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Drug distribution to Louisiana minors carries harsh penalties

Louisiana carefully enumerates the consequences and criminal penalties for a person convicted of drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and Schedule I, II, III, IV or V drugs. Significantly, in separate criminal statutes the state of Louisiana also takes a harsh stance against a person convicted of committing drug crimes who provides drugs to a minor or to a student.

Under Louisiana law, any person age 25 or older who violates certain Louisiana drug statutes by providing a Schedule I or II narcotic drug to a person under age 18 may face a prison sentence of up to 30 years, with a minimum sentence of ten years. If a person who is 18 years old or older distributes a Schedule I or II narcotic drug to a person who is under age 18 and at least three years younger than the perpetrator, then the accused may face a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 30 years, if convicted.

Significantly, Louisiana also delineates a separate crime for a person who has provided drugs to a student. A person who distributes a Schedule I, II, III, IV or V controlled substance to a student may face a significantly elevated punishment than if the accused had distributed the drug to a non-student. The increased penalties could include double the fine, as well as a prison sentence that is one and one-half times longer than for distribution to a person who is not a student. Distribution to any student enrolled in postsecondary education, vocational-technical training, public or private elementary or secondary school falls under this statute.

A Louisianan who has been charged with providing drugs to a minor or a student may wish to seek prompt legal counsel, as there are potentially serious consequences if convicted. An attorney may be able to discuss possible defenses to a pending charge, negotiate a plea agreement or provide other essential guidance.

Source: Louisiana State Legislature, "RS 40:981," accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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