Getting arrested for drug possession is a serious matter, and it is something that many Americans are facing the consequences of. At any given time, as many as 448,000 people are confined in US jails because of a drug charge, whether they have been convicted or not.
However, the stakes get even higher when there is intent to distribute those drugs. If you are charged with possession with intent to distribute, then you could be looking at even harsher penalties and even longer jail time.
If you are arrested in Bossier Parish for this, here is what you need to know.
What Is Possession With Intent to Distribute?
According to the Louisiana State Legislature, possession with intent to distribute is defined as the intention to produce, manufacture, and distribute a dangerous drug in the Schedule I category.
Schedule I drugs in Louisiana include marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and heroin.
If you get arrested for intent to distribute for any of these, your penalty is going to depend on what drug you were trying to distribute. Some types of drugs and factors for each include the following:
Some argue whether this should even be a serious offense to distribute this drug. Well, in Louisiana, it is, and there are severe penalties for distributing marijuana.
For the first offense, the intent to distribute any amount of marijuana in Louisiana will result in a minimum jail sentence of five years. But, there can be a maximum of up to 30 years for this even on the first offense.
There is a fine of up to $50,000 on top of this. However, if you distribute this to a minor, the maximum jail time goes up to 45 years for a first offense and the maximum fine goes up to $100,000.
If you are a repeat offender, then the minimum jail time goes up to 10 years and the fine can be as much as $100,000. There is also a maximum jail time of up to 60 years for a repeat offender.
As for distributing to a minor on a repeat offense, those penalties go up too. You can serve up to 90 years in jail with a fine of around $200,000.
The penalties for distributing heroin are mostly similar to marijuana except with a slight increase, such as having a maximum of 40 years for a first offense of distributing. You could also face a fine of $50,000 and have to serve a minimum of five years.
Of course, you have to factor in distributing to minors for heroin just like marijuana. If you distribute heroin to a minor, then the minimum jail time goes up to 10 years, and the maximum increases to 50 years.
In Louisiana, the penalties for trying to distribute cocaine get split up into two categories. There are penalties for manufacturing cocaine and then there are penalties for the actual distribution.
For the distribution, the minimum penalty is two years in jail and is up to 30 years in jail. The fine here is up to $50,000.
However, if you get caught manufacturing it along with distributing it, the fine goes up by 10x to $500,000. As for the jail time, you could be on the hook for a minimum of 10 years and serve as much as 30 years.
This has very similar charges as the drugs above. Basically, you are facing a minimum of five years in jail, a maximum of 30 years in jail, and a fine of as much as $50,000.
Besides the type of drug that you are distributing, how you are doing it will come into play. As stated above, selling any type of drug to a minor and distributing it in any scenario repeatedly will increase the penalties along with it.
However, this is another important factor for what penalties you may face, and that factor is if you distribute in a drug-free zone. A drug-free zone can be places where large groups of kids are such as schools and playgrounds, they can be religious buildings or even places that have more at-risk populations such as a drug treatment facility.
If it happens here, then the maximum penalties are allowed to increase 1.5x. For reference, Bossier Parish has 34 schools in the area alone.
What Should You Do?
Bossier Parish has its share of drug crimes. The area has a drug crime rate of 1.28. For comparison, the crime rate for arson is .16, and a crime rate of .75 for robbery.
Why is this relevant? Because this may be a factor in how seriously the local law enforcement will take your charge if you are arrested in their parish.
When you get arrested, you should NOT talk to the police. Do not give the police any evidence that they can use against you in a possible hearing.
If you are told that the charge is intent to distribute, then you need to call a drug lawyer immediately in order to go over legal strategy and to have somebody in your corner that can provide you legal counsel.
An experienced drug charge lawyer may have a legal strategy that could get you out of this situation such as if they can prove that the drugs were not yours and that you were framed. Or, you could potentially claim entrapment and that the police unlawfully set you up to get arrested for intent to distribute.
Hire an Experienced Bossier Drug Charge Lawyer
You need to find someone who has experience with drug charge cases such as possession with intent to distribute and someone who has been successful with such cases. If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, contact us to get a free consultation and to get the legal counsel you need.