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How to Get a Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree Charge Dismissed in Minnesota

Any arrest or conviction for a drug-related offense is a serious matter that could impact the rest of your life. Third degree charge related to the sale of controlled substances is especially serious, as they carry steeper penalties than simple possession cases.

The prospect of facing these charges can be overwhelming for some people, who feel hopeless after an arrest. In reality, it is not uncommon for the accused to beat drug charges with the help of experienced legal counsel.

If you have been charged with the sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, it could be possible to have those charges dismissed entirely. Even when dismissal is not an option, other favorable outcomes could be on the table. Let the drug crime attorneys of Gerald Miller help you fight back against your drug charges.

Third-Degree Sale Charges Can Be Dismissed

It is possible according to state law to have a third-degree sale of controlled substance charges dismissed in Minnesota. However, only certain individuals have the right to bring your case to an end. Even though law enforcement officers were responsible for your arrest, they do not hold the key to your dismissal. This is because the police lack the authority to dismiss criminal charges. Once charges have been filed, the outcome of the case is out of the hands of law enforcement.

The power to dismiss a third-degree sale of a controlled substance charge generally rests with the prosecutor. The prosecutor has the power to formally bring charges, and they have the power to dismiss those charges.

Finally, judges also have the power to dismiss criminal charges in Minnesota. While prosecutors might dismiss a case on their own motion, judges typically will not. Instead, a judge will likely only consider dismissal of a third-degree sale of a controlled substance charge upon the filing of a motion from the defendant.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what a dismissal could mean for you. We work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients. This starts with a careful review of the facts to determine if a motion to dismiss is appropriate.

Why Dismissals Are Never Guaranteed

State prosecutors have the power to dismiss your case, but they do not have the obligation to do so. In fact, prosecutors will not dismiss most drug charges they handle. This is because the state is known for aggressively pursuing offenses related to the sale of a controlled substance. Significant resources are expended in these cases, which can often lead to strong evidence at trial. Prosecutors also face pressure from the public to secure convictions in high-profile drug cases.

Given this pressure, it should come as no surprise that a prosecutor will not dismiss the charges against you out of the goodness of their heart. Instead, dismissal is only likely in cases where it is clear that the state will struggle to secure a conviction. Prosecutors do not like to lose, and they often avoid facing the wrath of a judge for bringing a weak case to trial. The key to having your case dismissed by the prosecution is establishing that your defense is likely to result in an acquittal at trial.

The judge hearing your case will not dismiss your charges on a whim, either. However, your attorney does have the right to petition the court to dismiss the charges against you. Depending on the nature and strength of your defense strategy, this motion could be granted. That is why it is so important to develop the strongest defense strategy possible. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you plan out that strategy.

Your Defense Strategy is Important

If your goal is to see the charges against you dismissed without going to trial, your defense strategy is important. This is true whether your attorney pushes the prosecution to dismiss the charges against you, or if they file a motion to dismiss the case with the court. A successful motion to dismiss could be your best chance to avoid jail time for drug felonies.

Not all defense strategies are one-size-fits-all. It is important to tailor your approach to the facts in your case. The right defense approach for you could be very different from someone else facing the same charge. Some potential defense strategies include:

Lack of Evidence

In many cases, the best possible defense involves highlighting how weak the evidence against you is. After all, the state has the burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When the prosecution fails to do so, you are entitled to an acquittal by a jury of your peers.

In these cases, your attorney will focus less on alternative theories or suspects and more on the lack of evidence against you. At times, an attorney might even tell the court that even assuming all of the evidence presented is true, the state has not provided enough for a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lack of Intent

All drug crimes are crimes of intent. That means you must have possessed a controlled substance knowingly and with the intention to sell it to others. If you were unaware that you had possession of drugs, you could be innocent of any criminal offense. If you possessed a controlled substance for personal use instead of a sale, it could be possible to have your charges reduced.

Constitution Violations

Many drug cases involve the search of homes, vehicles, and businesses. When the police make these searches illegally, the evidence they collect could be excluded from your trial. You are protected by certain constitutional rights when it comes to searches and seizures of your property.

Understanding Third-Degree Sale Charges

Before you can defend against these charges, it is helpful to understand what constitutes third-degree sale of a controlled substance under Minnesota law. Often, the text of the statute will spell out possible defenses and exceptions that could serve as the basis for a motion to dismiss.

In Minnesota, the charge of third-degree sale of a controlled substance is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 152.023. According to the statute, a person commits this offense if:

  1. the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures containing a narcotic drug;
  2. 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;
  3. 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 drugs, to a person under the age of 18;
  4. 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 drugs; or
  5. 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 Tetrahydrocannabinol.

Ultimately, the difference between third-degree sale charges and more serious offenses is the volume of certain substances in your possession. While a third-degree offense is less severely punished than other charges, the consequences of a conviction are still significant.

Third-degree sale of a controlled substance is a felony under Minnesota law. According to the law, a conviction could result in as much as 20 years in prison. There is also a monetary fine of up to $250,000. Most convictions—especially for first-time offenders—will not receive the maximum sentence. In fact, it is possible to avoid incarceration in some cases. No matter what, it is vital to rely on experienced legal counsel to fight these charges and avoid the risk of time behind bars.

Talk to an Attorney About Your Third Degree Charge Dismissal in Minnesota

If you have been charged with third-degree sale of a controlled substance, those charges could be dismissed under the right circumstances. Let the attorneys of Gerald Miller review your case and advise you on the right defense strategy approach. Contact us right away in order to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your defense options.

Related Content: What Happens When You Get Charged with First-Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance in MN??


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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