Every year college campuses across the state of Minnesota are filled with young adults getting their first taste of independent living. Parents of college students are filled with pride and hope at what their children will accomplish academically. However, there are also secret fears within a parent’s heart of how campus life may lead to certain experiences, such as drug use. Minnesota takes drug crimes very seriously. For many young college students, their lives can be ruined before they have really even begun if they get charged with a drug-related felony. Parents, students, don’t panic. There are steps to take that can protect the future of promising college students.
Minimize Impact: The effects of a drug-related charge will have a lasting negative impact on future education opportunities. This could even make a pursued dream career unattainable. A felony drug conviction can reach even further into a person’s life, making it hard to secure housing, affect who you can keep company with, whether you can travel out of state or internationally. It can mean the end of your voting rights and freedom to possess a firearm. Once charged, the most important step to take is to minimize the impact of a felony drug charge. This is achieved through a skilled criminal defense attorney. A strong legal defense can result in a felony drug charge being dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor.
Complexity Of Minnesota Law: Minnesota drug crime statutes are not just strict. They are also complex. Navigating the legal language can be nothing short of confusing for the average citizen. It is not uncommon for college students and their parents to have many questions. Here are 5 of the most frequently asked questions related to college life and drug charges:
- Can police search my car if I’m arrested for drugs? In general, law enforcement can search a motor vehicle if it is believed to hold evidence of a crime. That being said, a person does not have to give permission. Denying permission would require law enforcement to get a search warrant. If a person finds that their motor vehicle is subject to a search by law enforcement, they should immediately seek legal representation.
- What are the types of drug charges in Minnesota? Petty misdemeanor: Possession of a small amount of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor and warrants no jail time. Misdemeanor: 2nd level charge, a criminal offense with penalties as much as $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. An example would be possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle. Gross Misdemeanor: 3rd level criminal offense punishable by up to $3,000 fine and 1 year in jail. Felony: Highest level charge with severe fines, up to a year in jail and serious consequences that last a lifetime, such as losing certain rights.
- Can police lie to a person being questioned about a drug charge? It is legal for law enforcement to lie about things like having evidence against a person. They are allowed to use such tactics to get a suspect to self-incriminate or incriminate others.
- Should I talk to a trusted family member about my drug offense? Not until you have consulted with your attorney. A person charged with a drug crime should not talk to anyone until they have consulted a legal professional.
- Do I have to talk to the police? No. It is better to exercise your right to remain silent and communicate through a criminal defense attorney who is representing your best interest.
Complex Process: An arrest on a college campus drug charge begins a complex, lengthy process. It begins with a booking procedure that can last hours. It could be 24 hours before a person can even post bail and get out of jail. During this time a person is isolated and vulnerable, surrounded by law enforcement who is only interested in successfully pursuing their case against you. The moment an arrest is imminent, a person should make it clear to law enforcement of their intent to exercise their rights to remain silent and have legal counsel.
For more information on how college students can protect their future while pursuing higher education in an environment where drug use is common, please contact us. Consult with experienced criminal defense attorneys who will aggressively pursue your best interests.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.