It’s often difficult to understand the criminal charges and penalties that are relevant to an offense due to complex state laws. Louisiana’s criminal laws help to simplify the matter of identifying offenses and penalties, but every criminal case is different. Even if you think you’ve figured out the laws related to your case, you may be unaware of other details that could affect your defense or prosecution.
Use LawInfo’s criminal law articles to help educate yourself about Louisiana’s laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with a Louisiana criminal law attorney in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport or elsewhere in the state.
Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. Louisiana has two main classifications of criminal offenses: felonies and misdemeanors.
Felonies are considered the most serious criminal offenses and are penalized with fines of over $1,000 and more than one year of imprisonment in state prisons. Misdemeanors are all other criminal offenses that aren’t considered felonies. Misdemeanors are sentenced with fines of up to $1,000 and one year or less of imprisonment in local or county jails.
Louisiana doesn’t have degrees or classes of felonies or misdemeanors. An offense is simply a misdemeanor or a felony, not a felony in the second degree or a Class B misdemeanor. This also means that there are no standard sentences or penalties for groups of offenses. Every offense is assigned its own penalties in the Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 14.
Louisiana sentences first-degree murder and treason felony offenses to capital punishment (also known as the death sentence). A unanimous jury is required to rule for a capital punishment sentence. If the jury is hung (i.e. not unanimous in its ruling), the court automatically issues a life imprisonment sentence without retrial.
If a female inmate on death row is pregnant, their execution is suspended until sometime between 90 and 120 days after she gives birth.
Executions are rare in Louisiana these days. There have been only 28 executions in the state since 1976 and only three since 2000.
Homicides are classified and penalized differently in Louisiana depending on the circumstances surrounding the killing. Homicide is often differentiated based on the killer’s intentions and emotional state at the time of the act, but sometimes the way the homicide was committed also influences how it is classified. There are five types of homicide in Louisiana:
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights, lay out your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense and limiting potential penalties.