Possible Changes in Marijuana Sentencing Laws for Louisiana

Yesterday, the Louisiana Sentencing Commission backed proposed legislation that would reduce penalties for simple possession of marijuana in Louisiana.

The legislation would reduce third-offense penalties to a maximum of five years in prison and a $2,000 fine. Those convicted a second time for possessing marijuana, under HB14, would face a maximum two-year term and a fine of no more than $500, which is down from the law’s five-year sentence and $2,000 fine.  It would create a fourth- and subsequent-offense possession charge that carries a sentence of no more than eight years in prison and a $2,000 fine.

The legislation must pass before it becomes law.

Contact Carl Barkemeyer if you need a marijuana defense lawyer in Baton Rouge.


Murder Charge for Heroin-Related Death

This week, a Baton Rouge man was arrested for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend who died from a heroin overdose. The issues of whether or not the State can prove the defendant was involved and whether he had specific intent to kill remain to be determined.

Heroin arrests and deaths relating to overdose are on the rise in Louisiana. The Louisiana laws relating to heroin charges are very tough. For instance, a defendant convicted of possession of heroin shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than four years nor more than ten years and may, in addition, be required to pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.

If you or someone you know needs a Baton Rouge heroin defense lawyer, call Carl Barkemeyer at (225) 964-6720.


Baton Rouge Reporter Arrested for Theft

It has been reported this week that a Baton Rouge reporter for a local news channel was arrested for misdemeanor theft in Gonzales, Louisiana. It has been alleged that he fraudulently converted merchandise while working at J. Crew.

Theft is the misappropriation or taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations.  An intent to deprive the other permanently of whatever may be the subject of the misappropriation or taking is essential.

When the misappropriation or taking amounts to less than a value of five hundred dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than six months, or may be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.  If the offender in such cases has been convicted of theft two or more times previously, upon any subsequent conviction he shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or may be fined not more than two thousand dollars, or both.

If you need an attorney for theft charges in Louisiana, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Baton Rouge theft lawyer for help.

See a video on Shoplifting in Louisiana

Source: The Advocate


Ponchatoula Man Arrested on Fraud

Hammond police were called after a man tried to buy a vehicle using fake $100 bills.

Officers found Deshaun Andrew Williams with more than $17,000 in fake $100 bills on him.  Williams was arrested on counts of theft by fraud and monetary instrument, according to The Advocate.

“For Motion Picture Use Only” is written on the top right side of each bill’s face.

Williams was also arrested on one count of introduction of contraband into a penal institution after officers recovered marijuana and hydrocodone during the booking process.

If you have a theft charge in Louisiana, Carl Barkemeyer, Baton Rouge theft lawyer, may be able to help.

Source: The Advocate, “Man Tries to Use ‘Movie Money’ to Buy Car,”October, 29, 2013.


Is DWI a Misdemeanor or Felony?

It depends on the number of prior convictions for DWI within 10 years prior to arrest. If the person charged with DWI has one or zero prior DWI convictions, not arrest(s), then the current charge would be a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor DWI includes a sentencing range of up to 6 months in parish jail. Mandatory time may also be included if it is a second offense and/or if the BAC level is .15 or above.

DWI third and fourth offense are felony charges. These charges carry very lengthy prison sentence ranges. DWI third offense carries 1-5 years in prison while DWI fourth offense carries a penalty of 10-30 years in prison.

So, DWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of prior convictions for DWI. The predicate convictions can be from out-of-state. The prosecutor must prove the existence of the predicate.

For more information regarding DWI laws in Louisiana, call Carl Barkemeyer, DWI lawyer in Baton Rouge at (225) 964-6720.


Is DWI a Criminal Charge in Louisiana?

The answer is ‘Yes.’ It is commonly mistaken that DWI (DUI) is not a crime. It is a crime listed in the criminal statutes under La. R.S. 14:98. Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (DWI) is a misdemeanor upon the first and second convictions. However, it is a felony upon the third and subsequent convictions. The misdemeanor charge for DWI carries up to 6 months in jail.

