When it comes to drug arrests and drug crimes in the United States, the statistics are alarming. There have been more than 1.5 million arrests and $47 million spent on drug crimes in the United States each year. The state of Louisiana is no exception to these statistics. Louisiana now sends more people to prison for non-violent crimes, such as drug offenses, than other comparable states.
If you live in or visit Louisiana, it’s important to understand the state’s drug laws and the consequences of being charged with a drug offense. Charges can fall into two broad categories, so let’s look at the difference between constructive possession and actual possession of drugs in Louisiana.
Actual vs. Constructive Possession of Drugs
Actual possession of drugs is when someone is caught with drugs on their person. Most charges take place following a pat-down. An example of actual possession is when drugs are found in a bag in your shoe or a container in your pocket.
Constructive possession is a more complicated charge. While actual possession is when drugs are found on a person’s body, constructive possession occurs when drugs are found within the vicinity of that person. An example of constructive possession is when drugs are found in a person’s vehicle while that person is in the car.
Consequences for Drug Possession in Louisiana
Whether you’re charged with actual possession or constructive possession of drugs, the penalties are potentially severe. In the state of Louisiana, nearly all drug possession crimes are subject to steep fines, incarceration, loss of your driver’s license, and mandatory community service. The type of penalties you face will be determined by whether you were in control of the drugs and the purpose you had for their use. Furthermore, if you’re found guilty of drug trafficking, drug distribution, or drug manufacturing, the penalties become even more severe.
Viable Drug Possession Defense Strategies
Defense strategies for drug possession are highly dependent on the circumstances surrounding the possession. Possible defense strategies for both constructive and actual possession include:
- Unlawful Search & Seizure
- Medical Marijuana Exception
- Drugs Belonging to Someone Else
- Crime Lab Analysis
- Missing Drugs
Although it’s easier to create a defense strategy for constructive possession than actual possession, a good attorney will be able to analyze the case and determine which strategy will stand up best in court.
Proven Drug Possession Lawyers Near You
The moment you’re charged with a drug crime, the best thing you can do for your future is to find a trusted drug possession lawyer. If you’re charged with either constructive or actual possession of drugs in Louisiana, you’re lucky to have credible attorneys in your back yard – The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm.
With more than 25 years of experience, our attorneys understand drug charges in Louisiana and have developed a unique approach with the prosecution. All our attorneys are also certified by the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers and are members of the Louisiana Bar Association. To schedule your free consultation today, call our office at 318-377-1555 or use our online contact form! We’re ready to give you the help you need!