Drug offenses generally include violations to Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Law contained in Title 40 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. These offenses include possession and distribution of controlled substances as well as obtaining controlled substances through fraudulent acts.
Felony drug offenses are those which carry a sentence of hard labor. Felony offenders are entitled to trial by jury. In Lafayette Parish, felony drug cases are handled in a single section of court designated as Track 1. There are currently three felony prosecutors assigned to that section. The Judge assigned to Track 1 is Jules Edwards III.
Misdemeanor drug offenses are those which carry a sentence of six (6) months parish jail or less. Misdemeanor drug offenses include possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. These offenses are assigned to the Misdemeanor Section of the District Attorneys Office. Misdemeanor cases are tried by a judge alone and the Judges of the 15th Judicial District handle misdemeanor cases on a rotating basis.
Certain offenders in both felony and misdemeanor drug cases may qualify for the District Attorney’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
Other offenders may qualify for the 15th Judicial District Court Drug Court Program. This is a specialized program of probation where offenders are closely supervised by the Drug Court Judge. This program involves frequent drug testing, case management, counseling and judicial supervision in a system of rewards and punishments.