Got Marijuana? It’s the State’s Burden to Prove It
Under Minnesota law, all offenses involving the sale or possession of Marijuana are FELONY level offense. This is except for a small amount of Marijuana, defined at 42.5 grams or less. The amount of prison time you face depends on the amount of Marijuana sold or in your possession at the time of the offense. The table below illustrates the relevant Minnesota statutes.
Possession of Marijuana:
- No incarceration
- Max. Fine $200
Sale of Marijuana:
Just because you were arrested with any of the above threshold amount does not mean that the State has a slam-dunk case against you. Far from it in fact. They still carry the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed or sold any of the above amounts. Under Minnesota Law, this means that the State must have properly weighed and chemically tested the requisite amount to support the charges, random sampling will NOT do.
The Minnesota Supreme Court stated this over 20-years ago. State v. Robinson, 517 N.W.2d 336 (Minn. 1994), (stating random sampling is insufficient to establish the total weight required of the mixture containing a controlled substance. The weight of the mixture is an essential element of the offense charged; like every other essential element, it must be proven by the state and proven beyond a reasonable doubt); State v. Galvan, 532 N.W.2d 210 (Minn. 1995) (applying Robinson to Marijuana cases).
Sieben and Cotter Law Office, has successfully challenged the State and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on these issues. Their most recent victories include:
State v. T.S. (April 2016), Defendant was charged with Possession with Intent to Sell 107-pounds of Marijuana. The Judge DISMISSED the 1st and 2nd Degree Controlled Substance charges because the State failed to properly test and weigh the requisite amount of Marijuana. Defendant went to trial on the remaining 5th Degree charge resulting in a jury verdict of NOT GUILTY.
State v. T.M. (March 2016), involving four defendants and multiple Marijuana grow houses. The judge DISMISSED the 2nd Degree Controlled Substance charge due to the State’s failure to chemically test at least 25 kilograms of the seized Marijuana.
If you face drug possession or sale charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Tom Sieben and Patrick Cotter have the experience you need with a proven track record of success in these types of cases. Call Sieben & Cotter at 651-455-1555 or send a request for more information and to arrange your free consultation.