Mike Brandt’s client was charged in Hennepin County District Court with First Degree Drug Sale after he was arrested and found with nearly 60 grams of methamphetamine along with a loaded firearm. Because of various laws imposing mandatory minimum sentences, Mike’s client was looking at 5 ½ years in prison. Additionally, there is a specific statute, Minnesota Statute § 609.11, that says that when a firearm is used in the commission of an offense, the defendant must be sentenced to prison.

In preparing the case, Mike took a “double-barreled approach” to the case. Mike thoroughly investigated this case and file motions to challenge the rest of his client. Mike also worked with his client to demonstrate to the judge (as well as probation) that his client was not appropriate for prison, was an appropriate candidate for a “departure,” and that he could succeed on probation. On the day scheduled for the hearing to challenge the rest of his client, Mike successfully negotiated a resolution that resulted in his client being put on probation instead of going to prison.

While the state adamantly opposed the departure because of the dangerous nature of the gun and the drugs, the judge agreed with Mike and granted Mike’s client a dispositional departure. This means that instead of sentencing his client to prison for 5 ½ years, the judge placed Mike’s client on probation with various conditions. While Mike’s client had to serve some jail time, the judge did authorize that he would be allowed to work and would be able to continue to support his family and maintain some normalcy in his life while on probation.