Louisiana has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. In Louisiana, getting caught in possession of medication without a prescription is a serious offense. Although there are well-intentioned reasons—helping a friend or treating your pain—illegal possession of prescription drugs can have serious consequences. If you are arrested for illegally possessing medication, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Here are some things you should know about illegal medication possession in Louisiana.
Are Prescriptions Legally Required for Medication Possession in Louisiana?
It can be tempting to diminish the importance of prescriptions, but those seemingly frivolous slips of papers are legal documents. In Louisiana, it is illegal to be in possession of a medication without a prescription.
When you are given a prescription, it is viewed as your legal right to access the listed medications and drugs. A prescription is designated solely for the person whose name appears on the slip. If you were to give your prescribed medication to another person, you would be in serious violation of Louisiana law.
When you receive an RX slip, where it comes from is also important. In a time when prescription drug abuse is a nationwide problem, authorities are taking extra steps to ensure doctors are issuing prescriptions responsibly. Any doctor or licensed person distributing prescriptions in an irresponsible manner can face severe consequences.
What are the Penalties for Illegal Medication Possession?
The penalties for illegal medication possession depend on a variety of factors, primarily the quantity of the drug in your possession. You will face much greater consequences if you are caught with a large supply of prescription drugs than if you are caught with a single container of pills.
The severity of your charges also depends on if you are prosecuted at the federal or state level. Federal prosecutors are known for being more severe in their charges than state prosecutors. However, in Louisiana, illegal prescription drug possession is considered a serious criminal offense, and if you are charged, you can expect substantial consequences.
What Happens if I’m Arrested for Illegal Possession of Medication?
If you are arrested for illegal possession of a medication, a file describing your charges is sent to the District Attorney. After reviewing your file, the District Attorney will assign your case to a state prosecutor. The state prosecutor will examine your file and devise a case to make against you in court. However, if the prosecutor determines there is a lack of sufficient evidence, they may dismiss your case. Conversely, if the prosecutor identifies incriminating evidence, they will set a court date for your trial. During this process, it is best to have an attorney to help you navigate the complexities of the legal process.
Drug Possession Convictions in Louisiana
In Louisiana, to prove felony drug possession, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant performed certain actions and had the situational awareness to warrant a felony. The prosecutor must prove:
- The defendant had medication in their possession without a prescription.
- The defendant was aware that the possession of the medication was illegal.
- The defendant was aware they were in possession of the illegal mediation at the time they were caught.
In order to gain a conviction, the prosecutor must establish these claims. If a defendant was unaware that the medication they were in possession of was illegal or that it was placed in their car or home, they could avoid felony charges.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Louisiana
Many people are unaware of the laws surrounding medication possession. If you’ve been charged with illegal prescription drug possession, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. In Louisiana, you can find experienced, reputable drug defense lawyers at The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. With over 25 years of experience, attorney Eric Johnson knows how to devise a successful defense strategy. To schedule a free consultation, call (318) 377-1555 or complete our online contact form.