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What Types Of Drug Offense Cases Do You Handle?

We handle all types of drug or controlled substance cases, from small possession cases up to sale and distribution cases such as first degree sale, manufacturing, or conspiracy to distribute in state and federal courts.  

Can I be charged with possession if I didn’t have the drugs on me?

There are generally two ways to be accused of drug possession: One way is to have the drugs somewhere on your “person.” An example would be in a pocket of the jacket you’re wearing. That is called “actual” possession. Another way is to be near drugs somewhere, such as being in a car where drugs are found, or being in a room where drugs are found. You may be accused of “constructive” possession of the drugs in that situation. Prosecutors will typically try to use DNA or fingerprint evidence in those situations. We have won cases even when your DNA is located on drugs or firearms.  

Are Prescription Drug Offenses Handled Differently Than Other Drug Crimes In Minnesota?

In Minnesota, prescription drug offenses fall under a certain schedule. The severity of these offenses depends on the schedule under which the drug is classified. People can be prosecuted for selling, bartering, providing, or illegally possessing any prescription drug. Sometimes you can be charged with controlled substance crimes even if you are possessing your own prescription medications, such as not having them in their prescription bottle. There are ways to handle these cases and protect your record. 

What Are The Sentencing Guidelines For State-Level Felony And Misdemeanor Drug Charges In Minnesota?

Minnesota and federal courts use “sentencing guidelines” to help judges and prosecutors arrive at a recommended sentence. The sentencing guidelines use a grid. The vertical axis represents the severity of the crime. So the more drugs involved or the more severe the conduct (selling is more severe than possessing in most cases), the higher up the axis the crime moves. The horizontal axis represents your “criminal history.” The more criminal history points you have, the higher sentence the guidelines recommend. There are many factors that go into calculating a guideline sentence. We have the training and experience to calculate them. In addition, we have had many cases where we earn lower sentences for our clients, such as dispositional or durational departures, and variances. The difference means that no matter what the guidelines say, we can advocate for sentences that in many cases do not even include prison time. Every case is unique, and having an experienced team on your side may be the difference in many years of prison time or not. 

What Legal Defenses Can Be Raised In Drug Cases?

Lack of intent or knowledge is a legal defense that can be raised in drug cases that involve possession. For example, it could be argued that a defendant was not in constructive possession of a drug. Other legal defenses are based on entrapment, duress, and illegal searches and seizures, such as search warrants or vehicle searches. 

What Are My Rights When It Comes To Drug Searches?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 10 of the Minnesota Constitution prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. If a search happens without a search warrant, it is presumptively unreasonable under the law. Search warrants can be attacked in a number of ways for lack of or improper probable cause. We have succeeded in getting serious drug and gun cases thrown out by attacking traffic stops, vehicle searches, home searches, and searches of persons, even with search warrants. 

What Happens If I Receive A Second Or Third Drug Charge Or Conviction?

There are mandatory minimums in state and federal court for repeat offenders. These mandatory minimums increase the amount of prison time an offender must serve if they plead or are found guilty. We have had cases where we have been able to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for clients, even when they have prior convictions. Each case is unique, and an experienced lawyer knows how to attempt to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for our clients. 

What Is Drug Court? When Is This Available To A Defendant Or Offender?

Drug courts focus on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment. We have been able to help many clients avoid prison and take advantage of drug court opportunities. Each county makes up their own rules and qualifications to determine whether or not an individual is eligible for drug court. We are happy to examine those possibilities with you and have had many clients turn their lives around with opportunities like this. 

Is Drug Court Always The Best Option For Someone Who Faces Drug Charges?

Drug court is not necessarily always the best option for a person who is facing drug charges. There are individual factors to consider, but on the whole, drug courts are a great option. 

For more information on common drug offenses In Minnesota, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Ryan Pacyga Criminal Defense at 612-474-5420today.