A conviction for DWI has serious consequences. It can affect your driving record, employment, school, and insurance. DWI in  Louisiana is a serious charge.

If you or someone you know has received a charge for DWI, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Baton Rouge DWI Attorney, at (225) 964-6720.


Joint Possession of Marijuana in Louisiana

The concept of joint possession arises frequently in drug cases. For instance, two or more people are in a vehicle that is found to have illegal narcotics within. Depending on the specific facts, the officer may issue a summons to all occupants for possession of marijuana or he may arrest all or multiple occupants for possession of other controlled dangerous substances. Although the illegal narcotics may be in a single form of packaging, all or multiple occupants may be facing the same possession charge. This concept is referred to a joint possession. Multiple people can possess a single item. For example, two people each put it money to purchase a case of beer at a convenience store. Arguably, that case of beer belongs to both people.

However, the specific facts must be examined to determine if the prosecutor can prove joint possession. Every case is different. Intent to possess and dominion of control must be proven to get a conviction for a drug possession charge in Louisiana.

For more information, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Drug Possession Lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at (225) 964-6720.


What Does it Mean to get “Robbed”?

Many times, when someone is a victim of a robbery, home burglary, or car burglary, they describe the incident by saying they “got robbed.” In a more technical and legal sense, robbery and burglary are two separate crimes.

Burglary is the unauthorized entry into a home, business, or vehicle, with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein. It is common that the offender commits the offense when the victim is not present. For example, burglary occurs when the offender breaks the window of a parked vehicle and takes items from the vehicle.

On the other hand, a robbery is the intentional taking of something from the person of another with the use of force or violence.  This crime carries more severe consequences than burglary. An example of robbery is when the offender enters a store and points a gun at the clerk demanding money.  When a dangerous weapon is used in a robbery, the charge becomes armed robbery that carries a sentence of 10-99 years in prison without probation or parole.

The distinction between robbery and burglary is important in terms of the potential sentence of the offender if convicted.


What Makes a Marijuana Charge a Felony in Louisiana?

Being found to be in possession of marijuana can lead to the prosecutor charging an individual with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts and circumstance of the case.  The distinction is important because the penalties have a wide variation.

The misdemeanor-grade charge of possession of marijuana is a first offense simple possession charge. In this instance, there are no facts to show the defendant possessed with intent to distribute or sell. If facts did exist, the charge could be increased to the felony charge of Possession with Intent to Distribute. Facts that may be used to prove intent to distribute may include the presence of scales, baggies, weapons and cash. Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana (Schedule I) carries a sentencing range of 5-30 years in prison. On the other hand, simple possession of marijuana, first offense, carries 0-6 months in jail.

Simple possession of marijuana can also be increased to a felony, without the facts indicating intent to distribute, when the State can prove the defendant has a prior conviction for possession of marijuana. Therefore, Possession of Marijuana, Second Offense, is a felony, punishable up to 5 years in prison.

If you are faced with a marijuana charge in Louisiana, contact Carl Barkemeyer, Baton Rouge Marijuana Defense Lawyer at (225) 964-6720.


What is an Assault in Louisiana?

Often times, the crime of assault is confused with the crime of battery. Additionally, there are many different forms of assault that range from misdemeanors to felonies. An assault in Louisiana is defined as an attempt to commit a battery, or the intentional placing of another in the reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery, in other words, making another believe he/she is about to receive a battery. Assault differs from a battery in that a battery involves the actual use of force or violence on another. Battery and Assault are not the same crime in Louisiana.

The most minor form of assault is a Simple Assault, which is an assault committed without the use of a dangerous weapon. It is a misdemeanor offense in Louisiana. An assault becomes an Aggravated Assault when it is committed with a dangerous weapon. It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to six months. In the case of an aggravated assault with a firearm, the penalties become more severe. If a firearm is discharged during the assault, the crime becomes a felony punishable up to 5 years in prison.

If you or someone you know needs a Baton Rouge Assault Lawyer or a Baton Rouge Battery Lawyer, call Carl Barkemeyer at (225) 964-6720 for a consultation.