Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Charges

What is a felony offense and what is a misdemeanor offense under Louisiana criminal law?

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Louisiana Felonies

A felony is a more serious charge than misdemeanors. Some crimes can be considered either a misdemeanor and a felony depending on the severity.

If you are convicted of a felony crime then you are subject to a fee of one thousand dollars or more and/or a minimum of one year in jail. The severity of the sentence depends upon the severity of the charge.

Felonies include things such as a third DUI conviction, manslaughter, burglary, theft of over five hundred dollars, armed robbery, drug trafficking, and aggravated assault. Generally, crimes which are against another person are considered felony offenses.

Felonies are very serious crimes and as such, can create serious collateral consequences when a felony conviction shows up on your record. Should you be convicted of a felony offense than you can lose some of your rights such as the right to carry a gun. You can also lose the right to vote, or the right to join the military.

Louisiana Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor includes a punishment under one year in a local jail or a county jail and/or a fine which is less than one thousand dollars.

Misdemeanors include things such as underage drinking, first time DUI convictions, public intoxication, simple battery, disturbing the peace, shoplifting, solicitation, and resisting arrest.

In the state of Louisiana, a misdemeanor includes driving under the influence. This can result in a revocation of your license. There are also sentencing options such as fines, jail time, as well as community service. (If you get a third offense in a ten year period, it increases the seriousness of the crime to a felony.)

Louisiana Drug Charges – Felony or Misdemeanor?

The first offense for possession of Marijuana in the state of Louisiana is considered a misdemeanor, class A. The sentence for this can include a fine of five hundred dollars and/or up to six months of jail time. The two can be simultaneously issued depending on the circumstances of the case.

The state of Louisiana lacks laws which govern marijuana trafficking. However, laws pertaining to the sale of marijuana and the possession of any related paraphernalia are very strict. The first offenses for either of these is considered class A misdemeanors. The sentencing for these can include either up to six months in jail and/or a fine of five hundred dollars.

If you are charged with a second offense for wither of these the crime remains a class A misdemeanor but the sentencing is increased to up to one year of time in jail and/or a fine of one thousand dollars. If you receive a third offense, it is considered either a felony or a class A misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. The sentencing can include up to five years in jail and/or a fee of five thousand dollars.

Louisiana Expungements

How can you get a criminal charge removed from your record in Louisiana? The process is called expungement.

Getting a charge expunged limits which records may be viewed by the public. It allows individuals to apply for jobs without having to report a criminal record.

Expungement for misdemeanors is handled by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. It is here that a record can be destroyed or simply left unsealed. If you are charged with a misdemeanor for the first time then you can petition to have it expunged. You can only file this petition once your misdemeanor is five years old and all sentencing requirements and probation have been completed. There are options to expunge some felonies once a petition has been filed. If all requirements are met, DUI cases can be expunged in the state of Louisiana.

Felony Expungement

In the state of Louisiana, felony records can be expunged, but there are certain exceptions to this rule. You must file an application for expungement which can be rejected. You cannot, however expunge a felony for sex offenses which involved someone who was under the age of seventeen.

Statue of Limitations in Louisiana

There is a statute of limitations for felony offenses in the state of Louisiana. For felonies which are punishable by death or by life in prison there is no limitation. There is a statute of limitations of ten years for the following felonies: forcible rape, aggravated sexual battery, carnal knowledge, molestation of a juvenile, indecent behavior, or crimes involving a victim who is under the age of seventeen years.

Felonies which are punishable by hard labor have a limitation of six years while felonies which are not punishable by labor have a limitation of four years.

Criminal Sentencing for Louisiana Felonies

In the state of Louisiana, the criminal code specifies different felony offenses and sentences, as opposed to classes. People who commit first degree murder are punishable by death. They can also receive a sentence of life in prison with hard labor. If the latter, they lack the benefit of parole, suspension of their sentence, or probation. For second degree murder, people can be punished with life in prison. They are not given the benefit of probation, parole, or a suspension of their sentence.

Those who commit aggravated rape can be punished with life in prison at hard labor. Those who receive this punishment are not granted the option of probation, parole, or a suspension of their sentence. If the victim of the aggravated rape is under the age of thirteen, then the district attorney can seek capital punishment which means that the convicted can face death instead of life in prison. If you commit manslaughter then you will face prison time but not for longer than forty years. If the victim was under the age of ten and they were killed as a result of battery, then the convicted can face a prison sentence for life without the option for probation, parole, or a suspension of their sentence.

Another felony in the state of Louisiana is first degree robbery. The convicted for first degree robbery will face prison for between forty years and three years. This sentence is not granted the benefit of probation, parole, or a suspension of the sentence. Another felony offense in the state of Louisiana is third of the third offense. If you commit a theft and you already have two offenses then you are guilty of a felony instead of a misdemeanor. For this you are subject to a sentence of twenty years in prison. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence for a third offense, then you will be charged with a felony and can face between forty five days and five years in prison with a fine of two thousand dollars. If you are found guilty of battery of a police officer, that is, the officer required medical attention from an injury sustained by you, then you can be fined one thousand dollars and prison time for between one and five years, or you can be sentenced to both the fine and the prison time.

Being Charged After an Arrest

A person in the state of Louisiana must be charged within 45 days after they have been arrested for misdemeanor crimes if they are held in custody. If they are not held in customer for a misdemeanor then they must be charged within ninety days.

Help With Louisiana Criminal Offenses

As you can see, the legal statutes are very complicated and difficult to understand for the average person. If you are charged with a crime, you are under considerable stress. Get help from someone who can explain exactly what you are up against, and what kind of help is possible.

Contact us for a criminal case evaluation on any Louisiana criminal charge.