Media outlets in Minnesota and around the country have covered several stories about the proliferation of dangerous synthetic drugs such as bath salts and spice. These narcotic compounds are developed by drug makers to circumvent federal or state drug laws, and they are often offered for sale in grocery stores and other retail outlets for short periods. The reason that these drugs are usually pulled off store shelves fairly swiftly is because lawmakers generally act quickly to close legal loopholes and update drug laws.
While police officers in Minnesota have generally dependable breath testing equipment for suspected drunk drivers, their portable chemical tests for suspected drug possession may not be as reliable. Police departments like these kits because they are easy to use and often cost as little as $2 a piece. However, several leading civil rights advocates and criminal defense attorneys have questioned the quick-ID kits' reliability.
Law enforcement in Minnesota and the rest of the nation arrest people for drug possession more than any other type of offense. According to a report released by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, low-level drug offenses, such as those for personal use and possession, should be decriminalized.
Minnesota residents may know that there are people serving decades-long and life sentences in prison for nonviolent drug offenses. Some people argue that handing lengthy sentences to nonviolent drug offenders leads to unnecessarily high incarceration rates. Since 1980, the prison population in the United States has grown from under 25,000 to over 200,000.
Two people in Minnesota were taken into police custody on May 2 and charged for selling heroin. The 27-year-old man and 34-year-old woman were detained when a search warrant was executed at a location in Duluth. Authorities had conducted multiple controlled buys and other surveillance efforts during the week leading up to the search and seizure.
According to officers with the Owatonna Police Department, a 50-year-old man was charged with first-degree drug possession on March 24 following a traffic stop in the town that happened on March 22. A passenger in the vehicle was taken into custody on a warrant.
License suspensions and revocations are consequences one generally associates with DUI and traffic crimes. However, DUI and traffic cases are not the only cases that can raise driver's license issues. For example, here in Minnesota, under certain circumstances, a person can end up having their driver's license revoked for a time in relation to a drug crime conviction.
Drug crimes in Minnesota can come with some very harsh penalties if you are convicted. In the case of cocaine, the state laws are pretty strict because cocaine is considered a controlled substance. All cocaine-related criminal charges in Minnesota are considered felony charges that carry the possibility of significant time in prison.
One of the big things being charged with meth-related crimes causes a person to face is the possibility of imprisonment if convicted.
Anyone who has been exposed to the Law & Order television franchise or any other legal drama for that matter has probably heard the term "mitigating circumstances." This is a factor in the justice arena that is intended to give judges some measure of latitude when meting out sentences in criminal cases if circumstances seem to suggest that some measure of mercy is called for.