Pot Possession and Prostitution Reclassified as Municipal Offenses
Posted on Dec 18, 2010 in Courts, Local Issues
Before Thursday, a person who was found possessing any amount marijuana or involved in prostitution would be immediately arrested because the crimes were only illegal under state law. The New Orleans City Council has voted unanimously to reclassify these and two other minor crimes as municipal offenses, so that an officer has the option of issuing a court summons rather than making an arrest.
This may seem like a reduction in punishment, but Police Superintendant Ronald Serpas claims this change is, “not being soft on crime but smart on crime.” Having been forced to make arrests every time they found the smallest amount of marijuana meant that police officers would be off the street for as long as two hours while they processed the arrestee. The person would then often be released within hours, even if they had not made bail, rendering the officer’s time useless.
The constant arrests also clogged the criminal court system that could be using the time for more serious felony cases. The municipal court is predicted to handle its new case load more quickly than the criminal court has been.
The reclassifications should be easier on the court system and on the arrested party. If you or anyone you know has been served a summons for the possession of marijuana, contact Bloom Legal at 599-9997 for a, no-obligation consultation.