Guest Author Series – Drug Possession
Posted on Nov 7, 2012 in Personal Injury
Drug Possession in Louisiana Carries Long Prison Sentences
Louisiana divides hundreds of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) into five categories referred to as “schedules.” The schedules separate the types of narcotics by the level of probability for abuse relative to the medical value of substance. Schedule I narcotics have the greatest probability of abuse and no medicinal value. The remaining Schedules II through V contain less dangerous drugs that have valued medical properties. Hundreds of controlled substances are classified according the five Schedules in Louisiana statute , which includes the components used to manufacture drugs.
If you or someone is know is charged with drug possession, the name of the controlled substances will be listed under one of the five schedules of the statute.
Louisiana Drug Possession Penalties Are Among Strictest
In Louisiana, possession of any controlled substance without a prescription is illegal, and the penalty will depend on which schedule the controlled substance falls under.
Louisiana’s penalties for drug possession are very stiff, even for drugs that are commonly prescribed by doctors to those that need them. For instance, under Schedules V and IV, which contain less dangerous drugs, the legal penalties include fines up to $5000, up to 5 or 10 years in prison, or both.
The fines and prison time become truly shocking for Schedule I and II drug offenses. For instance possession of 400 grams of a Schedule I drug may incur a fine of $250,000 up to $600,000 and anywhere from 15-30 years in prison.
It is important to remember that these are the penalties merely for possession – even for personal use, without any intent to sell the drugs to others, which would be an even stricter offense.
Illegal Search: A Defense to Drug Possession Charges
With the legal penalties as severe as they are, it is paramount that if you are charged with a drug offense, you mount a strong defense by hiring a competent attorney.
The burden is on the Louisiana prosecutor to prove that you were in possession of the controlled substance. The strongest defense may be to show that evidence was obtained by an unlawful search of your person, home, car, or personal possessions.
If the search in which the drug evidence was discovered was unlawful, then the evidence may not be admitted to the court. Without evidence of drug possession, it will be unlikely that you will be found guilty.
The Fourth Amendment of the Unites States Constitution guarantees everyone the right to be free of unlawful searches and seizures. If the police don’t find the drugs in plain sight, they must have a lawful reason for searching your person or home. It is illegal for police to arbitrarily decide to search a person. Therefore, if the police unlawfully conducted the search, the drugs cannot be used at trial, and the charges are, in most instances, dismissed.
“I don’t know how they got there!”
The prosecution has the burden to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you were in possession of the controlled substance. If an accused person simply claims that the drugs do not belong to him or her, or that he or she doesn’t know how they turned up in their car, the prosecutors will have the challenge of proving that the controlled substance belongs to the defendant and not another person present in the car.
Defending drug charges requires the skill and savvy of an attorney familiar with the controlled substance law and the constitutional defenses available to defendants. The risk of an exorbitant fine and decades of prison time are simply too great a risk for a person charged with a drug offense in Louisiana not to seek the assistance of an aggressive criminal defense law firm.
Adam Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law Firm is a criminal defense lawyer in Passaic, New Jersey. Adam had handled many cases dealing with drug possession, intent to sell drugs and selling drugs charges in New Jersey.