FAQ’s Answered by an Experience New Orleans Drug Defense Law Firm
Louisiana has some of the most severe penalties for drug possession nationwide. A recent report shows that 1 in 5 incarcerated people are behind bars due to a drug offense. In Louisiana specifically, African Americans are nearly three times as likely to be charged with a drug offense when compared to other races. If you or a loved one has been arrested, read the information below to learn more about drug crimes in Louisiana. After that, call 504-599-9997 to reach Bloom Legal, an experienced New Orleans drug defense law firm.
Can You Go To Jail For Drug Possession in Louisiana?
The short answer is yes, but like most criminal proceedings, every situation is unique and circumstantial.
CDSs, or controlled dangerous substances, are broken down into different categories for legal purposes as follows:
- Schedule I – High potential for abuse and no accepted medical use
- Examples: Heroin and strong opiates, hallucinogens, codeine
- Schedule II – Severe psychological or physical dependency, high potential for abuse
- Examples: Cocaine, oxycodone, methamphetamine
- Schedule III – Less potential for abuse, potential medical use
- Examples: anabolic steroids; ketamine
- Schedule IV – low potential for abuse, higher potential for medical use
- Schedule V – still lower potential for abuse and higher for medical use
The penalty for possession depends mainly on what drugs you’re caught with, how much you have on you, and your criminal record. Though marijuana laws are becoming more lax, if you are caught in possession of any other CDS, you will likely face a substantial fine, jail time, probation, or a combination.
What is Intent to Distribute?
Many people who are caught with drugs may receive an intent to sell or distribute charge in addition to a possession charge. This is almost always a felony charge, and can carry substantial fines and jail time.
In some cases, evidence for a distribution charge may be obvious or direct, such as when a person attempts to sell drugs to an undercover officer. However, in most cases, intent to sell or distribute charges are based on circumstantial evidence.
This means that it will be up to the prosecutor to show that the accused had an intent to not only use the drugs themselves, but to sell or distribute to others. Such evidence could take the form of drug paraphernalia for packaging or distributing drugs, large sums of cash, or a witness who claims they’ve bought from or observed the sale of drugs.
Being caught with drugs while crossing state lines or using the mail to send or receive illegal drugs could also illicit a potential to distribute charge, and could even involve federal charges.
If you have been charged with intent to distribute, you will likely be facing serious consequences. You should contact a New Orleans drug defense law firm as soon as possible, and do not admit or give any information to a police officer before you do.
What If I am Charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia can cover a large range of objects, from pipes to needles, to baggies and spoons. Drug paraphernalia charges in Louisiana are typically misdemeanors—however they are enhanceable offenses, so multiple charges can result in a felony.
Paraphernalia charges often rely heavily on context. That is, if law enforcement finds drugs on your person or property, or have reason to believe you may be in possession of drugs, then otherwise ordinary objects may take on new meaning and be cast as paraphernalia.
If any drug residue whatsoever is found on paraphernalia in your possession, you will face a potential drug charge. We have seen cases where even the most minimal amount of residue has resulted in serious drug charges.
Are You Facing Drug Charges? Fight for Your Rights with a Top New Orleans Drug Defense Law Firm
If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, you need an experienced drug defense attorney on your side. At Bloom Legal, our lawyers have been helping individuals in New Orleans and the surrounding area combat their drug charges for a decade and a half.
Louisiana has some of the strictest drug laws in the United States. Don’t get caught up in the system. If you have been charged with possession or intent to distribute, it’s important to contact a drug defense lawyer as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in these types of matters. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let our New Orleans drug defense law firm get to work building your defense.
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I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie