Drug offenses in Louisiana carry serious consequences that can profoundly impact your life. Understanding these penalties may help you make an informed decision if you face drug charges.
These are the common types of Louisiana drug charges and the potential penalties for conviction.
Possession of controlled substances
You can receive this charge for having illegal drugs on your person or in your home or car. Examples of controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine and heroin. Possession charges also apply to prescription drugs if you do not have a prescription.
Penalties vary based on the type and quantity of the drug in possession. You could receive fines, probation or even jail time. The court can also order you to complete a substance abuse education program.
Louisiana recently increased penalties for fentanyl possession. You could receive a fine of up to $50,000 and up to 50 years in prison for a first offense involving less than 28 grams.
Distribution or intent to distribute
Charges of distribution apply to possession of large quantities of a controlled substance. This is a more severe charge than simple possession. Conviction can result in tens of thousands of dollars in fines. You could also receive several years in prison if found guilty.
Trafficking involves large-scale transportation, distribution or sale of illegal drugs. Louisiana has particularly strict penalties for drug trafficking. Some offenses carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
You could also face federal drug trafficking charges. Federal convictions tend to have stiffer penalties than state-level offenses.
Manufacturing of controlled substances
Manufacturing drugs such as methamphetamine or ecstasy carries significant penalties in Louisiana. You could receive a long prison sentence and hefty fines. The state may also hold you responsible for environmental hazards caused by drug manufacturing.
Possession of drug paraphernalia
Possessing drug paraphernalia such as pipes or syringes can also lead to criminal charges in Louisiana. Penalties are generally less severe than those for drug possession or distribution. You could receive a fine or possibly incarceration depending on the specifics of your case.
Drug-free zone offenses
Drug crimes committed in a designated drug-free zone result in enhanced penalties. Drug-free zones exist around schools, parks and public housing. The state establishes these zones to protect children and other vulnerable populations.
Drug charges in Louisiana cover a wide range of offenses, from simple possession to drug trafficking. Penalties vary based on factors like the type and amount of drug and previous criminal history. Even for minor offenses, Louisiana has strict drug crime consequences compared to other states.