If you get convicted of a drug charge in Louisiana, the consequences can be severe.
If it’s a misdemeanor you’re charged with, the chances are high that you won’t go to jail. However, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony charge, in Louisiana, the judge can choose to send you to jail either way.
If you’ve received a court summons, you mustn’t panic. What you see on the summons won’t necessarily be the result of your case.
You should not, however, do nothing. Drug arrests have increased every year for the past 4 years. It’s crucial to stay on top of your case to get the best outcome.
Have you recently been arrested or received a court summons for drug possession in Louisiana?
Here’s what you should do next to help your case.
What Is a Summons?
In short, a summons marks the beginning of a legal case. It shows that the issue at hand (i.e., drug possession) is one that needs to be tried in court.
A summons can be used in both criminal and civil cases.
If you’ve been summoned, it means you’ve been ordered to appear in court. If it’s about drug possession, it means that your hearing in court will determine to what extent you’ll be charged.
It’s your chance to defend your case.
There are many types of summons, some of which have to do with class-action lawsuits or jury duty.
What Is a Summons and Complaint?
Sometimes a summons is called a “summons and complaint.” The complaint in this situation refers to the specific charge, the reason for the lawsuit, and the type of relief being sought.
For more pressing matters such as a drug charge or a divorce, the summons is delivered by a court-appointed individual or the local sheriff.
Sometimes a summons is sent in the mail for less serious matters, such as jury duty.
What Information Does a Summons Include?
A summons is an important court document. Here is the information a typical subpoena includes:
- The name of the court issuing the summons
- The name of the person receiving the summons
- The number assigned to the case (by the court)
- The names of the plaintiff and defendant
- What the case concerns
- Information for the defendant about when they must respond
- In what way the defendant is required to respond (i.e., appear in court)
If you receive a summons, it’s vital to read it over and pay attention to any dates and deadlines.
Felony Drug Charge Consequences
If you’re charged with felony drug possession in Baton Rouge or another part of Louisiana, it’s still up to the judge to determine whether or not you’ll spend time in jail or on probation.
There are many factors a judge takes into consideration in their determination.
When it comes to a felony, if you have a prior criminal record, especially prior felony convictions, those will weigh heavily against you.
If you have 2 prior felony convictions, the judge almost always has to give you jail time.
Even if you have a record you think is expunged, it’s a good idea to have an attorney look into it for you as law enforcement still has access to expunged records. If you want to have a criminal record expunged in Louisiana, you have to file a motion to remove the record.
If you are convicted of a felony drug charge, and the judge grants you probation, here are some of the conditions you might expect:
- Ankle monitor
- Monthly supervision fees
- Community service
- Fines and court costs
- Attendance of classes
- Random drug tests
- Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
The best thing you can do, with the help of your attorney, is to try and get your charges dropped or lowered to at least a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor Drug Charge Consequences
If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge in Louisiana, the judge can still choose to look at your criminal record.
The main difference is that even if you have 2 prior felony convictions, your lawyer could still get your probation on a misdemeanor conviction.
An excellent criminal lawyer will do everything they can to keep you out of jail, including bringing attention to your character, your achievements, your changes since your last convictions, amongst many other things.
Every case is different, and it can be challenging to navigate the court or appeal to a judge. This is precisely why it’s crucial to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side.
Here’s What to Do If You Get Arrested or Receive a Court Subpoena
While it may be tempting to explain your case and prove your innocence to police officers during an arrest, don’t!
Your best bet is to wait and plead your case under the direction of your attorney. Don’t resist your arrest either, even if you believe it was unlawful.
If you’re summoned, take the time to read the documents in front of you carefully. Take note of any dates or deadlines, as missing any of these could have severe implications against your case.
Don’t panic. What you see in front of you is not necessarily the charge you’ll end up with.
Call a lawyer. While you may be wary of spending money on an attorney, you could end up saving in the long run as they’ll do their best to plead your case and lower your conviction, fines, and other penalties.
Don’t Ignore a Court Summons
If you receive a court summons for a drug possession charge in Louisiana, don’t panic. Take the time to read your summons and take note of any court date or deadlines. Call a criminal lawyer to assess your case and reveal how they can help.
Do you have questions about your case or are unsure if you need an attorney?
Contact us any day of the week, anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We are here to help!