Criminal Procedure

Crack Cocaine — Fair Sentencing Act 2010 Amendment



Federal Criminal Defense Attorney



What Is the Crack Cocaine Amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines? 


Historically, federal law treated those convicted of crack cocaine offenses much more harshly than those convicted of offenses involving cocaine. This is despite the fact that chemically the substances are very similar and physiologically they react with the body in the same way.  The sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and cocaine offenses was originally 100 to 1. This means that if a conviction for 100 grams of cocaine would result in a 30 year sentence, it would only take 1 gram of crack cocaine to get a 30 year sentence.


The difference in the law had an enormous effect on who gets the harsher punishments, as crack cocaine is found more often in neighborhoods that are predominantly occupied by African Americans and cocaine is generally found in more affluent, White areas.  This resulted in the over incarceration of African Americans in the United States.


Over the years, civil rights advocates and criminal defense attorneys called for a more fair sentencing structure that treats the two drugs more similarly.  Lawmakers eventually realized that this distinction was not scientifically supported and had contributed to the over criminalization of African Americans over the years.  A few years ago, the federal government took a step in the right direction and decreased the disparity between the two drugs.  In 2010, lawmakers reduced the crack/cocaine disparity to about 18 to 1.  While still far from equal, this was a welcome step by many because it showed willingness to compromise on the issue.  These changes went into effect on November 1, 2011.


Retroactivity of the Amendment


Once the lawmakers decided that the sentencing scheme was not fair as written, and that it needed to be rewritten to reduce the disparity, that raised another question: Can it be retroactively applied?


Unfortunately, despite the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, there are thousands of people — the vast majority of whom are African American — still in prison serving excessive sentences based on the discredited 100:1 sentencing disparity. In May of this year, a majority panel of the Sixth Circuit concluded that it was unconstitutional to allow thousands of already incarcerated offenders to continue to serve extremely long sentences based on the 100:1 disparity, while allowing offenders – who have committed identical crimes – to receive significantly shorter sentences, based on the 18:1 sentencing calculation, simply because they were sentenced later.


However, this decision has been appealed.  We are still awaiting a decision.  I am wondering if the 6th Circuit overstepped its power.  I seem to remember congress being the only branch of government with the power to retroactively apply a statute.



To find out if you are eligible for a sentence reduction, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case.


Have You Been Charged With the Possession of Crack or Cocaine Base?


If you have been charged with a federal drug offense, you are facing some serious jail time.  The best thing to do is to ensure that you have the assistance of an experienced New Orleans federal criminal defense attorney as soon in the process as possible. The longer your attorney is able to work on your case, the better the chances are of negotiating the case out of court and avoiding the expense and stress of trial.


Related Posts:

Federal Drug-Trafficking Penalties For Cocaine

Defending Possession with Intent to Distribute Cases — Federal and State Court Drug Crimes




Arrest For Violations Of Probation — Louisiana Law


New Orleans Probation Revocation Attorney



If your loved one has been arrested for a Violation of Probation in the New Orleans area, please contact Attorney Elizabeth Carpenter for a consultation.  She is ready to fight for you and try to keep your loved one out of jail.


Arrest Or Summons For Violation Of Probation —  La CCRP Article 899


At any time during probation and suspension of sentence the court may issue a warrant for the arrest of a defendant for violation of any of the conditions of probation, or may issue a summons to appear to answer to a charge of violation or threatened violation.

The warrant of arrest may be executed by any peace officer and shall direct that the defendant be returned to the custody of the court or to a designated detention facility.  The summons shall be personally served upon the defendant.

If a probation officer has reasonable cause to believe that a defendant has violated or is about to violate a condition of his probation or that an emergency exists so that awaiting an order of the court would create an undue risk to the public or to the probationer, the probation officer may arrest the defendant without a warrant, or may authorize a peace officer to do so.

The court may grant bail to a defendant who is arrested under this article.

