Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Does Louisiana have mandatory minimum sentencing?

For drug crimes, Louisiana does have mandatory minimum sentences. Certain crimes may go without prison sentencing, while others have minimum sentences by law. For example, if you're found in possession of over 10,000 pounds of marijuana and are convicted of a drug charge, you must complete a minimum 25-year sentence. That particular crime is a felony.

Interestingly, possession of marijuana in particular is not enough to result in a mandatory minimum sentence as long as you're in possession of less than 60 pounds of the drug. There are suggested prison sentence lengths, but a judge may not decide to give you any prison time at all. However, if you're caught distributing or growing marijuana, then you're in a different situation.

In that case, distributing or growing any amount of the drug has a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. On top of that, you could be facing up to 30 years on your first offense or up to 90 years if you are found guilty of trying to sell marijuana to a minor. Hashish and other kinds of marijuana mixtures are also penalized in the same manner.

According to the law in Louisiana, mandatory minimum sentences are out of a judge's control. That means that even if the judge doesn't think you deserve to face the minimum sentence after a conviction, he'll still have no choice but to sentence you with that penalty. One way you may be able to avoid this is by having your charge lessened or changed to a different category, which is one thing a criminal defense team could try to do for you.

Source: NORML, "Louisiana Laws & Penalties" accessed Feb. 23, 2015

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