From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Louisiana is brimming with opportunities for fun and excitement. Unfortunately, when people start having fun, things can sometimes get out of control rather quickly. Louisiana is one of the most active locations for drug charges in the United States and thousands of people are arrested each year.
If you or someone you know has recently been charged with a drug offense, you might be wondering if you or they will face penalties for a misdemeanor or a felony charge. There are multiple levels of drug charges in Louisiana. Here, we’re going to find out how different possession charges are classified in Louisiana.
What Happens When You’re Charged With Possession in Louisiana?
According to the law, drug possession is “…When someone has on his or her person, or available for his or her use, a small amount of an illegal substance for the purpose of consuming or using it but without the intent to sell or give it to anyone else.”
You can be charged with possession if you have drugs on your person for personal use or to give or sell it to someone else.
Once you’re charged with possession, you’ll be arrested and your case will be sent to a prosecutor. From there, you’ll be given a court date. Depending on the nature of your charges, you’ll either need to appear in court or an attorney will settle your case beforehand. To be able to convict you for possession, the prosecution will need to be able to prove that you were in either actual or constructive possession of the drugs.
Remember, whenever you’re charged with a drug crime, you have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney on your own, you’re entitled to the state’s attorney. A credible and experienced attorney will be able to use the details of your case to build a viable defense that works in your favor.
What Constitutes a Drug Possession Felony in Louisiana?
When you’re charged with possession in Louisiana, it can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony. There are multiple factors that determine the classification. The most common factors for determining whether a crime is a misdemeanor or felony include:
- The amount of illegal substance you have
- The schedule of the illegal substance
- The number of prior drug charges you’ve faced
- Whether or not you intended to sell the drugs
Other factors that can impact your charges include where you were found in possession of the drugs and whether you’re a minor or an adult. Typically, the greater the potential for abuse the substance has and the more of it you possess, the more aggressive the charge. So, large amounts of a Schedule I substance will likely lead to a felony charge, which carries severe consequences that could follow you for life.
You Could Face Serious Penalties for Drug Possession
Schedule I drugs are the most illicit types of drugs and if you’re found with them, you will likely be charged with a felony. Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, however, you will face serious penalties. A felony is the most serious criminal classification in Louisiana so the penalties are the most severe. Common penalties for a felony drug possession include:
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Up to 5 years in prison
If you’re found with more than 400 grams of a Schedule I substance, the penalties are increased and you can face up to $600,000 in fines and up to 30 years incarceration. Working with an attorney could help you plead to a lesser charge or have your charges eliminated. The facts of your case will determine your options for a strong defense, but it’s up to a skilled lawyer to gather those facts and look into how the police handled your arrest.
Get an Experienced Drug Defense Attorney On Your Side
In any situation, drug charges can have a highly detrimental impact on your daily life and your future. Being charged with a drug crime makes it difficult to obtain your driver’s license, employment, public housing, college, and many other lifestyle necessities.
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you need a trustworthy and experienced attorney on your side. In Louisiana, The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm has focused on defending drug charges for decades. Attorney Eric G. Johnson has more than 25 years of experience protecting the rights of the criminally accused across Louisiana. He is a member of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. To schedule a free consultation, call 318-377-1555 or contact us online.