Only an Experienced New Orleans Drug Defense Attorney Can Help if You’re Arrested for a Drug Crime
In New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, thousands of individuals are convicted of drug crimes every year. Not only do state and federal prosecutors aggressively pursue charges related to drug manufacturing, dealing, and trafficking, but even “simple” possession charges can and do result in significant time behind bars. In fact, a recent study found that drug possession is the most common crime for newly sentenced prisoners in Louisiana, and more than half of new prison sentences for drug crimes are for possession only. Fighting the charges can be overwhelming and almost impossible without the assistance of an experienced New Orleans drug defense attorney. If you are facing drug charges of any kind, you need to act quickly to protect your rights and preserve your future. At Bloom Legal, our attorneys have extensive experience and a track record of success defending clients against all types of drug charges. Our New Orleans drug defense attorneys are available 24/7, so we can be of assistance when you need us the most – immediately following your arrest. When you contact us, we will immediately move to evaluate your situation, advise you of your options, and begin preparing the strategy best suited to your situation. We understand what’s at stake – nothing less than your freedom and your future. That is why we are tireless in our defense of each person we have the privilege to represent.
Aggressive Defense for All Drug Charges in New Orleans
If you are arrested for a drug offense, you could be facing state charges that could result in incarceration in the Louisiana State Penitentiary or be charged for federal drug crimes that could send you to a far-flung federal prison for years or decades. While crimes such as possession are far more likely to stay at the state level, certain activities, such as drug distribution and trafficking offenses that involve travel over state lines, will be pursued by federal prosecutors. Regardless of whether you are facing charges in state or federal court, and from simple possession of small quantities of drugs to large-scale drug trafficking, Bloom Legal provides effective and strategic defense with the goal of having charges dismissed altogether, reduced to a lesser offense, or minimizing the consequences of such charges. A New Orleans drug defense attorney at Bloom Legal will defend you against all drug charges, including:
- Possession of Marijuana. While some states have legalized the recreational possession and use of marijuana, Louisiana is not one of them. Though Louisiana’s previously draconian penalties for marijuana possession have been reduced somewhat and possession of small amounts of pot have been decriminalized in New Orleans, Louisiana still has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. Outside of New Orleans, even a first-offense possession of a single joint could result in jail time, and police officers still retain the option of charging suspects under state marijuana law. If you are caught with large quantities of marijuana, you could face extremely serious charges, including possession with intent to sell, which could result in years behind bars.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance. If you are arrested for possessing any amount of an illegal drug other than marijuana, whether it be cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy or any other controlled substance, you will likely be facing felony charges, with the costly fines and lengthy prison terms that follow a conviction.
- Possession with Intent to Distribute. As noted, you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute simply for possessing large amounts of an illegal drug, even if you had no actual intent to sell. Without the help of an experienced drug defense attorney, you could be facing years in state prison upon conviction.
- Drug Trafficking. The amount of time you will spend in either federal or state prison if convicted on drug trafficking charges will depend on a number of factors, such as the kind and amount of drug at issue as well as your previous criminal history. One thing you can depend on, however, is that prosecutors will seek the harshest possible sentence for drug trafficking crimes, which often involve mandatory minimum sentences. For example, if convicted on federal drug trafficking charges involving between 500 and 4,999 grams of cocaine, you will face up to 40 years of incarceration.
- DUI Drug Charges. Driving while under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs can result in a DUI charge and convictions. There is not a legal limit that must be met before an arrest can be made.
- Prescription Drug Charges. While recent changes to Louisiana law reduced prison sentences for certain drug possession convictions, the explosion in prescription drug abuse and resulting crimes has led to a crackdown on prescription drug offenses in New Orleans, such as prescription fraud. Illegal possession of several prescription medications, especially the opioids that are at the center of the prescription drug crisis, now come with a mandatory one-year minimum prison sentence.
Discussion on Felony Arrests for Drug Charges
A New Orleans Drug Defense Attorney Can Help with Search and Seizure Matters, Too
Drunk driving checkpoints are one place law enforcement may attempt to search you or your vehicle. These checkpoints get set up regularly around the city. Police officers usually set them up at popular intersections, or along primary roadways in an attempt to proactively prevent drunk driving. It’s possible, however, that a stop can lead to the police discovering drugs in your possession and a drug crime arrest.
