CASE LAW UPDATE: Whether a petty misdemeanor conviction under chapter 152 constitutes a prior conviction for subsequent enhancement purposes?
Defendant was convicted of domestic assault. He was sentenced. He appealed his sentence. Defendant had a 2005 petty misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana, and, a 2007 5th degree controlled substance conviction. The issue on appeal was whether defendant’s 2007 5th degree conviction should be counted a gross misdemeanor, or, as a felony, when calculating his criminal history score. Convictions for possession of controlled substances are gross misdemeanors if the defendant “has not been previously convicted of a violation of” chapter 152, the chapter involving drug convictions. Defendant argued that his 2005 petty misdemeanor possession of marijuana should not count as a previous conviction under chapter 152, and consequently, his 2007 5th degree controlled substance should have been counted as a gross misdemeanor, and not a felony (resulting in a lower criminal history points and a shorter sentence on his current domestic assault conviction). The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the phrase “convicted of a violation of” chapter 152 includes a petty misdemeanor violation of chapter 152! This means that a subsequent conviction can be enhanced because of a prior PETTY MISDEMEANOR conviction of chapter 152, which includes possession of a small amount of marijuana, or possession of paraphernalia!
State v. Morgan, A19-1902, Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.