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The Law Firm of Jerome W. Matthews, Jr., LLC

Serving the Greater New Orleans Area

Drug Crimes

The federal government, and the state of Louisiana, has drug laws against the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of a controlled substance, such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, "club drugs," and heroin, as well as laws against the abuse of prescription drugs. This type of criminal offense is sometimes referred to as drug-defined crime. The drug-defined offenses that result in the greatest punishments include producing, manufacturing, selling illegal drugs, although the ultimate punishment for a drug offense depends upon the type of the drug, the quantity of the drugs, and the geographic location of the offense.

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing

Drug cultivation and manufacturing laws make it a crime to 1) grow, produce, and possess certain plants and other naturally occurring elements used in the production of unlawful controlled substances, such as cannabis seeds and marijuana plants; or 2) to produce illegal controlled substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and Ecstasy (MDMA), which require use of certain chemicals and laboratory equipment in their production. Repackaging or labeling a drug product can also be considered drug manufacture. Federal and state drug cultivation and manufacturing laws vary according to drug type and the amount produced.

Distribution and Trafficking

Drug distribution laws penalize the sale, transportation, and delivery of illegal controlled substances. A person can be charged with “Actual” distribution if he or she is caught physically transferring an illegal product to another person. “Attempted” distribution is when a person is attempting to sell an illegal drug, but is prevented from doing so. Federal and state drug distribution laws and punishments vary according to drug type, quantity of the drugs, the amount of money paid for the exchanges, geographic area of distribution, and whether minors were sold to or targeted.


Federal and Louisiana laws state that a person can be arrested for knowingly possessing an illegal controlled substance or unauthorized prescription. Usually in order to be charged with this crime, a person has to be aware of the presence of the illegal drug and have physical control of its use. These laws also criminalize the possession of "precursor" chemicals used in drug cultivation and manufacturing, as well as drug related paraphernalia, including but not limited to, crack pies, bongs, rolling papers, and syringes. Sometimes proximity to any one of these illegal substances can result in an arrest and/or criminal charges. This is could be considered “constructive possession.” In this type of case, it is usually up to the arresting officers or the jury to determine if the illegal substance belonged to the defendant.

Drug possession laws vary according to drug type, amount, and geographic area of the offense. Possession of small quantities may be deemed "simple" possession, while possession of large amounts may result in a charge of presumed "possession with intent to distribute”, which is a much more serious crime. When does a drug possession charge risk becoming ‘intent to distribute’? The total weight of the substance is usually the determining factor. For example, anything greater than a gram of cocaine or an ounce of marijuana can be considered “intent to distribute”, at least when it comes to meriting a court trial.

Drug Crime Defense New Orleans
  • Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Possession of Marijuana
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Drug Manufacturing
  • Prescription Drug Charges
  • Drug Cultivation

When should you hire a criminal defense attorney?

Anyone who has been arrested or charged with committing a crime will undoubtedly need the help of a New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney. Many individuals facing criminal charges delay finding a qualified attorney until there is no other option, which can be a big mistake. There are undoubtedly many important things happening at once when charges are made that must be handled; however, the first thing that should be done is to find legal counsel. Most criminal defense attorneys would stress that the outcome of the case may very well depend on early attorney representation.

Researching and finding a good New Orleans Criminal Defense Lawyer as early in the process as possible is recommended when someone has been arrested and is facing possible criminal charges. This is especially true immediately after being arrested but before formal charges have been filed as many times attorneys can negotiate a dismissal before any charges are actually made. The key to taking advantage of such an opportune time is getting legal representation immediately after the arrest.

If charges have been made, it is still vital to find legal representation right away to improve having a more positive outcome. Any negotiating prior to authorization of charges, plea bargaining, or other discussion about dropping or lessening charges is more likely to happen in the early stages of a case rather than after charges have been finalized. A criminal defense attorney will know if there may be bargaining room with the prosecutor after hearing an account of the arrest as well as know how to proceed from that point.

Hire a New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney Today!!!