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How Minneapolis Drug Crime Attorneys Can Serve You
Special Marijuana Issues
Drug-Free Zone Enhancements
The term “war on drugs” has fallen out of favor, but police officers are still very aggressive in this area, and so are prosecutors. The good news is that these charges are harder than ever for authorities to prove in court. Many Hennepin County jurors see drug crimes, especially drug possession, as a health and safety issue as opposed to a criminal law issue.
Gerald Miller, P.A. is equally aggressive when it comes to defending drug charges in Minnesota. Plus, our team has a quality which prosecutors often lack. To them, your case is just another file in a stack of files. To us, your case is a chance for us to defend your individual rights. That passion fuels our purpose.
Drug Crime Charges in Minneapolis
Simple possession cases account for over 80 percent of all drug crime arrests in Hennepin County. These cases hinge on the three Ps. The state must produce the substance in court, prove it was illegal, and establish all legal elements of possession.
Drugs and other physical evidence are only admissible in court if officers had a valid search warrant or a narrow search warrant exception applies. All search warrants must be based on probable cause. Common search warrant exceptions include owner consent, plain view, and weapons pat-downs. The state must convince a judge that the exception applies.
Police officers always say a substance “field tested” positive as drugs. Typically, this test is completely unscientific. For example, officers in Georgia recently said a local college student was in possession of cocaine. That substance turned out to be bird poop.
Finally, possession means more than proximity. Prosecutors must also prove the defendant knew about the drugs and exerted control over them. These additional elements are often difficult to prove, especially if the defendant was in the back seat of a car and the drugs were under a front seat.
Special Marijuana Issues
Proving the substance was illegal is especially difficult in marijuana cases. Marijuana, which is illegal for recreational use, is physically indistinguishable from hemp, which is legal for general use. To conclusively establish the difference, the state must administer a THC content test. This exam is quite expensive and only available in a few areas.
Additionally, prosecutors almost always offer pretrial diversion in marijuana possession cases, even if the defendant has a criminal history. If the defendant completes some program requirements, such as community service and perhaps a self-improvement class, prosecutors normally dismiss the charges.
To boost charges from simple possession to drug sales, prosecutors normally rely on additional circumstantial evidence, such as:
- A large quantity of drugs,
- Shipping materials, and
- Weighing instruments.
Frequently, prosecutors are hard-pressed to establish a conclusive connection between the circumstantial evidence and the drugs. For example, drugs in the living room might have little to do with a few guns in the garage.
On a related note, these offenses may involve large, multi-agency investigations. Since officers have so much time invested in the case, they often take shortcuts in order to make an arrest. Additionally, these investigations often rely on confidential informants, at least to a large extent. Paid informants are inherently unreliable. Many people will say or do almost anything for love or money. Getting a positive outcome depends on who you choose to defend you. Don’t seek help from a Minneapolis Firearms Weapons Defense Lawyer in a case involving drug crimes. Depending on your case facts, our dedicated Minneapolis Drug Crime Lawyer will be a better choice!
Drug-Free Zone Enhancements
In certain areas, drug crime penalties are significantly heavier. Under state law, these special areas include:
- Parks: Only publicly owned parks are special zones. Church, homeowner association, apartment complex, and other privately-owned parks do not count. Public/private partnerships, such as a public park that a local Girl Scout troop maintains, are in a grey area.
- Drug Treatment Facility: The law is rather vague on this point. For the most part, only standalone medical facilities are drug treatment facilities. A hospital with a drug treatment wing does not count, and neither does a building which hosts 12-step group meetings.
- Schools: Not all schools look like little red schoolhouses. Many are inside office buildings or mini-malls. Additionally, children must usually be present. Overnight and during the summer, a school is just an empty building.
In addition to taking on the enhancement, our team usually attacks the underlying elements of the possession or trafficking offense. We are the Minneapolis Drug Crime Lawyers you need to clear your name and protect your future.
Drug Crime FAQs
Normally yes. However, Minnesota’s red flag law might apply. This law prohibits people from buying or owning guns if they are a danger to themselves or others.
In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for both felony and misdemeanor drug charges is three years. After that time, the state can still press charges, but a lawyer can get them thrown out of court.
If you have more than one misdemeanor conviction on your record, for drugs or anything else, the U.S. military normally requires a criminal conviction character waiver. These waivers are usually rather easy to obtain, unless the applicant has more than three misdemeanors or any felonies.
The drug crime statute of limitations is three years. However, as a rule of thumb, if the sale occurred more than a few months previously, the charges might not hold up in court. After a few months, eyewitness memories fade to almost nothing.
The nature of the job means a lot. Many insurance companies will not insure drivers and other workers who have prior drug convictions. If a prior record is a problem, a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer might be able to get it expunged.
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