Drug Possession Attorney in Baton Rouge


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Carl Barkemeyer wrote the book on How to Defend Drug Charges in Louisiana.  Download your free copy to learn more about the criminal process and drug defenses in Louisiana.


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What Is Drug Possession?

This is a crime, where a person knowingly carries illicit drugs like meth, cocaine, and so on. The person must be aware of the existence of the drug and the said person should have willingly carried the drugs. Most of the drug arrests made in Baton Rouge is as a result of drug possession. A lot of those that have been arrested were said to have possessed marijuana.

If the prosecution can prove that the drugs were not for your usage, it could be increased to possession with intent to sell. The prosecution team looks at if there were items used in the sales of drugs like a scale, tiny bags, large amounts of money, business cards and so on. They could also look at the amount of the drugs that you have. There is a stipulated amount of drugs that you may have, and this could upgrade your drug possession charged to a drug trafficking charge.

Before someone can be convicted of a drug possession charge, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant knew that the drug existed. Let's use an example.

Someone moves into a house newly. The house is raided hours or a few days later, and drugs are found there. There is a great possibility that the new owner didn't know that the drugs were there, especially if the drugs were found in a hidden spot. The man may not be convicted if he can prove that he had no idea that the drug existed and was in his new house. 

Secondly, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew that the said substance was illegal. Let's use an example.

A prescription drug is given to a friend to hold. The friend thinks that the giver of the drug has a prescription for the drug. If the police find the friend with the drug, and he can prove that he is not the owner of the drug, he could be charged. Even though the prescription is legal, one person cannot possess that prescribed medication if it prescribed to someone else.  But, if the friend is just moving a bunch of stuff for the friend and the pills are within those items, it may be a defense.

This defense is usually not easy to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Most times, this defense doesn't work because it is believed that people should understand the drugs that they have in their possession.


Actual and Constructive Drug Possession in Baton Rouge

It is important to note that there are different types of drug possession. They are actual possession and constructive possession.

In actual possession, you were caught with the drugs in your possession. It could be in your pockets, house, car and so on. You were the one holding onto the drugs during that time. Let us say that you are driving and you are stopped on the road. The police officer sees a bag of cocaine in plain sight that is actual possession. 

In constructive possession, the drugs were not with you physically, but you have control over the drugs wherever they are. You can decide if the drugs are sold, used or destroyed without you being close to the drugs. This is the type of drug possession that most drug defendants are charged with. They do not carry the drugs in their person, most times. They have a team that handles the drugs, but they have control over the drugs.


Drug Possession is More Than Possessing the Drug Itself

This is the basic truth. Drug possession has gone beyond holding the drug itself. If you are caught with drug paraphernalia and the chemicals needed in making illegal drugs, you could be charged with drug possession, even when the drug is not present.

The usual drug paraphernalia is bongs, pipes, syringes, and so on. Let's say that a drug raid occurred, and there was no presence of drugs, the officers can make an arrest if they see the chemicals needed to make these drugs.

Most times, the paraphernalia can also be used in legal ways like smoking tobacco, and so on. This means that the officer may need something more to show that it was drug possession. They might try to convince the arrestee to comply with them and confess. They might also need to see a residue of the illicit drug in that paraphernalia, like a drug pipe.


Punishment for Drug Possession in Baton Rouge

Every state in the country dreads drug possession, hence, they do not take it for granted. The state of Louisiana is one of them. There are both federal and state laws that outlaw drug possession.

Usually, drug possession is divided into two. It could be possession with intent to distribute and the simple drug possession charge.

In the case of the simple drug possession charge, this is most times, treated as a misdemeanor for a small amount of marijuana, especially when it is a first-time offense. If it is a third offense marijuana possession, it could be upgraded to a felony. If the defendant possessed the drugs while being close to a kid, it could be upgraded. If the said person was arrested with a gun in his possession too, it could be upgraded.

Drug possession with intent to distribute usually gets stricter penalties.

The difference between both is normally how much drugs were found in the person's possession. If the drug is below the stipulated amount by the law, it could be a simple drug possession. If there is no paraphernalia that screams of intended sales, it could be a simple drug possession charge.

If the amount of the drug is higher than the stipulated amount by the law, it is seen as possession with intent to distribute. The fact that the said defendant had that much drugs on him meant that it won't be for personal consumption solely. The drugs would either be sold or shared.

