What Happens When You Get Charged with Second-Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance in Minnesota?
There is no doubt that charges of second-degree sale of a controlled substance in Minnesota mean that you are facing serious consequences. It is understandable to wonder what this process might look like, especially if you have never been charged with a serious crime before.
The court process can be confusing, especially if you have never been charged with a crime before. That is why it is helpful to understand what happens when you face these charges. From your arrest to your trial date and all points in between, our drug crimes lawyers could help you navigate the legal system.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you build a winning a defense in your case. We can answer your questions about the court process while advising you on the best path forward. Reach out today for your free consultation.
What is Second-Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance?
Like all drug offenses in Minnesota, the charge of second-degree sale of a controlled substance relies on the amount and quantity of drugs being sold. Some substances face tighter regulation than others, so a smaller amount could result in steeper charges compared to other cases. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 152.022. According to the statute, the offense of second-degree sale of a controlled substance is appropriate when:
- on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten grams or more containing a narcotic drug other than heroin;
- on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of three grams or more containing cocaine or methamphetamine and:
- the person or an accomplice possesses on their person or within immediate reach, or uses, whether by brandishing, displaying, threatening with, or otherwise employing, a firearm; or
- the offense involves three aggravating factors;
- on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of three grams or more containing heroin;
- on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten grams or more containing amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogen or, if the controlled substance is packaged in dosage units, equaling 50 or more dosage units;
- on one or more occasions within a 90-day period the person unlawfully sells one or more mixtures of a total weight of ten kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols;
- the person unlawfully sells any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug to a person under the age of 18, or conspires with or employs a person under the age of 18 to unlawfully sell the substance; or
- the person unlawfully sells any of the following in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility:
- any amount of a Schedule I or II narcotic drug, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxy amphetamine, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine;
- one or more mixtures containing methamphetamine or amphetamine; or
- one or more mixtures of a total weight of five kilograms or more containing marijuana or Tetrahydrocannabinols.
Sale crimes are generally treated more harshly than possession crimes. For that reason, the penalties for second-degree sale are usually higher than second-degree possession. This offense carries a minimum prison term of three years in prison and a maximum term of 25 years in prison.
Hearings in Your Case
Most drug cases involve a number of hearings. You can expect your first hearing—known as arraignment—to occur shortly after your arrest. This hearing is where you enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. It might also be where you get the first opportunity to bail out of jail.
There are other hearings that will occur in your case. As the case progresses, the court will schedule status hearings to ensure the case is moving forward. Your attorney might also schedule hearings to take up any motions, like a motion to dismiss the case against you. Once the hearings are resolved, the final stage of your case is the trial.
Considering a Plea Offer
One thing you can expect to happen in your case is receiving a plea bargain offer. If you have been charged with a minor drug offense before—including misdemeanor drug possession—you might have received some leniency in the past. Prosecutors are less likely to make favorable plea bargains in serious cases like second-degree sale of a controlled substance.
That does not mean you are out of luck. Instead, it means that your attorney must build a defense that is strong enough to prevail at trial or even push the prosecutor make a reasonable plea offer.
Context is important when it comes to plea bargains. An offer that looks good on the surface might be more unfair than you realize. Alternatively, if the case against you is strong, an offer that seems harsh might be the best-case scenario for you. Having an experienced attorney on your side could ensure that you have the context you need to make this decision.
Our firm can advise you on your options, but it is up to you to accept or reject a plea bargain. While this decision is rarely easy, our firm can ensure you have the information you need.
Your Case Could Be Dismissed
One of the things that can happen in a second-degree drug sale case is that the charges against you could be dismissed before trial. This is a best-case scenario for most people. It is also one of the most difficult outcomes to secure—especially when you are acting without an attorney.
Our firm understands what goes into a strong defense in a drug sale case. When we develop a winning strategy, it is often enough to convince the state to dismiss charges or reduce their severity. Even if the prosecutor will not dismiss your case, the court might agree to if your attorney can show your rights were violated. Some of the defense strategies that could result in the dismissal of your case include unlawful searches and seizures of your property.
You Could Win at Trial
For some people, the last thing to expect during the course of their second-degree sale of a controlled substance case is a trial by jury. Most cases will never get this far, as plea bargains and dismissals are the most likely outcomes. However, a trial could be in your best interest in some cases.
It could be your best option to take your case to trial if you believe the evidence against you is weak. Remember, the state has the duty to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high burden of proof, and you will win at trial if they fail to meet it. In some cases, highlighting the lack of evidence against you could be enough to prevail.
There are other times when a trial is necessary. Even if you are open to a plea bargain, the state might be unwilling to make a reasonable offer. Our firm could advise you when the offer made by the state is less severe than what you might expect if your case goes to trial. In many cases, even a guilty verdict at trial might result in a better outcome than a bad plea offer.
There are different stages of the trial, and your attorney could choose to dispute different aspects of the case against you. Even if there is strong evidence of your guilt, your attorney could make a compelling case during sentencing that you deserve leniency. Relying on the guidance of an attorney in this situation is crucial to getting the best possible outcome.
Reach Out to the Attorneys of Gerald Miller Today
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you seek justice following an arrest for second-degree sale of a controlled substance. We will aggressively pursue a fair outcome on your behalf and are here to answer all of your questions. Contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.
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