Being arrested on drug charges in Louisiana can be a worrisome experience. Those who might have given or sold drugs to another person or are accused of doing so might have a vague understanding of the potential penalties they can face, but do not grasp the different potential consequences that could be assessed based on circumstances. For example, there is a difference between distributing to the drugs to a legal adult who is 18 or older and someone who is younger than 18. Knowing the law for distribution to those under 18 can be a critical part of a legal defense against the allegations.

It is important to understand how drugs are categorized. Schedule I drugs are those without acceptable medical uses and can be prone to abuse. Included are LSD, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy.

Schedule II drugs are those that have substantial penchant to be abused and can lead to addiction. Included are methamphetamine, cocaine, OxyContin and fentanyl.

Schedule III drugs are considered to have a moderate-to-low level of addictive qualities and include steroids, testosterone and codeine. Schedule IV drugs have low potential of addiction and include Xanax, Valium and Ambien. Schedule V drugs have an even lower potential for abuse and include cough medicines with low levels of codeine.

If a person is at least 25 and distributes a Schedule I or II substance to a person under 18, it will result in prison or hard labor for at least 10 and up to 30 years. If a person who is at least 18 distributes a Schedule I or II drug to someone who is under 18 and who is a minimum of three years younger than that individual, he or she will face a jail sentence of at least five years and up to 30 years. If the person is at least 18 and distributes drugs under Schedules I to V to a person who is under 18 and is at least three years younger, there can be one and one-half times the potential jail sentence and up to twice the fine amount for a conviction based on the law for scheduled drugs and varies depending on amounts.

When there are accusations of drug violations and it involves a juvenile, it could present a litany of problems. In some cases, the person distributing the drugs may not have been aware the person was under 18 or that the drugs were illegal.