Drug Arrest on Interstate 20

October 8th, 2021

One of the worse kept secrets in North Louisiana is that Interstate 20 is a hotbed for narcotics trafficking. Many out-of-state residents do not realize that merely by driving on Interstate 20 they can become a target for a pretextual stop based on law enforcement’s belief that Interstate 20 is a drug trafficking corridor. While having an interstate that runs through your city and connects both coasts can be an economic benefit, that also comes with certain liabilities. The one that most impacts my clients is being stopped and detained due to overly zealous officers pursuing potential drug traffickers. One dominant emotion people experience when pulled over is fear. While that fear might be warranted, read on to understand how to alleviate some of that fear.  


If I have drugs in my possession, what will my charge be?

In the State of Louisiana, your charge depends on what the officers accuse you of having in your possession. There runs a gamut from a misdemeanor for a small amount of marijuana to possession with intent to distribute or distribution charges, based on the weight you allegedly carry and the type of drug you allegedly possess. 


How do we fight this?

The circumstances of every case are different. With the officers’ preconceived belief that Interstate 20 is a drug trafficking corridor, we evaluate the discovery, including the recordings from the stop, to determine if the officers’ actions were legal. The next step is to file all appropriate motions based on the officers’ actions. Remember that is a double-edged sword. Just as the officers’ actions are recorded, so are yours. Do not let anyone threaten, coerce, or force you into making a statement; make sure you invoke our right to have an attorney present. If you invoke your right to have an attorney present and the officers proceed to question you, they could violate your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. As a result, your statement may be suppressed. Be polite. The Court or, should it come to trial, the jury will see you. Make sure they respect your attitude.


Defending the case versus negotiating a plea deal

The advantage of working with an experienced attorney is they have been down this road before and can lay out all your options. Often, based on the circumstances, there are weaknesses in the state’s case which you can exploit. An experienced attorney will also evaluate the evidence from a juror’s standpoint to determine the strengths of the state’s case. It is essential to know both the evidence against you and how it will be perceived before deciding how to proceed. Often, the idea of negotiating a plea deal is the last thing a client wants to discuss. However, the reality is, in certain circumstances, it is the best thing that can happen for a client to protect their freedom. The advantage of working with an attorney who handles a high volume of drug crimes is understanding the importance of building your case while simultaneously negotiating the best possible deal. Circumstances perpetually change, and having the ability to pivot to protect your rights on every front is essential.  


Finalizing your defense

While many people initially feel all hope is lost, keep in mind the advantage of having an advocate in your corner will ensure you are entirely informed of every step of the proceeding and know what options are in your best interest. If arrested in the Interstate 20 corridor, do not hesitate to give the Law Office of Larrion L. Hillman a call. We look forward to hearing from you. Remember, keep calm and call Larrion.

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