If the officers see paraphernalia like business cards, a large amount of money, counting machines, plastic baggies, scales and so on, it may mean that the said defendant had the intent to distribute.

If there is a sworn statement from witnesses, which may be recipients of the drugs or those that were present when the defendant made plans to sell the drugs, it could be easy to prosecute the defendant for drug possession with intent to distribute.

Usually, the penalties may be prison term, fixed minimum sentences, probation, fines, rehabilitation programs and so on. Possession with intent to distribute usually come with stricter penalties.


Classification of Controlled Dangerous Substances in Baton Rouge

Illegal substances are classified into five schedules.


Schedule I

For the first schedule- Schedule I- those drugs that are very dangerous are listed here. These drugs are highly addictive and can result in intense abuse of substances. These drugs have no medical value to their users.

With each schedule, the addictiveness and rate of abusing it reduce.

Those that are non-marijuana offenses tens to offer a penalty that could reach to ten years. It could also reach to a fine of up to five thousand dollars. Sometimes, it could be both.

For marijuana offenses, it could reach a thousand dollars in fines, six months in jail or both. 


Schedule II Substances

Drugs under this schedule have a lower rate of abuse, addictiveness and are not as dangerous as those in Schedule I. They also have better medical value than those in schedule I.

The sentences meted out are dependent on how much drugs the defendant was caught with and on other factors. It could reach five thousand dollars in fine, or fine years in jail. Sometimes, it can be both. 

If you are caught with phencyclidine (PCP), it could reach up to twenty years in jail.


Schedule III Substances

Drugs here are known to be less addictive, possess a lower rate of abuse and have more medical value. They are not as dangerous as those in the above schedules.

It could reach a fine of five thousand dollars, five years in jail or in some cases, both.


Schedule IV Substances

Drugs here are known to be less addictive, possess a lower rate of abuse and have more medical value. They are not as dangerous as those in the above schedules.

It could reach a fine of up to five thousand dollars, five years in jail or both.

If you are convicted of possessing drugs like Rohypnol or Flunitrazepam, you could spend up to ten years in jail.  


Schedule V Substances

Drugs here are known to be less addictive, possess a lower rate of abuse and have more medical value. They are not as dangerous as those in the above schedules.

It could reach a fine of up to five thousand dollars, five years in jail or both.

It doesn't matter what schedule the drug that you were caught with may fall under, do not take it for granted. You could end up spending time in jail, paying a hefty fine or doing both.

Apart from that, consider other consequences like the loss of reputation, suspension from college, loss of scholarships, loss of jobs and so on. You need an attorney to represent you immediately at Baton Rouge. The state of Louisiana abhors drug possession. 



Drug Possession Charge Defenses in Baton Rouge

Let's say that you have been arrested with drugs and you are being charged with drug possession in Baton Rouge. You have gotten a drug possession lawyer in Baton Rouge like Carl Barkemeyer, a criminal defense attorney to represent you, what is the line of defense that he may use.

It is important to note that it doesn't matter if the drugs in your possession were meant for sale or your personal usage, you could be slammed with hefty penalties.

The type of defense that a drug possession lawyer in Baton Rouge may use is usually dependent on the circumstances surrounding the case.

In some cases, Carl Barkemeyer will challenge the evidence that has been stated by the prosecution team. Here, he tries to challenge the validity of the facts and how they were collected. The stated facts could be a testimony and so on. Carl Barkemeyer, a drug possession lawyer in Baton Rouge can decide to focus on procedural errors. Were there errors in how the search and seizure were done? What of the arrest? Did the officers agree to the defendant's wanting to keep mute? These and more are considered.

Sometimes, Carl might decide to challenge the case by using affirmative defense.

We will go ahead to discuss some of the defenses that can be used in a drug possession case. Some of the defenses are common, while others are not.



We Might Use the Unlawful Search and Seizure Defense

To protect the rights of people, The Fourth Amendment was made to ensure that a procedure was followed during search and seizure. If this procedure was not followed, it could lead to the case been yanked out of court.

This is one common defense that many defense attorneys use because some officers become overzealous while carrying out their duties and may make mistakes in the process.

Let's say that a traffic stop was done, and an illegal substance like cocaine was seen in plain sight, the substance can easily be seized. If used as evidence, they may be allowed by the court. This is because it was in plain sight.

On the other hand, if a traffic stop was done by an officer and he doesn't have any probable cause to search the vehicle, any illegal substance seen may be contested by the defense attorney.

