Consult a New Orleans Drug Defense Lawyer When Arrested for a Marijuana Related Crime
Marijuana is a highly debated drug in this country. Though many stated have legalized marijuana and New Orleans allows it in certain situations, marijuana still remains an illegal substance in most of Louisiana. If you find yourself arrested for marijuana possession, it’s best to consult with a New Orleans drug defense lawyer.
Marijuana Fines and Penalties in New Orleans
In New Orleans, recent legislation has decriminalized marijuana possession in many instances. Individuals caught in possession of any amount of marijuana less that 2.5 pounds will no longer be arrested. They will instead be issued a summons to appear in court.
On your court date you will plead guilty or not-guilty. If you plead guilty you will pay a fine, broken down as follows:
- First offense: $40
- Second offense: $60
- Third offense: $80
- Fourth offense and beyond: $100
You may also be responsible for additional court fees.
The marijuana possession charge is an enhanceable charge for repeat offenders, similar to DUIs. First and second offenses are misdemeanor charges, while third and beyond may be felonies.
There are also a couple exceptions to this rule. It does not apply to minors under the age of 17. Also, it will not apply if caught in possession while in certain drug-free zones, such as schools, parks, and some churches.
What Does Decriminalized Marijuana Mean In New Orleans?
Because this law is still relatively new, there is still a good deal of confusion and lack of clarity surrounding how it will look in practice. Because of this, any arrest should be discussed with a New Orleans drug defense lawyer.
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that this ordinance only applies to Orleans Parish. Throughout the rest of Louisiana, marijuana is still under much stricter legislation. If you are charged with marijuana possession in New Orleans multiple times, the city attorney may pass the case to the district attorney and your change may be enhanced to a felony.
While you may not face jail time for first, second, and some subsequent marijuana possession offenses in Orleans Parish, there are still a number of factors to consider. If you plead guilty, you will pay your fine and be free to go, however you will have a misdemeanor drug charge on your record. This will very likely show up on any background checks. Among other things, such a charge could affect you getting a job, or if you’re a student, getting a student loan.
Before you make any decisions or plead guilty, it’s best to talk to a New Orleans drug defense lawyer. An attorney can work to minimize the consequences of your charge through a negotiated plea agreement, or by using legal defenses and arguments to have the charges dismissed. Though we can never guarantee any outcome, we have a strong track record of getting reductions and dismissals for our client.
Yes, it may seem cheaper to plead guilty, pay the fine and just take the misdemeanor. Speaking with a drug crime attorney first and understanding your options, however, can save you money and hardship down the road.
Contact a New Orleans Drug Defense Lawyer Today to Fight Your Marijuana Charges
If you or someone you know is facing drug charges, you need an experienced New Orleans drug defense lawyer 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. Call 504-599-9997 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
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Posted by: Zachary Klos