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Drug Crime Defense

Fargo Criminal Defense Attorneys: Moving You Forward Past Difficult Times

Penalties for a drug crime conviction can include jail time, fines, and probation. A drug crime conviction can follow you for the rest of your life and make it more difficult to secure housing, a college loan, a job, a promotion, a professional license, and more. 

If you or someone you care about is facing North Dakota or Minnesota drug crime charges, contact the experienced Fargo criminal defense attorneys at Fremstad Law today. 

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Our experienced drug crime defense lawyers will work hard to keep you out of jail and minimize the collateral consequences of a drug crime conviction by challenging the evidence against you, working with the prosecutor to try to negotiate a plea bargain, and if necessary, taking your case to trial.

The consequences of a drug crime conviction can be harsh. That’s why our lawyers will thoroughly analyze the evidence, law enforcement procedures, forensic testing, and witness statements to identify potential defenses that can be used to secure a Not Guilty verdict, or that can be used as leverage to negotiate a better plea arrangement. In some cases, we may be able to have the charges against you dismissed. 

Our defense against North Dakota drug crime charges might include:

  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • Miranda violations
  • Unreliable witness statements
  • Law enforcement misconduct
  • Insufficient evidence

North Dakota Drug Crimes and Penalties

North Dakota classifies illegal drugs, formally known as controlled substances, into 5 categories, or schedules, according to how addictive they are and whether they have an accepted medical use in the United States. 

  • Schedule I controlled substances have a high potential for abuse, are unsafe, and have no accepted medical use. Examples include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ecstasy.
  • Schedule II drugs are narcotics and stimulants that have a high potential for abuse and cause severe psychological or physical dependence, but do have some, albeit limited, medical use. Examples include Dilaudid, methadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, opium, codeine, amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall), and methamphetamine
  • Schedule III substances have less potential for abuse but can still lead to physical dependence and psychological addiction. These include  Tylenol/Codeine, Suboxone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse and an accepted medical use, such as Xanax, Soma, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Versed, Restoril, and Halcion. 
  • Schedule V substances contain small amounts of narcotics but are still regulated. Common substances are cough syrups that contain codeine. 

It is illegal to possess a controlled substance without a prescription. Penalties vary based on the amount of drugs in your possession, and could be as high as 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. 

Drug Crime Charges

If you are facing drug crime charges, you are no doubt concerned about how a conviction may impact your life, your ability to earn a living, whether you will be facing jail time, and the cost of any fines. 

Some drug charges are the result of months or years long investigations, while others occur during a routine traffic stop. If you are concerned that you are under investigation for a drug crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and prevent you from incriminating yourself. 

Drug Possession

A first-time offense for North Dakota drug possession is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 360 days in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, or both. Subsequent offenses may be charged as a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. 

Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute

If you are in possession of a large enough quantity of a controlled substance that law enforcement believes you intend to sell it, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Other evidence of intent may include large amounts of cash, paraphernalia, scales, or packaging materials. 

Possession of a controlled substance listed on Schedule I, II, or III is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Possession with intent to distribute a drug listed on Schedule IV or V is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.   


As of August 1, 2019, the North Dakota Legislature has reduced the punishment associated with possession of marijuana.  Possessing less than one-half ounce is now punishable as an infraction, which means a fine. Possessing at least one-half ounce but less than 500 grams is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $1,500, or both.  If a person possesses more than 500 grams, the person may be charged with a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 360 days of jail, a fine of up to $3,000, or both. Marijuana possession of any amount remains illegal under federal law.   

Federal Drug Charges

Depending on the amount of drugs found in your possession and what you were allegedly doing with them, you could be facing federal drug charges, which carry even more severe penalties.

The most common federal drug crime charge is trafficking drugs. Federal drug charges typically include trafficking, distribution, manufacturing, or cultivating drugs and are often lumped together with additional crimes such as conspiracy charges.

Federal drug crimes are almost always classified as felonies, punishable by at least 1 year in prison, and also include hefty fines.   

Fremstad Law's Drug Crime Defense Lawyers 

If you or someone you care about was charged with a drug crime, get an experienced drug crime defense lawyer on your side as quickly as possible. 

At Fremstad Law, our drug crime defense attorneys will challenge the evidence against you and the manner in which it was collected, whether the drugs were even yours, and the accuracy of the crime lab analysis.  

Our lawyers will zealously defend you, helping you to negotiate a plea bargain or even have the case against you thrown out. 

From our office in Fargo, we defend people throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. 

Learn more about Fremstad Law’s criminal defense practice, our lawyers, and our mission, and contact us today by calling (701) 478-7620. 

Fremstad's Drug Crime Defense Attorneys

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