Minnesota drug crime defense
Historical anomaly: Why would anyone need a drug defense attorney? Things have changed.
At common law, before the 20th Century, drug possession and sale were generally not crimes.
These laws have a dubious history, originating in xenophobia. They serve to divide and conquer the People.
They undermine personal Liberty, self-determination and personal responsibility. But, today’s Prohibition laws are still enforced in Minnesota.
What is at stake?
First time charges: For people with no prior criminal record, avoiding a conviction can avoid a substantial loss in annual income due to employment background checks. A criminal conviction record can also lead to becoming a victim of housing discrimination, and more.
Prior convictions: For people facing long incarceration terms, the goal may be to reduce or avoid a lengthy jail or prison sentence.
We also need to consider Mandatory Minimum sentencing statutes, and the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines (prison commitments).
Need for a drug defense attorney: With all that at stake, a person facing a charge needs the best drug defense attorney he or she can find.
A good drug defense attorney knows the types of cases, defenses, pretrial defense motions, and trial defenses and issues. In addition, the best drug defense attorneys have significant experience slugging it out in Minnesota courts.
Turning things around
If you are facing drugs charges in the Twin Cities, Minnesota drug crime defense attorney Thomas Gallagher wants to help protect your rights.
He will work hard to ensure that when the police investigate or charge you, they respect your rights.
These legal rights include appropriate search and seizure, arrest and interrogation methods or police methods of gathering evidence. And Gallagher can stop prosecutors from using illegal evidence against you at trial.
Types of drug crime cases
Criminal charges in Minnesota frequently concern marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other opiates, methamphetamine, non-prescribed prescription drugs, and others. They generally claim either knowing possession or sale.
Prosecutors charge sale crimes as felonies. They can charge illegal possession as a felony, gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor or even a petty misdemeanor, depending on the substance and quantity. Misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors involve plant-form marijuana only.
Though most drug crime defense cases are in Minnesota state courts, some are prosecuted in federal court. Federal prosecutors tend to charge larger cases, harder drugs, and large drug conspiracy cases.
Minnesota Statutes Chapter 152 contains most of Minnesota’s drug crimes. It labels most “Controlled Substance Crime” in the First through Fifth degrees. A First Degree Controlled Substance crime carries the most severe penalty.
Factors that make a Minnesota crimes more or less severe include:
- Possession or sale
- Identity of the substance
- Location and proximity
As a result, the prosecution has the burden of showing evidence to prove these factors. Therefore a drug defense attorney can defend cases on one or more of them.
Take possession for example. Criminal possession is (1) knowing; and (2) the accused must have “dominion and control” over the contraband. The prosecutor has the burden of proving that. The accused starts out presumed innocent. The drug defense attorney must prevent the prosecutor from overcoming that presumption of innocence. The law requires the jury to resolve even one reasonable doubt in favor of the accused.
What can be done?
Before trial: Some defenses can result in a complete win for the defense before trial. Other defenses approaches may succeed in eliminating evidence or improving the opportunities for winning a jury trial. These types of defense are raised by your drug defense attorney in pretrial motions before a judge at a Contested Omnibus Hearing.
Partial defenses: Another category of defenses attacks the more severe charges, often unfairly exaggerated by the prosecution.
Trial defenses: Defenses at trial provide the jury an opportunity to acquit the accused of one or more charges.
Sentencing defenses: And some defenses apply to sentencing rather than criminal liability.
Pretrial Defense Motions
- Involuntary Statements
- Statements in Violation of State v Scales, 518 N.W.2d 587 (Minn. 1994) (police recording required)
- Confessions in Violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)
- Statements in Violation of Right to Legal Counsel
And Your drug defense attorney will consider pretrial motions to suppress evidence obtained by:
- Illegal Search Warrant
- Unlawful Arrest
- Illegal Warrantless Search, including persons, bodily fluids, cavity searches, automobiles, homes, buildings, containers
Trial defenses and issues
Your drug defense attorney will identify and raise trial issues including:
- Identity. If there was a crime, what proof is the that the accused did the crime?
