I handle drug offenses of all types. What is most common in Louisiana is marijuana possession. Unfortunately, marijuana is still a Schedule One drug in Louisiana and it’s punishable as a misdemeanor crime. It is not a felony unless you’re carrying quite a lot of marijuana. Possession of other illegal drugs, like cocaine, is a felony.
What Determines Whether A Drug Charge Will Be Considered A Misdemeanor Or A Felony In Louisiana?
There are certain statutes in Louisiana with regard to which drug crimes are felonies and which are misdemeanors. For example, Statute 40:966 deals with possession of Schedule One drugs, including special provisions that deal with marijuana possession. Louisiana has tried to decriminalize possession of marijuana, meaning that they’ve tried to reduce the penalties you could face if you’re convicted of such a crime. However, you could still go to jail for up to 15 days and pay a fine of $300 for a first offense.
Can Police Execute A Warrantless Search Of A Vehicle Or Premises If They Suspect A Drug Crime?
The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizure, but if there is a plain smell or a plain sight of a drug or some type of contraband, that is going to be upheld as reasonable grounds for a warrantless search.
Can A Passenger Be Charged If Drugs Are Discovered In The Vehicle?
If there is a bag of marijuana discovered in a vehicle, there are three people in the car, and none of them claim it, then all three are going to be charged with possession of that marijuana. While no one is in direct possession of marijuana, all of them are in constructive possession, as it is within their range and their reach.
Are There Any Alternative Programs For First-Time Drug Offenders In Louisiana?
Typically, all of the district attorneys’ offices have to offer some form of pretrial intervention or a pretrial diversion program to first offenders. The programs cost money. Once they complete the programs successfully, the person’s charges get dismissed.
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