When you pull up to a sobriety checkpoint you will be required to stop. Police officers in Louisiana are required by law to stop everyone, in order to protect Fourth Amendment rights. In theory, this is to prevent discrimination and the officers’ own biases from determining who gets stopped or not.
Once stopped, it is still up to the officer to make a judgement call as to whether the driver might be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. They may also ask to search your person and/or vehicle.
If you feel that you were singled out or treated unfairly or differently than others at a traffic stop, you should call a New Orleans drug defense lawyer to discuss your options. As with a traffic stop, you also have the right to refuse an unwarranted search at a sobriety checkpoint. Know your rights, remain calm and courteous, and you should be okay.
How to Refuse a Search of Your Vehicle or Person
You are legally within your rights to refuse an unwarranted search of your person or property.
Always remain calm and courteous to the officer or officers, even if they do not return the sentiment.
If you are asked to step out from the car, an officer may begin patting down or frisking you. You are legally within your rights to refuse this type of search. Speak calmly and say something like “Officer, I do not consent to this search.” Never resist physically or touch the officer, as you may be putting yourself in danger.
Police are well aware of the consent rule, and may often attempt to gain your consent without your knowledge. They may say something like, “Mind if I take a look around your vehicle?” Or even phrase it like a command: “I’m going to look around your vehicle.” However, they cannot legally do so until you give your consent. Be careful what you say, and if they ask, calmly and politely indicate to them that you are not comfortable with them searching your vehicle. If you believe you have been searched illegally or targeted unfairly at a traffic stop or sobriety checkpoint, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Bloom Legal. We can help you get out of jail, and will do everything in our power to not only get your belongings returned to you, but also to get your charge reduced or thrown out.
What are the Penalties for a Prescription Drug Crime in New Orleans?
The state of Louisiana considers prescription drugs to be controlled substances. That’s why you are required a doctor’s prescription to legally obtain medicines like:
The state classifies all controlled dangerous substances, or CDSs, into five schedules. It considers drugs with high addiction potential and few therapeutic uses Schedule I products. It places items with low risk of addiction and several legitimate uses in Schedule V. Heroine and LSD are Schedule I drugs. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are Schedule V drugs. According to the law, one can only be in possession of any medications listed on these schedules if they possess a legally-obtained prescription or the drug falls into an excepted category.
Statutes set the possible penalties for possession of controlled dangerous substances. Penalties vary depending on the type of drug. In general, the harshest penalties apply to crimes involving Schedule I drugs.
Other factors that influence possible penalties include whether you’ve been charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute. Distribution convictions carry longer possible terms of imprisonment and heavier fines than simple possession charges. The law often requires enhanced punishment for repeat convictions. Prosecutors can also charge you with additional crimes related to how you obtained the prescription. Additional crimes like forgery or identity theft can increase your sentencing exposure.
If you’re facing a possession of controlled substance charge in New Orleans, the best way to get a complete understanding of the possible penalties you face if convicted is to speak with a New Orleans drug defense attorney well-versed in Louisiana drug and sentencing law. Understanding the full range of possible penalties is the first step when it comes to making an informed decision about how to move forward with your case.
Fighting Drug Charges at Every Turn
A successful defense against drug charges requires challenging prosecutors at every turn. From the moment you come into contact with police officers, your rights are at issue. Any violation of those rights, from an improper traffic stop to an illegal search to wrongfully obtained evidence, can be a basis for having evidence excluded or charges dismissed. At Bloom Legal, our New Orleans drug defense attorneys take a thorough and meticulous approach to review the circumstances of your arrest, pursue exculpatory evidence, and attack the veracity and credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses. We will fight charges relentlessly when warranted, but will also work to negotiate the most favorable plea arrangements possible when that offers a better likelihood of a favorable outcome. For less serious drug charges, this can include diversion to drug court, where probation accompanied by regular drug testing, education, and treatment may be granted in lieu of prison time.
Call Bloom Legal Today to Speak With an Experienced New Orleans Drug Defense Attorney
Police and prosecutors don’t keep regular hours when pursuing drug crime charges. You can be arrested and charged at any hour of the day, and consulting with an experienced legal team should be the first thing you do. That is why the drug defense attorneys at Bloom Legal are available at any time, every single day. If you have been charged with a drug crime in New Orleans or anywhere else in Louisiana, call Bloom Legal as soon as possible at 504-599-9997 or contact us online now.
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Posted By: Sarah Perrie