In the state of Louisiana, every drug charge is a serious drug charge. Officials here take the Drug War to a new level and seek to penalize offenders severely. If you are faced with possession charges in New Orleans or anywhere in the state of Louisiana, you need someone on your side fighting for the best outcome possible on your day in court.
House Bill 149 signed on 6/30/15 does reduce some of the penalties for marijuana possession, but Louisiana remains one of the toughest states for drug laws.
Many people don’t think drug possession charges are something to worry about—that distribution or trafficking charges are the only “serious” drug charges. But, these people are wrong. The penalties for a drug possession conviction can be very serious and can alter your life dramatically.
You can go from hanging out with friends to sitting in a jail cell in a matter of hours. If convicted, you then have to cope with the troubles of having a criminal record—disclosing it on job applications for the rest of your life. When avoiding these consequences is at the top of your concerns, a local criminal defense lawyer can help.
In Louisiana, possession of marijuana has not been decriminalized. This means you won’t be handed a ticket for possessing pot—you will be arrested. The charge and possible penalty you face depends on your criminal history. If you have prior convictions for an offense like this, you will be penalized more severely.
For under 14 grams, A first offense marijuana possession conviction carries a potential 15 days in jail and $300 in fines under the new law.
Over 14 grams, a first offense marijuana possession charge still has the potential for up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.
A second offense conviction of marijuana possession is now a misdemeanor up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A third offense marijuana possession carries up to 2 years in prison and $2,500 in fines.
A fourth or subsequent offense carries up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Both your first and second offense may be eligible for probation. This would save you the trouble of jail or prison time. Contact an attorney to discuss your eligibility.
There is also a new “second chance” provision that may allow you to have a 1st offense conviction expunged after 2 years with no further offenses.
Louisiana Drug Possession Penalties
Drug possession charges in Louisiana are classified according to the drug you are accused of possessing.
Schedule I drugs, including heroin, MDMA, and LSD carry a potential 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Schedule II drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines carry a possible 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Schedule III drugs, like steroids, can carry up to 5 years in jail, with or without hard labor, and up to $5,000 in fines.
These possible penalties are severe. But even when you admit to the offense, you have options. A local criminal defense attorney can help explain how Louisiana drug possession laws apply in your case, so you can explore these options in an effort to prevent the worst possible outcomes in court. Let us put you in touch with a local lawyer today.