Everything You Should Know About Drug Free Zones In Minnesota

Everything You Should Know About Drug Free Zones in Minnesota

Certain Minnesota laws pertain to how drug offenses are treated. Many don’t realize that there are state-specific laws and regulations that must be abided by when traveling or living in the state of Minnesota. Understanding these specifications can be useful to ensure that one stays compliant with all of the laws and regulations set out by the state. This blog will explore the specifics of drug-free zones in Minnesota and how these laws may relate to your unique situation.

What Is The Definition Of A Drug-Free Zone? 

According to MN Statute § 152.01, the definition of a drug-free zone is as follows: 

The law* is tough on anyone caught selling or possessing illegal drugs in or within one city block or three hundred feet of any Minnesota:

  • Park
  • Public housing project
  • School

The law states that a park, public housing, and school zones begin at the boundaries of the property and extend three hundred feet from that point, or one city block, whichever distance is greater.

Anyone that commits an illegal drug offense near an area where children gather are subject to additional penalties. Children must be protected from exposure to drugs as much as possible, and that is why special zones are identified where offenses can be charged to an even more severe degree. The purpose of drug-free zones is to attempt to discourage illegal drug activity everywhere and particularly near areas where there are children present. 

What Penalties Could You Face For A Drug-Free Zone Violation? 

There are specific penalties that someone may face if they violate the law in a drug-free zone. The penalty that will be levied against the accused often depends upon the severity of the offense, the type of illegal substance used, and the location where it was used. There are very stiff penalties for adults who knowingly sell or distribute illegal drugs in a drug-free zone:

  • 15 years: Any amount of marijuana sold to a minor in a drug-free zone.
  • $100,000 fine: Any amount of marijuana sold to a minor in a drug-free zone (may also include penalty above).
  • 20 years: Sale of narcotic (non-marijuana) drugs in a drug-free zone.
  • $250,000 fine: Sale of narcotic (non-marijuana) drugs in a drug-free zone.

Repeat offenders can be hit with even harsher penalties as they have not displayed a desire to improve their actions based on Minnesota law. The sale of illegal drugs to minors is taken very seriously, and many laws are in place to make sure people do not get away with committing a crime of this fashion.

What Areas Of Minnesota Are NOT Drug-Free Zones?

Minnesota has tightened up the laws so much that there are few areas that don’t qualify as drug-free zones. Laws like this were formed purposefully in order to gain the maximum leverage possible when working through plea deals with those who are caught selling drugs. It is Minnesota’s desire to create a safe state with little illegal drug activity.

Some defense attorneys can assist their clients in lessening the penalties for drug-free zone offenses, but the charges are still tough to face. Anyone accused of a crime in a drug-free zone should seek guidance from a competent attorney as quickly as possible.

Are Changes Coming?

Activists against the “War on Drugs” have identified Minnesota as a place where drug laws are written too harshly, and one where many would like to see changes made. The country seems to be reevaluating its long-held position that the maximum penalties for drug offenses are the best way to pursue things. 

Instead, some suggest that rehabilitation and treatment programs are a much better use of resources than continued imprisonment of those who are convicted of drug offenses. There is still a lot of work to be done to make this vision a reality, and for the time being, the laws stand as so. It is encouraged to be familiar with current expectations, so you can conduct yourself in compliance with the law as much as possible.

Seek Guidance From a Drug Crime Lawyer Today

There are strict laws in Minnesota related to drug offenses with particular consideration to drug-free zones. If you equip yourself with the knowledge from this article, you should feel confident about what you can and cannot do, and what specific penalties you may face if your actions are outside of Minnesota’s drug-free zone guidelines.

If you or a loved one has recently been charged with a drug crime, we encourage you to contact our team today to set up a consultation.