Imagine driving on Interstate 12 and passing through Louisiana to Houston or Mobile. It can be a long drive, so some may bring drugs to make the time go by.
But then, a cop pulls you over, and the next thing you know, you are arrested for drug possession, and you are facing 2022 drug possession charges in Louisiana.
In 2019, there were over 1.5 million arrests related to drugs across the United States.
If you find yourself being one of those arrests, you may be wondering what you are in for and what to do next? Well, this is your guide.
Schedule I Drug Possession
Typically, Schedule I drugs are considered among the most abused drugs out on the market, and they are defined as having no medicinal value to society.
So, what drugs fall under this Schedule? There are drugs such as MDMA, heroin, marijuana, LSD, and more.
With these types of drugs, you are looking at jail time at a minimum.
According to the Louisiana State Legislature, if you have less than two grams of most Schedule I drugs, you are facing up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Then, there is possession between two grams and 28 grams. For this, there is a minimum jail sentence of at least one year and a fine of up to $5,000. However, the maximum amount of jail time one can face goes up to ten years.
Anything over 28 grams here is considered a distribution level.
Now, let’s get to marijuana, which some may question if this should be punished at the same level other drugs in this schedule are. While the penalties are not quite as severe as MDMA, there are still legal consequences for possession of marijuana in Louisiana.
You are not likely to look at real jail time or steep fines until you hit the 14 grams level for this drug. Once you are caught with 14 or more grams, you face a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months.
However, marijuana has more specific penalties for repeat offenders in Louisiana.
With a second offense of over 14 grams of possession, you are looking at jail time of up to six months as well. But, the fine goes up to $1,000.
On the third offense, the jail time goes up to a maximum of two years, and the fine you face is up to $2,500.
The final specific repeat offense is for the fourth or higher. Here, the jail time goes up to eight years for each violation, with a fine of up to $5,000.
Heroin tends to have some of the most severe penalties of Schedule I drugs because, with this, you are facing a minimum of two years in prison.
For possession of two grams or less of heroin, that is the minimum amount of jail time that you can get. With that weight range, the maximum jail time is up to four years.
Then, like MDMA, there is a range of between two grams and 28 grams, where the minimum jail time is still two years. However, the maximum jail time goes up to ten years in this weight range.
This type of Schedule I drug has its own section in the legislature as well. Like marijuana, the first offense is a fine of up to $500 and the maximum amount of jail time that you can face is six months.
However, the second offense is where the stakes rise for this drug. The fine is at least $250 but can go up to $2,000. As for jail time, the maximum time with this offense goes up to five years.
The maximum jail time increases significantly to 20 years on a third offense, and the maximum fine more than doubles to $5,000.
What Can You Do?
Besides not possessing drugs in the first place, the first thing you can do if you find yourself arrested for drug possession is to demand to speak to an attorney before talking to the police. Preferably, you would want a drug possession lawyer who specializes in these cases.
From there, you have the time and flexibility to come up with a defense strategy. Your criminal defense lawyer can provide you with legal counsel here to blatantly tell you what legal charges you are facing and perhaps gather enough evidence to get your case dismissed.
One example can be proving that the police did not have a legal right to search and seizure for your car. Or, along with that, they may not have had the grounds to pull your vehicle over on Interstate 12 in the first place.
Another situation could be if the drugs happened to be someone else’s, but you were having a hard time proving that to the police. A lawyer may have the skills to gather the evidence and research to find out who it really belongs to and get you off the hook.
Most importantly, for the more serious drug possession charges, you are going to want someone who is a good negotiator by your side. One charge mentioned above has a maximum jail sentence of 20 years.
That is 20-25% of their life for most people, so if you have representation on your side that can get that cut in even half, it could be a significant victory for your personal life.
Hire a Drug Possession Lawyer
When you are facing a drug possession charge in Louisiana, it is imperative that you have the proper legal counsel by your side. They can develop a legal strategy, gather evidence, and negotiate lighter sentences for you.
Are you in need of representation? Contact us today. Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney is a top drug possession lawyer in Louisiana who would be glad to help you with your case. Learn more about our Baton Rouge law firm and areas of service below.