What Are Louisiana Mandatory Minimums and How Do They Affect Me if I'm Charged with a Crime?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious crime, you understandably want the best possible outcome for him or her. And, you’ve likely been researching the crime you or your loved one has been charged with as well as average sentencing should he or she become convicted. During that research you may have even come across a confusing part of Louisiana crime sentencing law called “mandatory minimums.” What are these and how do they affect you or your loved one?

Mandatory Minimums Explained

Mandatory minimums are, in their easiest to understand form, minimum sentence lengths assigned to certain convictions. Mandatory minimums can be found throughout the United States. In 2017 Louisiana lawmakers approved criminal justice reform, which means certain crimes that used to carry mandatory strict sentencing now allow judges and district attorneys to use more of their own judicial discretion on a case by case basis. Other portions of this criminal law reform impose new mandatory minimums on certain crimes that didn’t have them before.

Louisiana’s 2017 Sentencing Law Changes

Effective August 3rd, 2017, the following Louisiana criminal sentencing laws have changed

  • More Judicial Discretion Allowed for Repeat Felony Offenders

Previously, if a Louisiana resident had three felonies, he or she would receive mandatory minimums that a judge couldn’t shorten. For certain felonies that has now changed and judges are now allowed to reduce the length of sentences on a case by case basis. However, mandatory minimums for repeat felony offenders can’t be reduced for violent crimes such as murder or other serious crimes such as kidnapping, child pornography, and certain types of fraudulent activities.

  • Judges Are Now Allowed to Shorten Sentences for Certain First-Time Violent Offenders

If you or a loved one is convicted of a violent crime that carries a prison term of 10 years or less, the judge hearing the case will now have the judicial discretion to shorten or suspend that sentence. This new provision doesn’t apply to more serious violent crimes, such as murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

  • Repeat Drunk Drivers May Now Receive Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Lieu of Prison Sentencing

If you or a loved one are convicted of a fourth DWI - and have never been offered drug and alcohol treatment by the courts in the past - it’s possible that you won’t be sentenced to prison. Instead, if the district attorney agrees in your unique case that drug and alcohol treatment is the best next step for you, you can avoid prison time altogether.

  • New Options for Repeat Felons

In the past, if you were convicted of 3 or 4 felonies, your only option was prison time. Now, if the district attorney agrees, in lieu of prison you could be offered time in a mental health facility, substance abuse treatment center, or drug court. However, if you choose this alternative option, you could be placed on parole for up to 8 years, which is longer than the state of Louisiana previously allowed.

  • Certain Mandatory Minimums Dropped Altogether

Now in Louisiana, certain crimes don’t carry mandatory minimum sentences at all. These include arson, communicating false information about arson, home invasion and possession of less than 2 grams of certain drugs. There is also no longer mandatory prison sentence for a third felony prostitution conviction.

How Can This Information Help My Loved One?

If your loved one is being charged with a crime that used to carry a mandatory minimum sentence, or now offers mental health or substance abuse treatment as an alternative to prison time, he or she may receive a better outcome in court than was previously possible. These are options that you should have your attorney discuss with the prosecutor and the court.

At E&M Law Firm, we understand the new changes to the Louisiana criminal justice system and we’re here to help you fight for the best possible result. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime, don’t rely an overworked, underpaid public defender. Call the E&M Law Firm for a free consultation so at (225) 687-1111 so we can get started on your defense today.

Louisiana Criminal Law Attorney Costs

If you or a loved one has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you are likely facing very stressful and uncertain times. Obviously, you want the best possible outcome. And, you’re likely afraid that if you trust an overworked and unpaid public defender for the case, you might not get the proper legal defense you deserve.

As an experienced Louisiana criminal law attorney, I have handled hundreds of criminal law cases throughout many of our state’s parishes, including Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Iberville, Livingston, St. James, St. Tammany, and West Baton Rouge. And having thoroughly investigated and prepared so many cases for trial, I have a deep understanding of just what it costs to prepare a proper defense depending on your unique background, circumstances, and charges.

The truth is, if you’re looking for a Louisiana criminal law attorney, many won’t be so up front about their costs, until you come in for a free consultation and they try to sell you on their services. And, the costs of a criminal law attorney vary greatly, depending on their location, caseload, and experience.

At the E&M Law Firm, we believe differently. We know that you are already under enough stress and facing what might be your biggest family emergency ever, and we want to be as transparent as possible to help make life a little easier on you.

While the cost of each Louisiana criminal law case varies depending on the seriousness of the charges, the circumstances of the case and any prior criminal history, below is a basic starting point for what the Earl Messer Law Firm charges for our Louisiana criminal law cases:

  • Expungement - No Hearing: $500 plus costs
  • Expungement - Hearing Necessary: $1,500 plus costs
  • Misdemeanor Charges: $2,500 and up
  • Felony Drug Possession: $5,000 and up
  • Non-aggravated Felonies: $7,500 and up
  • Aggravated Felonies: $10,000 and up
  • Immigration - Removal Proceedings: $5,000 and up

While these prices are only estimates, they should give you some idea of what it costs to hire an experienced Louisiana criminal defense attorney. Depending on the case, there could be additional costs for things like private investigators or expert witness fees, but any additional costs would be discussed with you well in advance. 

We understand that for many Louisiana families, these amounts of money might be seemingly impossible to pay. But, can you really afford not to give you or your loved one a strong defense? If you work with an inexperienced attorney or a busy public defender, you’ll likely spend just a few minutes with them and could end up with worse results, including delays in your case, longer sentences if convicted, and higher fines.

At the E&M Law Firm, we’re here to work with you and help you every step of the way. And, it’s our goal to be as transparent with you as possible. Come in for a consultation and we’ll be as upfront as possible with you about the estimated costs of our services.

Call Us Today for a Free Consultation

With our years of experience in criminal law, and our offer of a free consultation, you simply can’t afford to not call us to tell us your story. After that initial conversation, we’ll be able to have a better understanding of your estimated Louisiana criminal law case costs, and we’ll disclose that information to you. To schedule a free consultation with the Earl Messer Law Firm today, call (225) 687-1111.