What is the penalty for drug paraphernalia in Louisiana?
If you are seeking information about the penalty for drug paraphernalia in Louisiana, you’ve found the right article. If you find yourself in need of legal advice, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. In the state of Louisiana, possession of drug paraphernalia is classified as a misdemeanor, unless exceeding three or more offenses, which is then deemed a felony. Louisiana’s drug laws and penalties, in conjunction with federal laws, are strict and can vary based on the schedule of drug, regardless if illegal substances are present, and whether or not the possession was actual or constructive. This article will examine what the penalties for drug paraphernalia are in Louisiana, not drug possession.
Covering the basics of drug laws and penalties jargon
If you’re searching for information about laws and penalties, regardless of the topic, it is easy to get lost in all of the words, phrases, and definitions used in legal jargon written by state legislatures and law firms. To eliminate that confusion, let’s break down some of the terms referred to in this article in a simplistic way.
- Actual Possession: Having identifiable illegal drugs or paraphernalia on you
- Constructive Possession: Having identifiable and reasonable suspicion of illegal drugs or paraphernalia near you
- Drug Schedule: The breakdown of drugs into five categories based on the medical use or dependence potential
- Schedule I- Opiates (i.e. marijuana or heroin)
- Schedule II- Opium (i.e. fentanyl or methamphetamine)
- Schedule III- Stimulants (i.e. ketamine or anabolic steroids)
- Schedule IV– Narcotics (i.e. tramadol or rohypnol)
- Schedule V- Therapeutic Drugs (i.e. Tylenol with codeine or ephedrine)
- Felony: A serious, usually violent crime, resulting in harsh punishment
- Misdemeanor: A less serious criminal act of wrongdoing
- Paraphernalia: tools or equipment needed for a specific purpose or activity
- Penalty: A punishment for breaking a law
Now that there is a basic understanding of what is stated in state legislatures, federal law, and used by attorneys, let’s examine the specifics of the penalties for drug paraphernalia in Louisiana.
Drug Paraphernalia In Louisiana
Drug paraphernalia and possession of illegal drugs are two different offenses and consequently have very different penalties. Drug paraphernalia is considered any equipment used in the producing, concealing, or consumption of a controlled substance. These are items such as (but not limited to) pipes, needles, baggies, scales, and grinders. Yes, you read that right; basic household items can be considered drug paraphernalia. Louisiana’s Rev Stat § 40:1022 code specifies what and how items are deemed to be drug paraphernalia as assessed by authorities.
But, what does Louisiana’s law state specifically regarding drug paraphernalia?
Louisiana’s Rev Stat § 40:1023 Code:
A. Distribution of Drug Paraphernalia. “It is unlawful for any person or corporation, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, to sell, lend, rent, lease, give, exchange, or otherwise distribute to any person any drug paraphernalia.”
B. Display of Drug Paraphernalia. “It is unlawful for any person or corporation, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, to display for sale or possess with the intent to distribute, any drug paraphernalia.”
C. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. “It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, any drug paraphernalia, to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this Part.”
To reiterate, drug paraphernalia is anything used to possess, conceal, or consume an illegal drug, and is subject to legal percussions.
Louisiana’s Penalty For Drug Paraphernalia
Possession, displaying, and distribution of drug paraphernalia in Louisiana, of less than three offenses, constitutes a misdemeanor. The more offenses, the worse the worse the penalty. If convicted of a misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia, one can expect:
- First offense: Jail time up to 15 days and/or a fine not exceeding $300
- Second offense: Jail time up to 6 months and/or a fine not exceeding $1000
- Third offense (felony): Jail time up to 2 years and/or a fine not exceeding $2500
- Participation in a treatment program
- Two-year enhancement: A prior conviction can only be used to enhance the new charge if there is less than two years between the completion of the sentence (term of probation) for the prior conviction and the arrest date for the new charge.
Of course, as stated previously, there are a number of factors that determine the exact charge and penalty if prosecuted with drug paraphernalia. Always consult a defense attorney for the best advice.
What Is The Penalty For Drug Paraphernalia In Louisiana?
Louisiana’s drug laws are straightforward- possession, display, and distribution of drug paraphernalia is illegal. Possession of illegal substances does not need to be present to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
The burden will be on the prosecution to prove the paraphernalia was being used for illicit drugs. The defense can argue innocence, lack of knowledge, and unlawful search and seizure if you find yourself facing legal charges for drug paraphernalia possession.
Although the first two offenses are considered misdemeanors, resulting in an array of less severe penalties, a third offense could result in a felony conviction with harsher penalties. If you find yourself in need of legal advice for drug charges, always consult a criminal defense attorney such as Carl Barkemeyer Criminal Defense Attorney. Take a look at his business on Google here or reach out to schedule a consultation.
As a result of this article you are now more knowledgeable about Louisiana’s penalty for drug paraphernalia.