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Criminal Defense

Is the possession of a controlled substance a felony in Louisiana

By January 16, 2023May 23rd, 2024No Comments

The criminal justice system is not always as “just” as we’d like it to be – and this is especially true in Louisiana. 

If you’ve been accused or charged with drug possession, the Jones Law Partners will protect your rights and guide you through the legal system. This blog serves as an introductory brief guide to drug possession laws in Louisiana.

How are controlled substances defined in Louisiana?

Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) are what we commonly refer to as drugs. 

Louisiana has organized them into five categories–or schedules–based on the potential for abuse and accepted medical use.

Schedule I

  • The state of Louisiana says this category is for drugs that currently have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. They are considered the most dangerous substances. Examples include:
    • Marijuana (cannabis)
    • LSD
    • Heroin
    • Ecstasy

It’s important to note that although they are in the same category, the sentencing rules for cannabis possession are different from the rest of these drugs.

Schedule II

  • These are drugs with a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples include:
    • Cocaine
    • Methamphetamine
    • Fentanyl
    • Oxycodone

Schedule III

  • These are substances with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Examples include:
    • Ketamine
    • Anabolic steroids
    • Testosterone

Schedule IV

  • Louisiana law states these are drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples include:
    • Xanax
    • Valium

Schedule V

  • Finally, Schedule V are drugs, like Robitussin AC, with lower potential for abuse than the rest of the categories and are typically used to treat common symptoms.

Understandably, when accused of certain drug possession, it’s of the utmost importance to have the aid of a dedicated criminal defense attorney in Louisiana on your side.

Aggravating factors according to Louisiana law

Most Simple drug possession charges in Louisiana are felonies, some with a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $5,000. 

The simple possession of marijuana, however, may not always be a felony. In some situations, it may be a misdemeanor

The following are some aggravating factors that can be used to enhance simple drug possession from a lesser sentence to a longer sentence.

Possession of Schedule I or II drugs

You can face a minimum one-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $50,000 for the following;

  • Possession of 28 grams or more of a non-cannabis Schedule I drug
  • Possession of 2.5 pounds or more of cannabis 
  • Possession of 28 grams or more of a Schedule II drug

Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute

The court of Louisiana considers the above large quantities of drugs and the prosecution may also accuse you with the intent to sell. Depending on the drug, this can mean a felony charge with up to 40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Possession of Rohypnol or the “Date Rape Drug”

Possession without a prescription and with the intent to commit a violent crime is a felony.

Possession in a drug-free zone

The law in Louisiana says it’s a felony to be in possession of any amount of drugs at the following locations or even within 2,000 feet of them;

  • Schools, including any public or private K-12 school, vocational-technical school, or university
  • Drug treatment facilities
  • Religious buildings including churches, synagogues, and mosques, if sign is posted
  • Public housing, if sign is posted
  • Child daycare centers, if sign is posted

Three strike rule

Although the three strikes rule generally applies to felonies, it can apply to misdemeanor drug possession depending on the circumstances. In Louisiana, If you are charged with a misdemeanor for the third time or felony drug possession for the third time, you can end up with a felony charge with a minimum sentencing of 12 years.

Contact the Jones Law Partners today

You don’t have to go through this process alone. If you’re facing drug possession charges, call the Jones Law Partners today so that we can help you plan your next steps and protect your good name. We have years of experience defending the rights of our community members, and we will be there for you every step of the way to fight for your rights and advocate for you.

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