Recent studies show that Louisiana is one of the harshest states when it comes to drug charges. Simply possessing under 28 grams of cocaine can land you up to 5 years in prison with potential hard labor and up to a $5,000 fine. Cocaine is also the most common drug found in the majority of Louisiana drug prison sentences.
Such a long prison sentence can ruin someone’s life from charges for possessing even the smallest amount amount. College students could lose scholarships. Adults could lose their jobs. Husbands can lose their wives and vice-versa. It also does not help that cocaine is a white powdery substance. Despite their experience, several officers have mistaken other materials for cocaine, resulting in people receiving charges for something they did not possess. It is important to be aware that this happens when considering your defense options for your trial.
One night in March 2017, officers pulled over a man in Oviedo, Florida for driving without headlights. The man was on probation and previously received charged for marijuana and cocaine possession. The officer spotted white powder on the floor, which tested positive for cocaine. The police arrested the man and had him sit in his cell for nearly 3 months before they realized their mistake.
The man was also a handyman and had white drywall dust on the floor of his vehicle. Despite the initial field testing proving this was positive for cocaine, the lab results that came 90 days later proved otherwise. The story was so infamous that it went on to receive attention from multiple national news outlets.
Baking soda bust
In May of 2016, Arkansas police arrested a couple from Utah that hauled cargo for the military for supposedly possessing over $300,000 in cocaine. As it turns out, those were several bags containing baking soda to help with the wife’s sensitive stomach. It did not stop authorities from Arkansas from seizing their truck and putting them behind bars for over 2 months. After the test results proved their innocence, they came out of prison with a heavily damaged truck and lost their jobs.
The Huffington Post article that featured their story also references a Nevada study that states that 33 percent of the drug field test results from 2010 to 2013 resulted in false positives. These incidents still occurred within the last two years and from nearby states, so the threat of an innocent person facing charges for possessing a substance that looks like cocaine is still present. Even getting arrested for a couple of months for the misunderstanding can still have major ramifications on your life.
If you believe you or a loved one were wrongfully arrested for drug possession, a criminal defense attorney can help you build your case to either minimize or eliminate potential charges. You should not have to pay for faulty field equipment or an officer’s mistake.