2016 Minn. Session Laws, Chapter 160, revises Minnesota’s drug sentencing laws and directs certain changes to the drug-sentencing revisions proposed by the Commission in its January 15, 2016, Report to the Legislature.
Description of Amendments Resulting from the Act:
Adopt the proposed Drug Offender Grid, with modifications.
Eliminate proposed Severity Level (SL) D7.
Renumber proposed severity levels D10, D9, and D8 as severity levels D9, D8, and D7, respectively.
Change the presumptive disposition for new SL D7 from executed to stayed at criminal history scores of 0 and 1.
Rank aggravated first-degree controlled substance crime at new SL D9.
Rank first-degree possession of a controlled substance at new SL D8 (with sale).
Rank second-degree controlled substance crime at new SL D7.
Make conforming changes to the Guidelines.
A list of “aggravating factors” is created.
Aggravated controlled substance crime in the first degree is created.
A mandatory-minimum sentence is established for the aggravated first-degree offense, with no waiver provision.
A mandatory minimum sentence is established for first-degree offenses where the aggravated amounts are involved, but the offense is not otherwise an aggravated first-degree offense.
A disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 no longer qualifies a subsequent offense as a “subsequent controlled substance conviction.”
The new mandatory-minimum provision applies to first- and second-degree offenses, and only prior first- and second-degree offenses qualify a subsequent first- or second-degree offense as a “subsequent controlled substance offense conviction.”
§ 609.11 mandatory-minimum penalties must also be added to the mandatory-minimum penalties for aggravated first-degree controlled substance crime, but only if the crime is aggravated because of two aggravating factors, rather than because of a firearm.
Cocaine and methamphetamine weight thresholds are increased for first- and second-degree controlled substance crime, and third-degree possession offenses. Some or all of those threshold increases are rolled back if the offense involves a firearm or multiple aggravating factors.
Marijuana weight thresholds are reduced for first- and second-degree offenses, and the marijuana plant is introduced as a new measure of quantity and severity.
For offenders with no prior Minn. Stat. chapter 152 convictions, fifth-degree possession of certain small amounts of a controlled substance becomes of a gross misdemeanor.
Eligibility for disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 is expanded to third-degree possession offenses.
Disposition under Minn. Stat. § 152.18 becomes mandatory for eligible fifth-degree possession cases with no prior felony record and no prior convictions for gross misdemeanor fifth-degree possession.
The mandatory-minimum provisions of § 609.11 may not be waived for first- or second-degree sale while using or possessing, on the person or within the immediate reach of the defendant or an accomplice, a firearm.