According to the penal code LA R.S. 40:966, it is unlawful for anyone to possess a controlled substance or drug, unless they have obtained a valid prescription authorized by the law. Drugs are also known as controlled substances, and they include cocaine, heroin, Meth, steroids, marijuana, etc. These drugs are substances that have a high potential for abuse and addiction. They can alter the mind of the user and may be lethal when taken in high doses.
The law in Jefferson Parish is strict with drug possession cases. The penalties are serious and the consequences may affect your life and future. With a drug possession case in Gretna and other cities of Jefferson Parish, you can go from hanging out with friends to sitting in jail in a matter of hours. Also, the troubles of having a criminal record are not easy to live it.
It is important for anyone charged with drug possession crime to know that the place of a criminal defense lawyer in your drug possession case is very important. You may be able to avert grievous consequences or get the best possible outcome by reaching out to the drug possession lawyers at the Barkemeyer Law Firm.
Laws Guiding Drug Possession in Gretna, Kenner, and Metairie
The state law guiding these cities state that whoever is caught with illegal substances is charged for misdemeanor or felony; charges that may go on to put a mark on your criminal record. Also, there is a three-strike rule where you become a felony upon third offense.
However, certain important things must be proven to convict a person of drug possession in Jefferson Parish. These are called “Burden of Proof”;
- Legality: it is on the part of the prosecutor to prove with evidence that the defendant was in possession of drugs or controlled substances under the law. A conviction can only take place if the drug found on the defendant is deemed illegal under the law.
- Knowledge: the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew about the drug or controlled substance found in their possession. This element is to prevent an innocent person from being punished.
- Control: the prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant was in control of the substance, I.e., the drug is found just within the proximity of the defendant. For instance, if the drug was found in the pocket or wallet of the defendant.
How is Drug Possession Punished?
Penalties for drug possession crime is specific to drug schedules. Drugs or controlled substances are placed in five schedules based on the degree of potential abuse and addiction. Jefferson Parish adopts the federal classification of drugs in the order of most dangerous to the least;
- Schedule I Controlled Substances- drugs in this schedule have no medical use and have a high potential for abuse and addiction. They can only be illegally possessed as they cannot be prescribed. Schedule I drugs include Cannabis, Ecstasy, Strong opiates, LSD, peyote, psilocybin, Codeine, and Synthetic cannabinoids.
- Schedule II Controlled Substances- these drugs have a high potential for physiological and physical addiction, but have some accepted medical use. This means that you can only possess these drugs if you have a valid prescription; possession is illegal without a valid prescription. These drugs include Amphetamines, Cocaine, PCP, Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Oxycodone, and Morphine.
- Schedule III Controlled Substances- they have less potential for abuse and addiction when compared to drugs in Schedule I or II. They have some accepted medical use and can only be possessed with a valid prescription. They include Benzenediamine, Ketamine, Buprenorphine, Anabolic steroids, and Depressants like Amobarbitals and Secobarbitals.
- Schedule IV Controlled Substances- drugs here have more medical use and low potential for abuse. They include Alprazolam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Carisoprodol, Triazolam, and Temazepam.
- Schedule V Controlled Substances- drugs in this schedule have even low potential for abuse and higher potential for medical use. They are Barbitals, Fluradoline, Fenfluramine, Ezogabine, and Pentazocine.
What Penalties Will I Possibly Suffer For A Drug Possession Crime?
- Possession of schedule I drugs (except marijuana) is punished by 1 to 10 years in prison, not more than $5,000 fines, or both. Penalties increase upon subsequent violations. For first and second marijuana possession, the defendant shall be punished for up to 6 months and pay a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
- Whoever is found with Schedule II drugs is sentenced to 1 to 5 years imprisonment, made to pay fines up to $5,000, or both. Possession of phencyclidine (PCP) can cause the penalties to increase to 20 years imprisonment.
- Whoever is found with Schedule III drugs shall be imprisoned for 1 to 5 years, fined up to $5,000, or both.
- Whoever is found to possess Schedule IV drugs is imprisoned for 1 to 5 years, fined $5,000, or both. Possession of Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) can attract up to 10 years in prison.
- Possession of drugs in Schedule V is punished by 1 to 5 years imprisonment, fine of $5,000, or both.
What Happens When I Have More Than One Drug Possession Charges?
If you have subsequent drug possession cases or have been charged for drug possession more than once, you will face more serious penalties than a first offender. Upon second or subsequent offense, the defendant shall face twice the applicable prison term and fine.
What Happens When I’m Found With Drugs in A Drug-Free Zone?
Drug-free zones include schools, public parks, universities, day-care, colleges, recreational facilities, and public playgrounds. Possession of drugs in such areas is an aggravating factor that may increase your maximum penalties by one and a half times.
What Can I Do About A Drug Possession Charge?
Don’t listen to whoever says you shouldn’t worry about a small amount. You should worry and you should hire a lawyer. Jefferson Parish is one of the places with the strictest drug possession law, so when it happens to you here, you should hire a lawyer to represent and take up all discussion and procession of the case on your behalf.
Talk To a Drug Possession Lawyer
You deserve legal representation. You deserve to be defended by an experienced and skilled drug possession attorney. Contact our criminal defense attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm at to get the legal representation that you deserve.