New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
Drug laws with severe penalties are commonplace in the nation’s “War on Drugs,” and Louisiana drug laws are no exception. Louisiana drug crimes carry some of the stiffest penalties in the nation. Fighting the charges can be overwhelming and almost impossible without the assistance of an experienced New Orleans drug defense attorney.
Our attorney, Elizabeth B. Carpenter, has defended virtually every type of drug offense imaginable. Many of our clients who are charged with drug crimes are prominent hard-working individuals who made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We know that you have a lot to lose if convicted; your career and future are on the line. Therefore, it is imperative for you to have an attorney who is committed to aggressively fighting for you.
Drug Possession Defense
If you are arrested for possessing any amount of an illegal drug other than marijuana, you will likely be facing felony charges, with the costly fines and lengthy prison terms that follow a conviction.
Penalties for drug possession are determined largely by the kind and amount of drugs involved. Under Louisiana as well as federal law, illegal drugs are divided into five schedules: I through V. The schedule placement is based upon the substance’s medical use, potential for abuse, and safety or dependence liability. Heroin is a Schedule I drug, while Cocaine and most prescription opioids are Schedule II controlled substances. Convictions for drugs on these two schedules typically come with the most severe penalties. Additionally, illegal possession of several prescription medications, especially the opioids that are at the center of the prescription drug crisis, now come with a mandatory one-year minimum prison sentence. Naturally, as with most crimes, the penalties increase on second and subsequent convictions, and if you are charged with possession with intent to sell, the possible consequences become even more dire.
Different Kinds of Possession
In simplest terms, possessing something can be defined as having control of a given thing. In a law enforcement context, possession is often separated into the following categories:
- Actual Possession- Actual possession can be easily defined as having something in your hand or close enough where you can have physical control over it. For example, holding a baggie of drugs or having a bag of drugs in your pocket.
- Constructive Possession- Constructive possession is not as easily defined but can be best understood as having knowledge or awareness of something. For example, having a backpack with drugs in it located in the trunk of your car. Since it is hidden in the trunk, it is not as readily accessible as Actual Possession.
- Joint Possession- Joint possession is common in situations where someone is arrested in a group or in a small space where multiple people theoretically had control. For example, drugs found stuffed in-between a car seat where two people were sitting.
New Orleans Drug Distribution Attorney
In criminal prosecutions for drug distribution, there are three main categories of transferring drugs:
- Actual Transfer – the defendant goes through the physical action of transferring the controlled substance to another person.
- Constructive Transfer – the prosecutor either feels that they have enough evidence to prove the defendant intended to distribute the drugs, or the quantity of the drugs is significant enough to indicate an intention to distribute.
- Attempted Transfer – the defendant attempted to distribute the drugs, the attempt was not successful.
Drug distribution/trafficking is a felony offense in Louisiana that is punishable by payment of fine or incarceration in jail or both. Penalty for drug distribution is based on the quantity of the drug and the Schedule of the drug. The penalty of illegal distribution of a drug in Schedule I will be harsher than the illegal distribution of drugs in Schedule IV or V. Also, the larger the number of drugs, the harsher the punishment.
An offender may face heightened sentence if any of these aggravating factors are present in their case:
- The schedule of drug been distributed
- Prior drug arrest history
- Distribution while armed
- Sale of drugs to a minor or on school grounds
- If children were involved
Defense Strategy in Louisiana Drug Cases
The key to overcoming or reducing drug charges can lie in mounting a vigorous defense from the very outset of the accusations against you. In every case, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor drug possession offense or a federal drug trafficking crime, our goal is to carefully examine the evidence against you to get the most favorable resolution.
We do this by asking:
- Did the police have the right to pull our client over?,
- Did the police have the right to search our client’s home or car?
- Was your detention illegal?
- Were you properly read your Miranda rights?
- Can the government prove drug possession beyond a reasonable doubt?
- In cases of prescription medication, did you have the authority to possess the drugs?
Sometimes, the answers to these questions can result in evidence being suppressed and charges being dismissed.
Drugs offenses we have experience defending:
- Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Manufacturing
- Prescription Drug Charges
- Drug Cultivation
Contact: New Orleans Drug Crimes Attorney
Criminal defense attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter has experience defending drug crimes in both state and federal court. She has developed relationships with many judges and prosecutors that serve as an asset when negotiating drug cases. When Ms. Carpenter agrees to take your case, you will be a priority, and every effort will be made to improve the outcome of the case for you. It is understood that you hire an attorney to fight for you. Contact our office today to see how we can help get you through this troubling time. Call at 504-599-5955 – Available 24/7!