Drug use is ubiquitous in colleges across the U.S. – marijuana being the most prevalent of all. On some college campuses, smoking marijuana is even more common than drinking alcohol. So what’s the harm in smoking a joint with friends at a party? It’s easy to be tricked into thinking it’s no big deal.
However, if you’re in Louisiana, you should know that marijuana possession remains illegal, and there are penalties for any amount of marijuana possession. Beyond the legal ramifications, getting caught with pot can impact your future in other ways you may not realize:
Up until recently, Louisiana was one of the strictest states in the country when it came to drug possession penalties. If you were caught with even a small amount of marijuana, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, and you could face a $500 fine and six months in jail for your first offense.
Fortunately, the law surrounding this just changed in August of last year – which reduced the penalties substantially. Now, the maximum penalty for possessing 14 grams or less of marijuana is a $100 fine. However, a marijuana possession charge still goes on your permanent criminal record.
While the above consequences may not seem too bad, as a college student, you also need to consider the impact of drug possession on your college career. If you rely on government-funded student aid to pay your tuition, you could lose that with a drug charge on your record.
Additionally, if you’re facing a more serious drug-related charge – such as possession of large amount of marijuana, or distribution of any amount – you could face jail time. If you spend time in jail due to the charge, your absence from school could put you on academic probation, and you could graduate late.
Even well after college, a drug charge can still affect your future. If you want to apply to graduate school, a criminal record may impact your acceptance. Having a criminal record can also make it difficult to get a rental contract, a job or a loan.
Although the laws surrounding marijuana are changing in Louisiana, it’s important to remember that the drug is still illegal in the state. One mistake could negatively impact your life for a long time. If you’re facing a drug charge, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about what options may be available to you.