The penalties for a conviction in Louisiana can be severe, depending upon the crime involved. Those found guilty of some drug charges can face up to 30 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Nevertheless, those consequences can only follow a criminal conviction, and government prosecutors must first prove each and every element of the charges in court and beyond a reasonable doubt. That is often a difficult standard to meet.
One couple facing Louisiana drug charges could face the harshest of penalties. According to a recent report, the couple, who live in another state, were in a vehicle on I-10 when they were stopped for a relatively minor traffic offense (allegedly following behind another vehicle too closely). During the stop, police searched the vehicle and say they discovered 5 pounds of cocaine. Police estimated the value of the drugs to be in excess of $45,000.
It is unclear what led to the search of the vehicle by police. Typically, a vehicle cannot be searched absent probable cause to believe that an occupant has committed or will commit a crime. As this case proceeds to criminal court, further details about what led to the search, discovery and arrests may be revealed.
In every criminal case in Louisiana, those that have been accused have the right to question all aspects of their arrest. This includes the procedures that led to a traffic stop, a search, an arrest and detainment. In each scenario, there are procedures that must be followed to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected. This right to challenge is fundamental to the development of a strong defense against claims such as drug charges or other serious accusations.
Source: wlox.com, "Man, woman from Moss Point facing drug charges in LA", July 13, 2017