When a warrant for a defendant’s arrest or a summons for defendant’s appearance is issued, the running of the period of probation shall cease as of the time the warrant, summons, or detainer is issued.

Within 10 days following the arrest of an offender, the court shall determine if there is probable cause to detain him pending a final violation hearing and shall consider whether to allow the offender bail pending the final hearing.  The determination of probable cause may be made without a formal hearing and may be conducted through the use of affidavits.

Probation officers shall be deemed to be peace officers and shall have the same powers with respect to criminal matters and the enforcement of the law relating thereto as sheriffs, constables, and police officers have in their respective jurisdictions.  They have all the immunities and defenses now or hereafter made available to sheriffs, constables, and police officers in any suit brought against them in consequence of acts done in the course of their employment.



Probation Attorney — Jefferson Parish

New Orleans Probation Revocation Attorney


Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter Represents Clients Who Have Been Accused of Violating Probation in Jefferson Parish.  

Serving Metairie and Gretna!


If you or a loved one has been accused of violating the terms of probation, your probation office will probably file a Rule to Revoke Probation.  It is important to consult with a Probation Revocation Attorney to act as an advocate between the probation officer and the judge.  A rule to revoke probation should not be taken lightly because your freedom is in jeopardy.  The judge has the power to sentence you to serve time for the full term of your original sentence.  Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter has successfully represented many clients for probation violations in Jefferson Parish.  Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

We want to help you and your family!

Use of Controlled Dangerous Substances in the Presence of Person Under Age Seventeen — Louisiana


New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney



Illegal Use of Controlled Dangerous Substances in the Presence of Persons Under Seventeen Years of Age — La.R.S. 14: 91.13


It shall be unlawful for any person over the age of seventeen, while in the presence of any person under the age of seventeen and when there is an age difference of greater than two years between the two persons, to use, consume, possess, or distribute any controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for more than six months, or both.

This offense is a misdemeanor.

 Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter — Drug Crimes Defense New Orleans


Proving Issuance Of Worthless Checks — Louisiana Law


How the DA Proves Issuance of Worthless Checks?


Dishonored Checks is Prima Facie Evidence of Insufficient Funds in Bank — La. R.S.  15:428


Whenever any check or draft shall have been drawn on any bank, whether such bank be in or out of this state, and payment shall have been refused, such check or draft with its endorsements shall be prima facie evidence, that at the time of the presentation of said check or draft, the drawer did not have the money in said bank with which to pay said check or draft.


Issuing Worthless Checks  La.R.S. 14:71


If you have been arrested for a White Collar Crime, contact our New Orleans office today.  

We are ready to start building your defense.


What Is Circumstantial Evidence? — Louisiana Law



If you or a loved one has been arrested or indicted, contact New Orleans Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter.  

Our firm is ready to start building your defense.


Circumstantial Evidence — La.R.S. 15:438


The rule as to circumstantial evidence is: assuming every fact to be proved that the evidence tends to prove, in order to convict, it must exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence.



Sentencing of Sex Offenders — Louisiana Law

New Orleans Sex Crimes Defense Attorney


Attorney  Elizabeth B. Carpenter — Representing Sex Offenders in Baton Rouge, Orleans, Jefferson,

St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany, St. Bernard Parishes.  


Dedicated to reforming Sex Offender Registration Laws!




If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to, or where adjudication has been deferred or withheld for a violation of any of the following:


R.S. 14:78 (incest),

R.S. 14:78.1 (aggravated incest),

R.S. 14:80 (felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile),

R.S. 14:81 (indecent behavior with juveniles),

R.S. 14:81.1 (pornography involving juveniles),

R.S. 14:81.2 (molestation of a juvenile or a person with a physical or mental disability),

R.S. 14:81.3 (computer-aided solicitation of a minor),

R.S. 14:89 (crime against nature),

R.S. 14:89.1 (aggravated crime against nature),

R.S. 14:93.5 (sexual battery of the infirm),

or any provision of Subpart C of Part II of Chapter 1 of Title 14 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes and is sentenced to imprisonment for a stated number of years or months, the person shall not be eligible for diminution of sentence for good behavior.


