Understanding Louisiana drug possession laws is one smart way to protect your constitutional rights.
Here’s what you need to know:
Illegal possession of drugs or compounds classified as controlled dangerous substances (CDS) is a punishable offense in Louisiana. Marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are the most well-known CDS.
The penalties vary mainly depending on:
· Type of substance
· Amount in possession
· Past drug crime convictions
Generally, a judge can slap you with hefty fines and jail time. For example, you could spend up to 20 years in prison and pay a fine of $30,000 or more for possessing large amounts of marijuana. For a small amount of marijuana, the fine is about $300 and a 15-day jail term.
Let’s walk you through the Louisiana drug possession laws and the implications.
Classification of CDS and Potential Penalties
In Louisiana, CDS are categorized into five schedules, from the highest control to least. Please note these schedules are not classes of drugs.
a) Schedule I
In this category, there are drugs like heroin and marijuana. They generally have no accepted medical use, and their potential for abuse is high.
Penalties for Possessing Schedule 1 CDS
A person gets charged with either marijuana or non-marijuana offenses.
Here are the potential penalties if you are found in possession of illegal marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, hashish, or its chemical derivative.
14 grams or less of marijuana
· 15 days in jail
· Up to $300 fine
14 grams to 2.5lb of marijuana
· Up to 6 months in jail
· A maximum fine of $500
60lbs or more of marijuana
· 2 to 20 years in prison
· $30,000 fine or more
Heroin and Other Non-Marijuana Possession Penalties
· 4 to 30 years in jail
· Fine between $5,000 to $600,000
Being caught with even a small amount of these drugs has serious consequences.
b) Schedule II
Just like the previous group, Schedule II substances also have a high potential for abuse. They can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. The drugs have a legit medical use, although with restrictions.
Examples of Schedule II drugs and substances include cocaine, oxycodone, and phencyclidine.
Schedule II Drug Possession Penalties
· $5,000 to $600,000 fine
· 5 to 30 years in prison
c) Schedule III
CDS like anabolic steroids and codeine have less potential for abuse than drugs in the previous schedules.
Schedule III Drug Possession Penalties
· Up to $5,000 fine
· 1 to 5 years in prison
d) Schedule IV
These substances have a slightly lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs. Some of the restricted substances include Flunitrazepam, Valium, Equanil, and Darvon.
Schedule IV Drug Possession Penalties
· Maximum of $5,000 fine
· 1 to 5 years in prison
For possessing Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), you face a 10-year maximum prison term.
e) Schedule V
Substances or drugs under the Schedule V category have a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV drugs. They are primarily made up of mixtures with limited quantities of other scheduled substances, such as codeine.
Schedule V Drug Possession Penalties
· Fine of up to $5,000
· 1 to 5 years of imprisonment
Repeated Drug Possession Offenses
If you have a previous drug conviction, you’ll face more severe penalties for the second or subsequent offenses. Expect twice the fines, jail time, or both.
Other Consequences of Drug Crimes
If you get convicted of a drug offense, a criminal record will affect many aspects of your life. You will have to deal with:
· Suspension of your driving license
· Difficulty renewing your professional licenses
· Limited job search and housing applications
· Immigration difficulties
Drug-free zone laws
Louisiana drug possession laws are also tougher on people possessing CDS near or within drug-free zones, such as learning institutions, playgrounds, and daycares.
Cases involving possession in drug-free zones attract 1.5 times the maximum penalties.
Consult a New Orleans Drug Crime Lawyer
We gave you a basic overview of the Louisiana drug possession laws. Remember, every case is unique. If you have been charged with a drug offense, speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Chris Carbine will review your case, explain the ramifications, and determine the best defense strategies to achieve a positive result. Call (504) 233-8191 to request a free case evaluation.