A Breakdown of the Louisiana Drug Possession Laws in 2020

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Every state has its own definition of controlled dangerous substances (CDS).

The state of Louisiana is no different. LA classifies well-known drugs (marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc.) as well as the compounds used in manufacturing as CDS.

Have you been caught with drugs near Baton Rouge, LA?

Here’s a breakdown of Louisiana drug possession laws that may affect your arrest.

The Five “Schedules”

Louisiana uses five schedules to classify CDS.

Schedule I is the most dangerous drug category with high abuse probability and no medical value.

Schedules II, III, IV, and V all decrease in the dangers and abuse probability. They also increase in medial use.

Louisiana law uses these schedules to determine the penalty for possession.

Penalties and Fines

Each penalty is specific to the type of CDS and the schedule it falls in.

Here is a quick look at those penalties and fines.

Schedule I Substances:

Possession of Schedule I substances include a fine between $5,000-$600,000 depending on the CDS.

Possession also includes at least 4 years and up to 30 years in prison.

Under state law, Louisiana declares marijuana as a Schedule I(C) hallucinogenic substance.

Schedule II Substances:

Possession of Schedule II substances usually includes a $5,000-$600,000 fine and 5-30 years imprisonment.

Schedule III Substances:

Possession of Schedule II substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years in prison, or both.

Schedule IV Substances:

Possession of Schedule IV substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, 5 years in prison, or both.

However, there is an exception with Flunitrazepam. In these cases, offenders face a fine up to $5,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Schedule V Substances:

Possession of Schedule V substances includes a fine of up to $5,000, up to 5 years imprisonment, or both.

Second Offenses

If a person is convicted of a second offense, he or she will face twice the prison or fine, depending on the CDS involved.

Drug-Related Crimes

There are some common drug charges people face in Louisiana: possession, or possession with intent to distribute.

Both are felonies, but mere possession is a lesser sentence.

Authorities use a few criteria to decide which to charge a person with. Depending on how much of the drug you have on hand and where you were caught determines which charge you’ll face.

In either case, possession means an arrest. A police officer probably won’t know if there was intent to distribute right away.

Getting Pinned

There are cases of people getting caught in a car with drugs belonging to someone else.

Often, this is an acquaintance in the car with them.

When this happens, the prosecution may try to pin the charges on the innocent, too.

If this happens to you, don’t wait to contact an attorney. You may feel innocent, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up with charges.

Paraphernalia

A person can still face criminal charges without having drugs on them.

In the case of drug paraphernalia, you can face charges if you have an object that is used to take illegal drugs.

Some examples of drug paraphernalia are:

  • Baggies
  • Cut straws
  • Bongs
  • Pipes
  • Burnt spoons
  • Scales
  • Grinders
  • Needles

Unless it is your third offense, a drug paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor.

It’s also unlawful to lend, sell, or display any drug paraphernalia.

Medical Marijuana

Louisiana law made medical marijuana legal in August 2019.

However, their laws are still restrictive. The entire state only has two locations that can legally cultivate the plant.

There are also only nine locations that can legally distribute.

Possession of Non-Medical Marijuana

In the case of non-medical marijuana, penalties depend on the amount a person has on hand.

If a person is caught with 14g or less, they will face 15 days of jail time and a maximum of $300 fine.

Between 14g and 2.5lb, the penalty bumps up to 6 months and $500.

When a person is caught with 60lbs or more of marijuana, the charge becomes a felony with up to 10 years in jail and a $30,000 fine.

Distribution or Cultivation

It is illegal in Louisiana to distribute or cultivate marijuana in any amount.

If you’re caught doing either, you could face up to 30 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.

However, those penalties bump up significantly if you are caught distributing to a minor. For a first offense, a person can face up to 45 years in jail. After that, up to 90 years in jail and a $200,000 fine.

Miscellaneous Louisiana Drug Possession Laws

Here are some other things to be aware of if you live in Louisiana.

Drug-Free Zones

If you are caught in possession of marijuana near a drug-free zone, you could face up to 1.5 times the maximum penalties.

Drug-free zones include all schools, playgrounds, religious buildings, and public housing.

Driver’s Licenses

If you are charged with possession of any kind, a court can take away your driver’s license privileges.

Your privileges will be revoked for at least 30 days.

However, you can gain those privileges back after a year.

Hash and Concentrates

If you are caught with hashish, penalties are the same as if you were caught with marijuana.

It all depends on the amount you had on you as well as where you were caught.

Contact Your Attorney

If you are caught in possession of any drug or drug paraphenalia, please contact your attorney or hire one.

An attorney will be able to guide you through the Louisiana drug possession laws. They will also go over your options based on your case.

Check out this article for more information on finding the right attorney for your case. Contacting the right lawyer is the first step towards putting the legal drama behind you.