The court shall sentence a person who has on two or more occasions previously pleaded guilty, nolo contendere, or has been found guilty of violating R.S. 14:42, 42.1, 43, 43.1, 43.2, 43.3, 43.4, 43.5, 78, 78.1, 80, 81, 81.1, 81.2, 89.1, or 107.1(C)(2) to life imprisonment without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.


If you or a loved one has been accused of a Sex Crime, it is imperative that you seek the expertise of an experienced New Orleans Sex Offender Attorney.   Contact our firm for a consultation, we are ready to serve as your advocate.



Failure To Register And Notify As A Sex Offender — Louisiana Law

Sex Crimes Defense Attorney New Orleans


Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. — New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney  


Elizabeth B Carpenter, Esq. is one of Louisiana’s premiere law firms representing clients who are accused of Sex Offenses.  If you have been accused of a Sex Crimecontact our office today to schedule a consultation.  We are dedicated to the defense of those accused of Sex Offenses.  Your freedom is important to us!


If you are being charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender La.R.S. 15:542.1.4, contact our law firm — we have a history of aggressively defending these cases and keeping our clients out of jail.


Failure to Register and Notify as a Sex Offender — La.R.S. 15:542.1.4


A person who fails to register, periodically renew and update registration, provide proof of residence or notification of change of address or other registration information, or provide community notification as required by law, and a person who knowingly provides false information to a law enforcement agency when registering, shall, upon first conviction, be fined not more than $1,000 and imprisoned with hard labor for not less than 2 years nor more than 10 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.


Second and Subsequent Convictions


Upon second or subsequent convictions, the offender shall be fined $3,000 and imprisoned with hard labor for not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.


Failure to Pay Registration Fee


An offender who fails to pay the annual registration fee in accordance with the provisions of R.S. 15:542 shall be fined not more than $500 dollars, imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.  Upon a second or subsequent conviction for the failure to pay the annual registration fee, the offender shall be punished in accordance with the provisions above.


Failure to Notify


Any person who certifies by affidavit the location of the residence of the offender shall send written notice to the appropriate law enforcement agency with whom the person last registered when the offender no longer resides at the residence provided in the affidavit.  This notification shall be made any time the sex offender is absent from the residence for a period of thirty days or more, or the offender vacates the residence with the intent to establish a new residence at another location.  This notification shall be sent within three days of the end of the thirty-day period or within three days of the offender vacating the residence with the requisite intent.

Any person who fails to provide the notice required by this Subsection shall be fined not more than f$500 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, with or without hard labor, or both. — This is a misdemeanor.


Sex Offender Drivers License and Identification Card Violations


Any person required to register as a sex offender with the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information shall obtain a special identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections which shall contain a restriction code declaring that the holder is a sex offender. This special identification card shall include the words “sex offender” in all capital letters which are orange in color and shall be valid for a period of 1 year from the date of issuance.  This special identification card shall be carried on the person at all times by the individual required to register as a sex offender.

Any person who either fails to meet the requirements those requirments or is in posession of a documents that has been altered with the intent to defraud, or who is in possession of a counterfeit of any document required above, shall, on a first conviction, be fined not more than $1000 dollars and imprisoned at hard labor for not less than 2 years nor more than 10 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

Upon a second or subsequent conviction for a violation of the provisions above, the offender shall be fined $3000 and imprisoned at hard labor for not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.



