How Previous Drug Crime Convictions Affect Current Drug Crimes

There are individuals who, after they get convicted for a drug crime, go to prison and the system completely works for them. They might serve their time and reflect on the consequences of their actions and never touch drugs again. However, it is far more likely that if you have a drug conviction on your record, you will be arrested for another drug-related crime. Sometimes it can be an addiction, a livelihood, or even just plain bad luck that results in these arrests. Unfortunately, if you have a past drug convictions in Minnesota, it is likely going to make your drug sentence for the next drug conviction worse.

Back at the end of 2016, new drug crime sentencing guidelines were put forward for Minnesota. This proposal suggested that Minnesota should stop using prior drug offenses in a way that impacts the next drug offense. This would have allowed those that suffer from drug addiction to spend more time getting help instead of not getting help behind bars where drug programs are non-exist or just not effective. Unfortunately, the proposal was firmly denied. The current guidelines still allow for past drug crimes to be used for harsher sentences because of the state’s adamant crackdown on drug dealers and other larger kingpins.


Currently in Minnesota, punishments are decided in part by a person’s criminal history score. Every conviction in your past is given a point value depending on the severity of the crime. There have been a variety of changes to this system that make it more complex. An example of these changes is that of a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors no longer accrue points, but they did prior to 2010.

In drug crimes, a lower level crime such as a second degree controlled substance crime will get you a rather low amount of points. Yet, those points also add up if you are charged multiple times with the same or different charges. Furthermore, convictions for sex or violent crimes will also affect your drug crime sentencing. This means if you get into a court room expecting the same punishments for a drug crime as the punishments for that same crime you committed years ago, you will likely be shocked. Viewing your criminal history, your judge will be compelled to give you a harsher punishment. After all, the law is designed to punish you for a crime in order for you to learn a lesson, and in Minnesota this means the punishments need to be harsher if they did not work the first time.

This means that if you are facing new drug charges, you need to fight them even harder than you did the first time. Sometimes a drug case is so strong that your criminal defense lawyer might not be able to prevent a conviction, but sometimes it can be a case of having the wrong defense lawyer. If you are looking at new charges, it is important that you have the best defense. Previous arrests don’t count on your criminal record, only previous convictions. This means as long as your criminal defense attorney can prevent a conviction, your criminal record won’t accrue points.

If you are in Minnesota and are looking at another drug crime with other convictions on your criminal record, even if they were long in the past, contact us today. Prior convictions can sometimes mean months added onto your sentence, and sometimes it can mean years added on. However, the best way to avoid this is to, obviously, not get a conviction. If you are looking at new charges and you want to give your best defense in order to avoid a conviction, let the Speas Law Firm help.