If you are facing first-time charges for drug possession, you may not realize the full ramifications of your actions. You risk your future and freedom. You could end up with a criminal record that will haunt you long after you finish the terms of your sentencing. Drug charges can make you ineligible for financial aid and certain types of public benefits, and make it harder for you to qualify for lucrative career opportunities.
In the past, drug possession charges were strictly felony offenses. Even possession of small amounts of illegal narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin, were felony charges. Recent changes in the law have made it possible for some first-time offenders to avoid getting a felony drug charge. Here is a brief overview of Minnesota’s drug possession laws.
First-time offenders can get leniency
You must have no preexisting convictions for drug charges. This may not be your first run-in with the law. There is the possibility that you have prior convictions for other kinds of criminal offenses. But, if this is your first time facing drug possession charges, you could end up with a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
A lighter charge is not automatic
Keep in mind, there are factors that can make you ineligible for a lighter charge. If you are facing additional criminal charges, they may affect the outcome of your case. You could end up with a misdemeanor conviction for the drug possession charges, but have a longer sentence because of your other criminal charges.
Felony charges may still apply
If you have more than a certain amount of illegal substances on you, you could still face felony charges. Keep in mind there are other issues that can have a significant impact on your case. When facing criminal drug possession charges of any nature, regardless of your prior criminal history, it is imperative for you to seek out legal counsel.
Based on your circumstances, there are defense options that may give you a chance at a better outcome. Navigating the criminal justice system is not easy. Consider speaking to an attorney to learn more about your situation and suitable defense tactics.