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Coon Rapids Felony Drug Possession Case Study

Charge: Felony Fifth Degree Possession of Controlled Substance 152.025.2(a)(1)

In January of 2017 my client was charged with possession of a controlled substance. He was approached by police for having a rear brake light out. The officer alleged he smelled marijuana and conducted a search of the vehicle that located large amounts of marijuana. The search was on video. Client was arrested and ultimately charged with 5th Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail and a $10,000.00 fine.

Case Review
After my consultation with my client it became apparent that the issue in this case was whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search the vehicle based on the alleged smell of marijuana. Careful review of the videotape and conversations with my client were done to be assured that no defense had been missed.

It was determined based on research of Minnesota Law and diligent review of the reports and videotapes that the officer did have a reasonable suspicion to search the vehicle.

My client and I discussed the potential ramifications for challenging the stop and/or search. Client could have been charged or the case amended to Sale of Controlled Substance which is a much more serious charge. After many conversations client decided that it would be best to try to resolve the case if he was able to potentially get the case dismissed with future good behavior.

After diligent review and research of the search issue I approached the prosecutor in the effort of resolving the case. I argued that the search was questionable and maintained this appeared to be an isolated incident which was verified by his criminal record. We were able to agree to a diversionary resolution where my client would not be convicted if he was able to successfully complete the Diversion program. Simply put, if he complied with the program the case would be dismissed and he would not have any conviction on his record.

This resolution was critical because if convicted he would have a felony on his record and had many of his personal freedoms (right to Vote, housing, employment, etc.) taken from him. By the diversionary resolution he was granted a second chance to maintain those freedoms and become a productive citizen.

By being proactive and using the issues to our benefit we gained an amazing result. He was not ordered to serve any jail time and upon good behavior for one year and completing a program his criminal charge will be totally dismissed Additionally, he was able to use alcohol during his period of probation since his offense centered on marijuana.

Impact
My client was very happy with the outcome and extremely appreciative of the second chance. The resolution (s) allowed a young man to maintain his employment and housing and keep a felony conviction off of his record. It is critical to get to know your client’s background and personal issues and do the required research to determine if there are any defenses to the case. The prosecution and court are oftentimes willing to be creative when a client shows good faith and has taken proactive steps to show that they have attempted to remedy their problem(s).

Caveat
Most clients don’t realize how important it is to have a clean criminal record and particularly no felony convictions on their record. Employment, housing, voting, loans, possession of firearms, immigration, etc. are all areas that can be restricted or prohibited if a felony conviction is placed on your record. It is imperative to contact an attorney immediately upon getting charged with any criminal offense and specifically a felony offense to determine whether it is possible to resolve the case or dismiss the case in an attempt to keep a criminal conviction off of your record. In this case being diligent and researching the critical issues led to an excellent outcome and ultimately dismissal of the charges.

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