The meaning of a crime goes to the heart of that crime, it is the definition of a crime, its penalties, and exceptions according to what the Law that regulates it provides. Possession with Intent to Distribute drugs in Louisiana is a felony, regardless of the type of drug. The type of drug and the amount determines the sentencing range for the charge. It varies greatly.
Possession of drugs is having under your control substances and drugs that are controlled by the laws of the state, this alone can be a serious crime when the intention to distribute is added the penalties substantially increases. Possession with intent to distribute therefore means:
- You produce, or distribute drugs without the authorization from the right authority or permit from the state.
- You manufacture methamphetamine, disburse, or share any substance that is classified as a controlled dangerous substance.
- Having under your control and intending to distribute a fake substance that is controlled by the laws of the State.
These circumstances cover the scope of this crime.
Elements of Possession with Intent to Distribute
To be convicted of this crime, the necessary elements of the crime would have to be proven by the prosecutor in court. Proving these elements is non-negotiable, these elements are:
- The defendant was in possession of a substance or had under their control substances.
- The substance was drugs or controlled dangerous substances.
- The quantity of said substance was enough to be distributed.
- The defendant had the intention to distribute such substance or it could be inferred reasonably that the defendant intended to distribute such substance.
- The defendant knew they were in possession of such substances.
- The defendant did all these willingly and knowingly.
- The actions of the defendant were not within any exceptions provided by the law.
When these elements come together they form the crime of possession with intent to distribute in St. Tammany Parish District Court.
Penalties of Possession with Intent to Distribute
A conviction for any crime carries penalties, these penalties can be severe. For possession with intent to distribute in Covington, the penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the case, they are:
- For a narcotic drug in the first schedule of the Revised Statutes if convicted for possession with intent to distribute the penalty is imprisonment for at least 5 years and a maximum of 50 years. The first five years shall be with hard labor without any chance of getting parole, suspended sentence, or probation, you can also be asked to pay a fine of up to 50,000 dollars.
- For other substances contained in the first schedule if convicted you shall be imprisoned for at least five years and a maximum of 30 years with hard labor, this sentence shall for the minimum 5 years be without the possibility of a suspended sentence, parole, or probation. You can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to 50,000 dollars.
- If the substance is like marijuana the range of sentences becomes 5-30 years with hard labor and fine of up to 50,000 dollars.
- If the drugs possessed with intent to distribute is one that the convict is supposed to have a prescription for or order of a lawful authority before possessing the penalty comes from 4-10 years and fine of up to 5000 dollars. The prison term will be with hard labor.
- If the drug or substance is Phencyclidine then the sentence becomes 5 – 20 years without or with hard labor and fined with a maximum of 5000 dollars or both.
- If the substance is any other CDS that is controlled as mentioned in the first schedule then the penalty becomes a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to 5000 dollars, the prison term is with hard labor.
Some other penalties for possession with intent to distribute includes:
- If the narcotic drug weighs between 28 to 199 grams the penalty would be imprisonment with hard labor from 5-30 years and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 dollars.
- If the narcotic drugs weigh from 200 to 399 grams then the penalties shall be imprisonment with hard labor for 10 to 30 years and a fine of 100,000 to 350,000 dollars.
- If the narcotic drugs weigh from 400 grams and above the imprisonment shall be with hard labor for 15 to 30 years and fine of 250,000 to 600,000 dollars.
The penalties are numerous and complex, this is why it is important to get a Covington criminal defense attorney like Barkemeyer Law Firm.
Possible Defenses Against Possession with Intent to Distribute
Having the right defense to a crime could be the difference between spending most of the rest of your life in prison and having a fulfilled life outside prison. Here are possible defenses to the aforementioned crime:
- Lack of knowledge: for the prosecutor’s case to succeed he would have to prove that you knew you were in possession of the drugs in question thus if you can establish that you had no knowledge of the drugs or them being under control you would have a viable defense.
- Lawful Possession: if you have a prescription for the drugs you are in possession of or valid authority to possess such drugs in such quantities then you would have a good defense.
No matter the defense you want to use, you need a vibrant defense attorney like Barkemeyer Law Firm to help you.
814 W. 21st Avenue
Covington, LA 70433