If there was no probable cause to search the car, no warrant, or consent was not gotten from the driver, why was the car searched?

It may be seen as an illegal search and seizure. In such a case, the evidence could be thrown out of court.

An officer is not allowed to stop someone and pry open the dashboard of the person without a warrant, consent or probable cause. If this is done, the Fourth Amendment rights of the defendants will be seen as violated. This means that the evidence, which is the drug can be tossed out. If there is no other evidence, the charges could be dropped. Case closed. It could even lead to a harassment suit against the arresting officer.


We Can Use the Drugs Belong to Someone Else Defense

When someone is charged with a crime, the defense attorney can go ahead and say that his client didn't commit the crime.

Mr. Barkemeyer can ask the officers to prove that the drugs were yours. How did they know that the drugs were not planted on you? How did they know that the drugs didn't belong to the former occupants of the house you now live in? How did they know that you didn't know that the drugs existed?

A drug possession attorney that knows his onion, like Carl Barkemeyer, will ask the prosecution team to show that you are the owner of the illegal substances.

How do they know that it doesn't belong to other passengers in that vehicle?


We Can Use the Crime Lab Analysis Defense

The fact that an illegal substance looks like cocaine or smells like it doesn't mean that it is. A thorough analysis has to be done by the crime lab. A batch of the substance has to be sent in for testing. The words of an officer can't be used in place of the crime lab analysis. The defense attorney can always poke holes in it.

While the batch was sent to the lab, how do they know that there was no mix-up? How do they know that the crime plan analysts didn't test another batch in place of the defendant's own? How do they know that there were no mistakes in labeling, analysis and so on?

In most cases, the crime lab analyst is made to come up to the stand and defend his results. The defense attorney can then grill him on how accurate the work is. The attorney can ask if there are examples of him making mistakes in the past.

The attorney could even try and poke holes into the life choices of the said crime lab analysts.


We Can Use the Missing Drugs Defense

The criminal defense attorney in Baton Rouge can state the drugs are missing. How can they prove that the drugs used as an exhibit in the trial are truly the drug that was gotten from the defendant? It is no news that seized drugs tend to get missing in a few cases. How did they know that this case was not one of them?

If the court believes the assumption that the drug is missing, it could lead to a dismissal, in some cases.


We Can Use the Drugs were Planted Defense

This is usually not easy to prove because the testimony of a law enforcement agent in the courtroom is usually believed. His colleagues may have no choice but to back his words, but this is not impossible. We have seen cases of drug possession charges been dismissed because an officer perjured in court.

Sometimes, drugs have been planted on defendants by overzealous cops. It is no news that many states frown against drug charges and tend to rewards officers that close more drug cases.

Your defense lawyer can file a motion requesting to see the complaint file of the arresting officer. If the arresting officer has a lot of complaints under his record, it could make the work easier for your defense attorney. Those that made the complaint against the officer can be interviewed by your lawyer. This can only work if a judge agrees to the motion. If the judge refuses, another defense strategy has to be used.


We Can Use the Entrapment Defense

Officers love to use sting operations to catch criminals because they have been proven to work. They tend to catch the criminal with his hands in the cookie jar. Catching a criminal in the act makes the job easier for the officer and prosecutor.

While this is legal, there are restrictions on this.

The drug possession attorney could state that his client committed the crime because of entrapment. Entrapment occurs when the undercover officer or informant of the officer cajoles a person to commit a crime that he won't have done if not for the fact that he was pressurized.

Entrapment defense can be used mostly when the state, through the officer or informant, was the one that provided the drugs.


Arrested for Drug Possession in Baton Rouge? You Need a Drug Possession Lawyer in Baton Rouge to Help

It doesn't matter what kind of drug possession charge that you may be facing, you should not take it lightly. It is common to see drug charges increased because the defendant decided that he didn't need a drug possession attorney like Carl Barkemeyer representing him.

We have seen a drug possession charge increased to drug trafficking charge because the said defendant ended up blabbing out some incriminating things that helped the authorities dig a deeper hole for him.

Instead of trying to talk for a way out of the arrest and charge, you should consider contacting your drug possession lawyer in Baton Rouge immediately. 

It is important that you contact a drug possession attorney that understands the laws of Baton Rouge and how the drug possession terrain operates in that region. Contact Carl Barkemeyer today.

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