- Substance Identity. What proof is there that the claimed substance really is what the government claims?
- Quantity. Have the police and prosecution exaggerated the quantity to unfairly inflate the charge?
- Mixture issues. In a mixture case, is it fair to assign criminal liability when the substance is diluted?
- Knowledge. What proof is there that the accused knew the substance was there?
- Conspiracy. Does the state’s conspiracy theory make any sense? What proof?
- Dominion and Control. Have the police and prosecution exaggerated the accused’s connection to the substance?
- Informant Incredibility. Coached, paid, scared — prosecution sock-puppets. What coerced informant can be believed about anything?
- Entrapment and Sentencing-Entrapment. Would the crime have happened but-for government conduct? Or, did police pressure the defendant into a larger quantity than ever before?
- Jury Nullification. The jury has the legal power to acquit, bring a not-guilty verdict, regardless of the law or facts.
The Law Firm’s Approach
When you have been charged with a drug crime, Tom Gallagher’s first action is to investigate police search and seizure methods.
If police found drugs in your car, did they have a lawful reason for stopping you?
If police found controlled substances in your home, did they obtain the Search Warrant illegally? Was the search of your home unlawful?
If the officers violated your rights in the search and seizure process, the evidence against you might not be admissible.
Born in Minneapolis, political activist and third-generation lawyer Tom Gallagher has lived in the Twin Cities all of his life.
He knows the Minnesota court systems and the people involved. His familiarity with the local courts gives him and edge in knowing what strategies and negotiating tactics are successful.
Gallagher will help you identify outcome goals for your case. He will help develop strategies to achieve those goals. Then, Gallagher will work hard and patiently until success comes, or the fight continues. He loves the courtroom and will fight tirelessly to defend your rights.
Your Drug Defense Attorney Should Have Experience
Drug crimes may be federal court or state charges. Gallagher has extensive experience representing clients in both courts. He represented a client charged in the largest federal drug conspiracy case in Minnesota history with more than 60 co-defendants. The federal prosecutors alleged 50 metric tons of cocaine (about $4 Billion).
As a Minneapolis defense attorney, drugs cases have been a large part of his practice – for decades.
As a marijuana lawyer, Gallagher has represented many people accused of growing marijuana (cannabis) indoors. He has helped some avoid being charged in the first place, and has helped others avoid a criminal record of conviction, where there were no priors similar convictions.
If the investigating officers found guns when they searched and found illegal drugs, you could face additional years in prison. (On a related note, most drug crime convictions can destroy or impair your civil rights to firearms.)
Avoid immigration problems
If you are a non-citizen (even a Permanent Resident) you could suffer serious, negative immigration law consequences as a result of your criminal drug case.
Many, unfair “mandatory minimum” sentencing laws prevent judges from sentencing drug cases fairly. They force extreme sentences. This nation has the highest percentage of its people in prison, in the world. Criminal drug prohibition laws are a big reason why.
Tom Gallagher will work with you to both fight charges and protect your liberty.
Forensic science experience
Minnesota drug defense attorney Thomas C Gallagher has experience using defense experts to analyze forensic evidence of alleged substance identity and quantity.
Thomas Gallagher has experience working cases involving drug crimes investigators, detectives, and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces.
Accepting the challenge
We can challenge the government’s case and put it to the test. With experience, thought and persistent effort, winning is possible.
Gallagher has successfully defended clients charged with drug crimes in Minnesota for decades.
Would you like to put his experience to work for you?
The Next Step
If you are facing drug charges in Minnesota and want a dedicated lawyer on your side, contact Gallagher Criminal Defense Services in Minneapolis.
You can schedule a free initial consultation.
You can now call Drug Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher to personally review your criminal case at: 612 333-1500
Minnesota Drug Defense Lawyer Thomas Gallagher’s law office is conveniently located in Uptown Minneapolis. The Gallagher Criminal Defense office is at Hennepin Avenue and 35th Street South, four block south of Hennepin & Lake. Easy to find with free street parking.