The differences between the charges of simple possession and possession with intent to distribute can be life-changing. Simple Possession weed might be a misdemeanor, but PWIT, Distribution, Sale, or Manufacture of Marijuana are felonies with serious consequences–both in terms of jail time and loss of civil rights.
So, what is the difference between simple possession and possession with intent to distribute? The team at Crescent City Law breaks down what we know about the two, and what steps you should take if you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Louisiana.
You don’t have to be alone in your charges. Let our dedicated New Orleans team at Crescent City Law help.
Simple Possession and Possession With Intent to Distribute in Louisiana
At first look, simple possession and possession with intent to distribute seem like fairly simple legal concepts.
- Possession is when an individual is in control of, or “possesses,” an illegal substance, and it is found on their person, or in their home or car.
- Possession with intent to distribute is defined as an individual who not only possesses an illegal substance, but also has plans to sell or distribute it with others. Many times, police arrest people for PWIT when they find other evidence (like large quantities, scales, zip lock bags, or multiple individually wrapped packages of drugs).
As mentioned before, these two very different consequences can come from these two charges, so it’s important to understand the difference.
What Is the Difference Between Simple Possession and Possession With Intent to Distribute?
There is good news and bad news when it comes to defining the types of possession in New Orleans and Louisiana.
Unfortunately, no one knows the true difference between simple possession and possession with intent to distribute.
There are not clear laws to define the two, so people can face the more or less serious charge based on different reasons. The charges are typically based on circumstantial evidence.
However, because there is not a strict difference between the two charges, a committed defense attorney can fight for your best possible outcome. Since the evidence is usually circumstantial, it can be difficult for authorities to prove an individual actually had an intent to distribute.
A good lawyer can assess all the evidence in your situation and form a strong defense.
Possession of Marijuana Charges in Louisiana
Charges can also vary based on the drug that you are accused of having, as well as the amount.
It is important to note, however, that Louisiana operates on a three strike system. When you are caught for the third time with an illegal drug, then you may face felony charges matter what and can be punished with at least 2 years in prison!
You may have heard in 2021 about the Louisiana House of Representatives’ attempts to fully legalize marijuana. While that bill did not pass, another bill did pass to lower criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
What are the new penalties for marijuana possession?
When it comes to marijuana possession, these are some charges you could face if convicted:
- Less than 14 grams is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 15 days in jail or a fine up to $100
- Between 14 grams and 2.5 pounds can see up to six months in jail or a fine up to $500
- More than 2.5 pounds is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $30,000 fine
From then on, jail time and fines only grow for amounts up to 2,000 or even 10,000 or more pounds.
What To Do If You’re Charged With Possession in New Orleans, LA?
Considering the gravity of potential penalties, it’s natural to feel afraid or unsure where to turn if you’re charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute in New Orleans. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to really support your case.
1. Remain Silent
The number one rule is to remain silent. It’s crucial you exercise this right until you are able to speak with a New Orleans criminal defense attorney.
Anything you say will be used against you in court, and because these cases rely so heavily on circumstantial evidence, the less information you provide, the better, and if you can provide no information, that’s the best.
2. Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
The next step is to contact a New Orleans defense attorney, but you can’t rely on just any attorney to handle your case. You need a lawyer who is experienced in criminal defense cases, particular with drug possession charges. An experienced lawyer will have the right knowledge and skills to fight for your best possible outcome.
3. Gather Evidence to Protect Your Case
Finally, along with your lawyer, it’s important that you gather evidence to protect your case. You can work together with your New Orleans criminal defense lawyer to assess your situation, find weaknesses in the authorities’ charges, and evidence to back up your defense.
Contact Crescent City Law to Protect You in Your Possession Case
Here at Crescent City Law, we are ready to fight for your case with a powerful defense. John Radziewicz knows one mistake or misaccusation shouldn’t prevent you from working toward your improvements, and he has years of experience that help him bring a unique lens to criminal defense cases.
If you’re facing a New Orleans or Louisiana possession charge, contact John today to set up your initial consultation.