All drug charges carry serious repercussions in Louisiana. However, those surrounding heroin are, perhaps, the strictest. This is what to expect if you face a variety of heroin-related charges.
Louisiana heroin laws explained
Heroin possession charges can be handed down when a person is found to even have small amounts of the drug. Less than 2 grams of heroin can result in two to four years in prison. Some sentences include hard labor as well. For larger amounts such as 28 grams of heroin, a conviction carries anywhere from two to 10 years with or without hard labor and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Distributing and trafficking heroin carry harsher consequences. If a person is convicted of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, they could receive penalties such as five to 40 years in prison, hard labor and a maximum fine of $50,000. Of course, the larger the amount of heroin involved, the harsher the penalties.
Trafficking heroin and selling the drug to minors carries harsh penalties as well. For a conviction, a person can face 10 to 30 years of prison with hard labor. For individuals who are younger, at least 18 years old who sell heroin to a minor who’s at least three years younger than them, penalties for a conviction include five to 30 years in prison.
Defenses to heroin charges
In a drug case involving heroin, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. However, there are several possible defenses that can be used. One of the strongest is to argue that the police lacked probable cause. Illegal search and seizure can be used when officers did not have a warrant and searched the defendant’s property or person to uncover drugs.
Entrapment is a potential defense that could be used if a police officer involved in the arrest forced the person into possessing, selling, distributing or trafficking heroin. This usually occurs when an officer is undercover. Presenting evidence is crucial when entrapment is used as a defense.
In some cases, if the defendant has an addiction to heroin, the defense could help them by having them seek rehab.