Due to the harmful nature of Methamphetamine and the devasting effects it can have on the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live, the State of Louisiana fiercely prosecutes crimes relating to this drug including possession of, intent to distribute, producing, manufacturing, and trafficking Methamphetamine. When you or a loved one are charged with possession of Methamphetamine in Louisiana, it can often be a turning point for achieving sobriety and a determinative time for your future.
A conviction for one or more of these charges is likely to result in significant jail time and create a criminal record that can negatively impact future eligibility for job opportunities and school scholarships. However, with the guidance and aggressive representation of a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to get the charges against you greatly reduced or even dismissed.
At the Law Office of Robert S. Toale, we will handle your case with a comprehensive defense strategy and work tirelessly to defend your rights against these charges. With your liberty and freedom on the line, it is crucial to mount the strongest defense possible by challenging the admission of evidence whenever appropriate and weakening the prosecution’s case against you at every opportunity.
Methamphetamine Abuse in Louisiana
In Louisiana, Methamphetamine, which is also known as crystal meth, ice, crank and speed, is surpassing crack cocaine as one of the most common street drugs. Its lower cost and greater availability have led to a greater focus on meth investigations and prosecutions by Louisiana law enforcement. Meth labs have also become more prevalent throughout the state, resulting in an increase of convictions for the production and manufacturing of the drug.
Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and a neurotoxin. This means it is one of the most serious types of drugs and is associated with a high potential for abuse and dependency.
Meth creates a euphoric high by rapidly releasing high levels of dopamine to the brain but can lead to dangerous health consequences like heart attack, seizure, organ failure, and even death. Meth can quickly destroy many aspects of a user’s life, causing them to be unable to hold a job, a relationship, or even care for their own basic physical needs.
Initially, meth use produces side effects like anxiety, loss of appetite, irregular heart rate, and mood swings, but chronic use can lead to even more significant health issues like hallucinations, tooth decay, and violent or erratic behavior. Overdosing on the drug can be fatal.
What are the Penalties of a Meth Possession Conviction?
In addition to the health consequences of meth use, possessing the drug can also lead to serious criminal charges that may cost you your freedom. Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug and its possession is punished severely under Louisiana law. If you knowingly or intentionally possess any amount of Methamphetamine in Louisiana, you may face significant jail time and fines.
The penalties for possession of less than 28 grams of Methamphetamine include up to 5 years in prison, with or without hard labor, and fines of up to $5,000.
If you are convicted of possession of 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, of Methamphetamine, you may face prison time of at least 5 years and up to 30 years, in additional to fines of at least $50,000 and up to $150,000.
Convictions for possession of between 200 to 400 grams of Methamphetamine carry penalties of at least 10 years and up to 30 years of imprisonment, with or without hard labor, and fines between $100,000 to $350,000.
If you are convicted of possession of 400 grams or more of Methamphetamine, you may be sentenced to between 15 to 30 years in prison and be ordered to pay fines of at least $250,000 and up to $600,000.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of one of these offenses, you will have a felony conviction in your criminal background history, causing you to be ineligible for certain job opportunities.
Intent to Distribute, Distribution, Production, Manufacturing, and Trafficking Charges
Charges for intent to distribute, distributing, producing, manufacturing, or trafficking Methamphetamine may be issued in addition to possession charges. You can potentially be convicted of multiple charges related to Methamphetamine, resulting in longer sentences of imprisonment and higher fines.
Often, if you are found to be in possession of a large amount of Methamphetamine—an amount more than one would typically possess for personal use—you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute.
If convicted, you may face a minimum of 2 years of imprisonment and up to 30 years of imprisonment, with or without hard labor, along with fines of up to $50,000.
Convictions for the production or manufacturing of methamphetamine carry potential sentences of a minimum of 10 and no more than 30 years of imprisonment, with up to $50,000 in fines.
In the prosecution’s case against you, they must prove each element of the offense, such as intent, beyond a reasonable doubt. While it is the burden of the prosecution to prove its case against you, a strong defense strategy will aim to undermine the prosecution’s case in every way possible. With your liberty on the line, you need the most effective legal advocate with experience handling these meth charges.
Defending Your Rights
An effective and ideal way to win your case is to get the charges against you dismissed before your case ever goes to trial. To accomplish this, your defense attorney may wish to discuss your case with the prosecution and work to convince them that they do not have a strong case against you and are not likely to be successful at trial.
However, convincing the prosecution to reduce or dismiss your charges is complex and requires in-depth knowledge of Louisiana criminal law, criminal procedure, and the rules of evidence.
Illegal Search and Seizure
One of the most successful defense arguments—if applicable to the facts in your case—is that the prosecutor’s evidence against you was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights.
In order to conduct a lawful search and seizure, law enforcement must have a warrant issued by a neutral magistrate. A few exceptions to this requirement exist including consent, plain view doctrine, automobile exception, search incident to arrest, stop & frisk, and emergency/hot pursuit.
If law enforcement conducts a search and seizure without a warrant and not under one of these exceptions, they have violated your Fourth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. If law enforcement did not have lawful authority to seize the evidence they obtained, the prosecution may not admit that evidence against you in court. If the prosecution cannot use this evidence, they may dismiss the charges against you entirely, if they do not believe they will be able to meet their burden at trial.
Expunging a Methamphetamine Conviction
If you have already been convicted of a meth charge, you know the devasting impact the record of conviction can have on your life and future. Certain methamphetamine charges, such as possession of methamphetamine, may be eligible for expungement—a process that removes your record of conviction from public view—after a period of 10 years, if you meet all the requirements to qualify for an expungement.
It is best to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the expungement process, as it is complex and the requirements are nuanced and specific.
If you would like more information about whether you may qualify for expungement of a prior methamphetamine possession conviction, contact us today.
We Have the Experience You Need to Challenge the Charges
At the Law Office of Robert S. Toale, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, we apply our years of experience to aggressively defend the rights and liberties of those facing methamphetamine charges at the state or federal level. We have successfully defended countless clients against possession, intent to distribute, distribution, production, manufacturing, and trafficking charges related to Methamphetamine.
The firm’s founder, Robert S. Toale, has practiced criminal defense law exclusively for more than 30 years. He has tried hundreds of criminal cases across Louisiana and earned a respected reputation for his talent and success in the courtroom. No stranger to handling high-stake and high-profile cases, Mr. Toale has been interviewed and quoted by national news media, contributing his breadth of legal knowledge to complex discussions of criminal law and procedure.
Contact Us For Diligent Legal Representation | Phones Answered 24/7
When facing meth charges, you need an experienced attorney on your side who understands how to handle drug charges. Our attorneys are seasoned advocates who will aggressively defend your rights. We offer complimentary consultations to answer your initial questions about the charges against you and our approach to developing a comprehensive defense strategy in your case.
If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of, intent to distribute, distribution, production of, manufacturing, or trafficking Methamphetamine, do not face these charges alone. Contact us today at 504-618-1519 to arrange a confidential consultation.