Being charged with a drug crime in the state of Louisiana can be extremely stressful. Most drug charges carry the weight of heavy penalties including fines and incarceration. The State of Louisiana treats drug offenses harshly, particularly offenses involving personal use. Two of the most prominent drug laws are Possession and Intent To Sell. Many people believe that these two laws are one in the same, but they’re different. To abide by the laws, it’s important to understand them. We’re going to cover Louisiana laws regarding Possession and Intent To Sell so you have a grasp on what to expect when facing a charge of one or both.
What are the Drug Possession Laws in Louisiana?
According to the law, possession is defined as having an illegal substance on your person and within ready reach. In Louisiana, possession is broken down into two categories – actual possession and constructive possession. Here’s how actual and constructive possession differs.
Actual Possession: Actual possession of drugs is when the illegal substance is on your person. That means it’s in your hands or pockets, attached to an article of clothing or your body. An example of a situation when you could be charged with actual possession is being pulled over by the police and the officer notices drugs in your hand.
Constructive Possession: Constructive possession is when the illegal substance is within arm’s reach and can easily be controlled by you. An example of a situation when you could be charged with constructive possession is being pulled over by the police and the officer sees drugs laying on the seat beside you.
The penalties for actual or constructive possession in Louisiana vary depending on the type of drug in your possession. Schedule I drugs carry higher penalties than Schedule II drugs. Schedule V drugs carry the least severe consequences.
What Does the Law Say About Intent To Sell?
Intent to sell is when a person who has drugs in their possession intends to give them or sell them to another person. You can be charged with intent to sell if an officer sees you handing the drugs to another individual or communication is found regarding the sale or passing of these drugs. Intent to Sell in Louisiana is considered a third-degree felony, which can result in up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Like most other charges, the penalties for intent to sell become more severe if you face additional charges. If you’re a repeat offender, you can expect to face a long prison term and thousands of dollars in fines. Furthermore, it will become difficult to obtain employment, housing, and other lifestyle necessities.
Understanding Drug Laws In Louisiana
It’s important to understand that being charged with a drug-related offense doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless. To be convicted of a drug crime, the prosecution will need solid evidence. If law enforcement is unable to obtain credible evidence or your defense attorney can show weakness in the evidence they’ve found, you’re more likely to be able to have a favorable outcome.
Secure a Trusted Drug Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with possession or intent to sell drugs, your best course of action is to secure an experienced drug defense attorney. They can help you navigate the process and create a defense that will mitigate any charges you face.
Your freedom is too important to gamble with. Don’t put your future at risk by waiting or hiring an inexperienced lawyer. Hire a focused drug defense attorney that understands the system and knows how to get positive results.
Attorney Eric Johnson of The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm has more than 25 years of experience representing clients facing drug charges. He is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and has access to the resources you need to make a compelling case.
To schedule a free consultation with Eric Johnson, call 318-177-1555 or contact us online today.