Getting arrested for possession with intent to distribute is a serious matter, and it is something that many Americans are facing the consequences of.
This is not only for legal reasons but for health reasons as well. At least 129 Americans die from a drug overdose every day.
However, the stakes get even higher legally when there is intent to distribute those drugs. Getting charged with intent to distribute could mean looking at even harsher penalties and even longer jail time.
If you are arrested in Caddo Parish for this, here is what you should know.
What Is Intent to Distribute?
From the Louisiana State Legislature, intent to distribute is 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 any Schedule I drug, your penalty and jail time will depend on what drug you were trying to distribute. Some types of drugs and factors for each include the following:
Some argue whether it should even be illegal to distribute this drug. Well, in Louisiana, it is, and there are severe penalties for distributing marijuana.
For a 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 are 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.
If you get caught manufacturing cocaine along with distributing it, the fine goes up significantly to $500,000. As for the jail time, you could be looking at a minimum of 10 years and serve as much as 30 years.
This has similar charges as other drugs above. With ecstasy, 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.
As stated above, the type of drug that you are distributing and how you distribute the drug come into play. Selling any type of drug to a minor and distributing it in any scenario repeatedly will increase the penalties along with it.
However, another important factor for what penalties you may face 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, Caddo Parish has 58 schools located in the area.
So, drug-free zones can make a 30-year sentence increase to 45 years, and a $50,000 fine increase to a $75,000 fine just to name a few examples of the legal consequences of it.
What Should You Do?
Caddo Parish has a lot of experience with drug crimes. The area has a drug crime rate of 2.24. For comparison, the crime rate for arson is .14, and a crime rate of .98 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. Since this area has a higher drug crime rate than other parts of the state, it may not end as badly for you.
When you get arrested, you should keep your mouth shut and do not talk to the police until you have a lawyer present. You do not want to give the police any evidence that they can use against you in a possible court case.
If you are told that the charge is intent to distribute, then you need to call a drug charge lawyer immediately in order to go over legal strategy and to have somebody in your corner that can give you legal advice.
Find an Experienced Shreveport Lawyer Immediately
Finding someone who has experience with cases involving drug charges such as intent to distribute is essential in this situation. Even more important is to do so sooner rather than later to get ahead of the case.
If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, contact us to get a free consultation and to get the legal counsel that you need.