Possession of Marijuana in Louisiana
I often get questions on all sorts of topics as a criminal attorney, but more often than not I get questions regarding possession of marijuana charges and penalties. What I have found is that most citizens do not realize that, generally speaking, a second possession of marijuana or synthetic cannabinoid is a felony charge. Possession of marijuana charges are enhanceable offences, which means the penalty increases if a person is convicted of a second possession of marijuana charge.
General PenaltiesAccording to Louisiana law, the penalty for first-offense possession of marijuana is a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in parish jail. A second offense possession of marijuana is a felony charge, and is punishable by a fine of not less than $250 no more than $2,000 and/or up to 5 years of imprisonment with or without hard labor. However, there are certain facts, specific elements or exception which may enhance the charge from possession of marijuana to possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Probation and ExpungementNonetheless, both misdemeanor and felony offenders may be eligible for expungement and/or probation (at the judge's discretion), which includes the minimum condition of four eight-hour days of court approved community service and a court-approved substance abuse program (paid for by the defendant). The judge may also order various costs, fines, drug screenings, and any other condition that the judge may deem appropriate for the offender to perform. Third and subsequent offenses shall be sentenced with or without hard labor for not more than 20 years and may be fined up to $5,000.