is likely to have those charge dismissed. A dismissal means you do not have to face the risk of a conviction at trial. Of course, having your charges dismissed could be easier said than done.

State prosecutors decide whether or not to move forward with your case. They have the right to formalize criminal charges against you, and they also have the ability to dismiss those charges. The police that initially arrested you have no control over whether or not the charges against you will move forward.

The prosecutor in your case might have the right to dismiss your charges, but that does not mean they are willing to do so. Prosecutors do not drop charges without a reason, especially in serious cases like the first-degree sale of a controlled substance. In order to secure a dismissal, you will need a strong defense. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help build that defense.

What’s more, the judge in your case also has the power to dismiss any criminal charges against you. Although a prosecutor could drop your charge at their own discretion, a judge will typically not consider a dismissal unless a motion to that effect is filed by your attorney.

There are various reasons why a judge might dismiss a charge. If the evidence in your case was illegally obtained or the state waited too long to file charges against you, you could have a right to dismissal.


The State Pursues Drug Charges Aggressively

Authorities in Minnesota are known for aggressively pursuing criminal charges related to drug offenses. The police are also constantly on the lookout for potential drug arrests. In 2021, there were more than 20,000 drug arrests in Minnesota alone.

Given a large number of arrests, it should come as no surprise that state prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions in these cases. This is especially true for high-level drug offenses like first-degree sale of a controlled substance. A prosecutor is not going to dismiss this charge arbitrarily.

The good news is that there are steps your attorney could take to secure a dismissal. The state might prefer to seek a conviction, but many prosecutors will consider dropping the charges if it is clear they cannot get a conviction. The strength of the case your attorneys build will play an important role in determining if your case is dismissed.


Why is it Difficult to Obtain a Dismissal?

There is a lot of political pressure when it comes to dismissing drug-related criminal charges. This is particularly true for major offenses and crimes involving repeat offenders. It should come as no surprise that these challenges apply to charges of first-degree sales of a controlled substance.

The primary reason that it can be difficult to secure a dismissal for this offense is that it is a serious criminal charge. First-degree sale of a controlled substance is the highest-level drug offense under state law. A conviction could result in as much as a 30-year prison term and a fine of not more than $1 million. There are few offenses under state law with stepper penalties.


Defense Strategies for Securing a Dismissal

The best way to secure a dismissal of your charges is by helping your attorney build the strongest defense strategy possible. Some of these strategies are especially effective for securing a dismissal, while others are stronger at trial.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller could work with you to identify the strongest possible defense in your case. Before you move forward with a strategy, let our firm evaluate the facts and determine the right approach. A strong defense could make the difference in having your charges dismissed or going to trial.

Lack of Evidence

It is important to remember that the state always has the burden of proof in criminal cases. When a prosecutor files first-degree sale of controlled substance charges against you, they must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires substantial evidence that establishes all of the elements of the offense. In some cases, the evidence of your guilt could be weak.

It can be tempting to build a different defense. While you might feel like you need to prove your innocence, one of the best approaches in these cases is poking holes in the state’s case. If the evidence against you is inadequate, highlighting the problems with it could be enough to secure your dismissal.

Challenging Intent

Every drug case is a crime of intent. In order to be guilty of this offense, the state must prove that you intentionally sold a controlled substance in a specific amount. You have a viable defense if you can show that you were unaware that the substance you were possessing or selling was an illegal drug.


An uncommon defense in the first-degree sale of a controlled substance case is entrapment. This defense might not be used frequently, but under the right circumstances, it is an ideal approach. The law does not allow the government to coerce an individual into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If police go too far in investigating a drug crime and entrap someone into committing an illegal act, an entrapment defense could be appropriate.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

One of the strongest defenses in the first-degree sale of a controlled substance case involves violations of your constitutional rights. These violations can result in the evidence used against you being excluded at trial. Alternatively, the court could have little choice but to dismiss your case in some circumstances. Some of the most common defenses based on the violation of your rights include:

  • Speedy trial violations. You have the right to a speedy trial. If the state delays your trial for too long, that right is violated. If your speedy trial right is violated, the court must dismiss the charges against you. It is important to remember that if you request or consent to a delay in your case, that time will not count for speedy trial purposes.
  • Miranda violation. There are protections in the law related to self-incrimination. Before the police can interrogate you, they must read you your Miranda rights. The failure to do so could result in the exclusion of anything you say from the trial.
  • Illegal search and seizure. The police do not have unlimited grounds to search your property or person. Unless they have a warrant, they will need probable cause to make a search. Any illegal search or seizure could result in the exclusion of any evidence found. This could dramatically undermine the state’s case against you, leading to a dismissal of all charges.


Talk to Attorney Gerald Miller About Having Your Charges Dismissed

Facing a charge of first-degree sale of a controlled substance can be one of the most intimidating circumstances in your life. Your freedom hangs in the balance, and it is easy to assume that your chances of success are slim. In reality, it could be possible to have the charges against you dismissed.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you fight back against these charges. We understand what you are up against, and we are ready to put our experience to work in your case. Do not face the prosecution on your own. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Related Post: How to Get a Possession of Controlled Substance Charge Dismissed in Minnesota?

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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