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What happens when charged with drug possession in Louisian
02Sep

What Happens When Charged With Drug Possession In Louisiana? 

What Happens When Charged With Drug Possession In Louisiana? 

In this post, you will learn what happens when charged with drug possession in Louisiana.  Read along to learn everything you need to know.

Louisiana is one of the top five U.S. states known to have the harshest penalties for drug possession, with officials that will pursue the maximum sentence. If you are being charged in Louisiana, it is vitally essential for you to know how drug possession is prosecuted and how the maximum sentence differs depending on what classification that drug falls under.

Remember, every drug possession and drug trafficking case in Louisiana is considered to be a serious drug charge. You could end up in a jail cell within a matter of a few short hours after being arrested, and if you are convicted, you could spend up to ten years in prison for one drug possession charge. Multiple drug offenses could result in a sentence of up to forty years! This article will break down the classifications of each type of drug possession charge and their maximum sentences in detail. Then, we will provide you with a general overview of the sentencing process so you will be prepared for what happens when charged with drug possession in Louisiana.

 Fighting drug charges in Louisiana

Marijuana Possession 

Louisiana passed House Bill 652 on August 1st, 2021, to amend the state law to limit the charges for possession of under 14 grams of marijuana to no more than a fine of $100.00 and no arrest or jail time. This also applies if the offender has prior marijuana convictions. 

However, possession of over 14 grams still has some severe penalties. We’ve provided this chart for quick reference:

AmountPenalty Incarceration Maximum Fine
14g-less than 2.5 lbs.Misdemeanor6 Months$100
2.5 lbs.-less than 60 lbs.Felony2-10 Years$500.00
60 lbs- less than 2,000 lbs.Felony5-30 Years$30,000
2,000 lbs-under 10,000 lbs.Felony10-40 Years $100,000
10,000 lbs. or moreFelony25-40 Years$1,000,000

Please keep in mind that all types of possession, distribution, or cultivation within 2,000 feet of a Drug-Free Zone are punishable by 1.5 times the maximum sentence.   

Schedule I, II, And III Drug Possession Charges 

Schedule I, II, and III Drug Possession charges are always a felony. These drugs are subject to the harshest sentences and the highest fines due to their dangerously high rates of abuse, addiction, and death. We’ve provided a chart below of  the maximum penalties and sentences for each category in the table below:

Schedule I: Heroin, Ecstasy(MDMA), Hallucinogens, Cocaine, Angel DustMaximum Fines Between $500-$5,000Max Sentence of 40+ Years
Schedule II: Opium, Narcotics, Stimulants, GHBMaximum Fine of $5,000, $600,000 For Stimulants Max Sentence of 30+ Years
Schedule III: Barbiturates, Depressants, and Steroids Maximum Fine of $5,000Max Sentence of up to 5 years 
Schedule IV: Prescription Drugs, Low Abuse Risk Maximum Fine of $5,000Max Sentence of up to 5 Years 

Other Penalties

Here is a list of other penalties you may receive in addition to the ones already listed:

  • Probation
  • Treatment Programs
  • Suspension/loss of license (Please Note: Any person over 19 convicted of any drug-related crime will lose driving privileges for no less than 30 days but no more than 1 year 
  • Community service
  • Ineligibility for scholarships/financial aid
  • Ineligibility for some government jobs
  • Ineligibility for public housing
  • Inability to obtain some kinds of employment 
  • Ineligible for a state license or certification

 The Legal Process For Drug Possession 

In Louisiana, the legal process following a charge of possession of illegal substances is fairly straightforward. In this section, we will list the steps for a first offense drug possession charge and provide a brief description. 

  • After arrest, your arrest file will be sent to the Office of the District Attorney.
  • After an estimated period of four weeks after the arrest, a receipt of this file will be assigned to an individual prosecutor who will retain possession of it until you appear in court or pay your fee, depending on the crime.
  • An average period of two weeks later, the prosecutor will review this file and determine how to proceed with the trial. If they determine there is insufficient evidence, they may decide to forgo a trial altogether. 
  • If a trial is deemed necessary, you will be given a date to appear before a judge in court for your arraignment. You have the right to an attorney and will be provided one if you cannot afford one. 
  • If you find yourself charged with a misdemeanor, you will receive a trial date after the arraignment hearing. If you are being charged with a felony, you will likely be assigned a motion date instead. After the motion hearing, you will then be assigned a trial date.
  • If charged with both misdemeanors and felonies, you’ll also need a status date before your trial for the prosecutor and defense attorneys to settle any outstanding issues. 
  • On the assigned date, you will attend the trial, where you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. After the court proceedings, it will be decided whether you are guilty or not. If you are found guilty, you will receive your sentence from the judge and need to return to court to either pay your fines or serve your jail sentence. 

When To Get A Lawyer

Drug possession is never a matter to take lightly, but in the state of Louisiana, it is especially crucial to have the best legal representation you can to help mitigate or avoid serious ramifications. For drug charges such as heroin possession, cocaine charges, drug trafficking and other offenses, it’s especially crucial to hire the best attorney in your area.  Failing to do so can lead to the loss of your social life, career, money and even freedom.  For this reason and many others, it’s crucial to hire an attorney as soon as possible.

Final Takeaway

Drug possession charges are never something to take lightly, especially considering that penalties for those charges can vary drastically from state to state. You must know the facts about the laws for possession for the state you were charged in. With this article, you now have a general understanding of what happens when charged with drug possession in Louisiana. If you find yourself arrested on drug charges in the Shreveport, Covington, or New Orleans areas, contact Barkemeyer Law Firm to gain the representation you need. 

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Louisiana Criminal Lawyers

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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