What are the penalties in Minnesota for transporting marijuana in a motor vehicle? The answer depends on the weight of the marijuana and its location. If the police find a "small amount of marijuana" in the trunk of your car, the offense is only a petty misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $300.00 and no jail time. A small amount of marijuana is defined as 42.5 grams or less. See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=152.01. A petty misdemeanor offense is not considered a crime in Minnesota.
What if the police find marijuana in the passenger compartment of your car? The penalties will increase depending on the weight. If the police find 1.4 grams or less of marijuana in the passenger compartment, it's only a petty misdemeanor offense. See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=152.027 If the weight of the marijuana is more than 1.4 grams but less than 42.6 grams, you can be charged with a more serious misdemeanor offense for possessing marijuana in a motor vehicle. The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction in Minnesota are a jail sentence of 0 and 90 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.
What are the penalties if the marijuana found by the police weighs more than 42.5 grams? Again, the penalties increase because of the weight. You can now be charged with the felony level offense of controlled substance crime in the fifth degree. See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=152.025. If the weight of the marijuana found by police exceeds 42.5 grams, the location of the marijuana in your car no longer matters.
The drug law in Minnesota does not punish you as harshly when marijuana is transported in the trunk of your car and weights less than 42.5 grams. In fact, it's not even a crime.
If the police find marijuana in your car, do you still have a defense? Yes, depending on the circumstances of your case. The stop of your car by the police may have been illegal. The search of your car by the police may have been illegal. You may be eligible for a drug diversion program. If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana in a motor vehicle, you will need the "Best Defense." Call Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Robert J. Shane for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024 or read his blog for more tips and defenses at www.criminallawyerminnesota.com.