Installation And Certification Of Ignition Interlock Device — Louisiana




Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter, Esq.  —  Defending DWI Cases In South Louisiana




As used in R.S. 15:306, “ignition interlock device” means a constant monitoring device that prevents a motor vehicle from being started at any time without first determining the equivalent blood alcohol level of the operator through the taking of a breath sample for testing.  The system shall be calibrated so that the motor vehicle may not be started if the blood alcohol level of the operator, as measured by the test, reaches a level established by the court and consistent with the rules promulgated by the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, hereafter referred to as the “secretary”.


The secretary shall certify or cause to be certified ignition interlock devices required by R.S. 15:306 and shall publish a list of approved devices.  All reasonable costs of certification shall be borne by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer of the system shall be responsible for the installation or the training of installers and shall educate users and service and maintain the system.


The ignition interlock device shall be installed, calibrated, and monitored directly by trained technicians who shall train the offender for whom the device is being installed in the proper use of the device.


The secretary shall formulate and promulgate a set of rules and regulations for the proper approval, installation, and use of ignition interlock devices in full compliance with this Section and R.S. 15:306.  The standards shall include but not be limited to requirements that the devices or systems:

(1)  Do not impede the safe operation of the vehicle.

(2)  Correlate with established measures of alcohol impairment.

(3)  Work accurately and reliably in an unsupervised environment.

(4)  Resist tampering and give evidence if tampering is attempted.

(5)  Are difficult to circumvent.

(6)  Minimize inconvenience to a sober user.

(7)  Require a proper, deep lung breath sample or other accurate measure of blood alcohol content equivalence.

(8)  Operate reliably over the range of automobile environments.

(9)  Are manufactured by a party who will provide product liability insurance and a bond against malfunction of the device.



The secretary shall design and adopt by regulation a warning label which shall be affixed to each ignition interlock device upon installation.  The label shall contain a warning that any person tampering with, defeating, or otherwise circumventing the device is guilty of a criminal offense and subject to criminal penalty and civil liability.


If  you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany Parishes, contact a New Orleans DWI Defense Attorney — Elizabeth B. Carpenter.


DWI Additional Conditions Of Probation — Ignition Interlock Device In Louisiana




Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter, Esq.  —  Defending DWI Cases In South Louisiana




A.(1)  As an additional condition of probation, the court shall require that any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of R.S. 14:98 and placed on probation in accordance with that Section shall not operate a motor vehicle during the period of probation unless any vehicle, while being operated by that person, is equipped with a functioning ignition interlock device as provided in R.S. 15:307.

(2)  However, nothing in this Section shall be construed as granting a superior right to a restricted license than that provided in R.S. 32:378.2 with regard to any period of preliminary disqualification.

B.(1)  When the court imposes the use of an ignition interlock device as a condition of probation upon a person, the court shall require the person to provide proof of installation of such a device to the court or a probation officer within thirty days.  If the person fails to provide proof of installation within that period, absent a finding by the court of good cause for that failure which is entered into the court record, the court shall revoke the person’s probation.

(2)  “Proof of installation” shall mean either a certificate of installation or a copy of the lease agreement with one of the approved ignition interlock device companies.

C.  The person whose driving privileges are restricted pursuant to this Section shall have the system on his vehicle monitored by the manufacturer for proper use at least semiannually or more frequently as the court may order.  A report of any monitoring shall be issued by the manufacturer to the court within fourteen days after the monitoring.

D.  If a person is required in the course and scope of his employment to operate a motor vehicle which does not have an approved ignition interlock device, and if the vehicle is owned by the employer, the court may allow the person to operate the employer’s vehicle.  Any person authorized to operate an employer’s vehicle without an ignition interlock device shall be required to obtain and present to the court written permission from the employer for the employee to operate a specific vehicle or vehicles.  Such permission shall be in the possession of such person when he operates the employer’s vehicle.  A motor vehicle owned by a business entity which is in whole or in part owned or controlled by a person otherwise subject to this Section is not a motor vehicle owned by the employer.


If  you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. John, St. Tammany Parishes, contact a New Orleans DWI Defense Attorney — Elizabeth B. Carpenter.