In accordance with Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 14, Section 95, Louisiana law mandates that individuals must possess a permit to legally carry a weapon within the state. Failure to adhere to this requirement constitutes a violation of the law. Analogous to operating a vehicle without a valid license, carrying a weapon sans permit is unlawful. Therefore, to ensure compliance with state regulations, individuals must obtain the appropriate permit before carrying a weapon.
While certain states allow for “Constitutional Carry,” e.g. carrying a firearm without a permit, Louisiana law requires a valid concealed handgun permit in order to hide a firearm or other dangerous weapon on your person. Failure to do so can result in fines and jail time. This concealed carry permit is available to Louisiana residents 21 years or older, and is not valid for non-residents or non-citizens of the United States. Even with the correct permit, it remains illegal to carry a firearm on a school campus or bus during school hours, or to carry a weapon or any tool with the intention of committing a crime.
There are various terms used to describe this crime. For instance, “unlawful possession of firearms,” “illegal weapon possession,” “unauthorized weapon possession,” “prohibited weapon possession,” “concealed weapon violation,” “unlicensed firearm possession,” “possession of illegal arms,” “illegal weapon transport,” and “unauthorized firearm possession.” In the state of Louisiana, the legal term for such actions is “Carrying Illegal Weapons.”
While the circumstances of every offense are unique, resulting in varying consequences depending on the case, there are a few general guidelines that Louisiana law lays out for those found carrying a weapon without a permit.
Again, these are general guidelines. Various factors including prior convictions may affect a court’s decision, and certain exemptions exist for law enforcement, active-duty military or other individuals protected under Louisiana law. In addition to fines and jail time, there are numerous indirect consequences that can result from a conviction for illegal carrying of weapons. These include:
Legal Complications: The permanent mark a conviction will leave on your criminal record can make it more difficult to secure employment or housing, attain certain professional licenses in fields ranging from healthcare to education, pursue higher education, or maintain custody of children. Non-U.S. citizens could potentially be deported following a conviction, or otherwise have their status revoked.
Additional Penalties: The court can assess additional penalties beyond fines and jail time including financial restitution for victims, additional probation periods, mandatory anger management counseling, or community service. The court of public opinion can bestow penalties of its own, damaging the social standing and relationships of those convicted.
There are several ways to defend against a charge of illegal carrying of weapons, but the first order of business should be to speak with an experienced attorney. They will be able to walk you through your options, from showing a lack of intent, demonstrating justification for self-defense, or negotiating a potential plea bargain. It may even be possible to challenge law enforcement’s assessment of the violation through entrapment, lack of evidence, unlawful search or other violation of constitutional rights.
In some cases, a valid concealed carry permit from a different state could serve as a permit in Louisiana. This depends on the state in which the permit was issued, as Louisiana has what are known as “reciprocity agreements” with several other states. Your attorney will be able to tell you which states have such agreements with Louisiana.
One possibility your attorney may pursue is a reduction of the charges against you, depending on the specifics of your case, the prosecution and your criminal history. For example, if there was no criminal intent or activity, the charges could be reduced to disturbing the peace, simple possession or reckless use of a firearm. If the weapon was discharged by mistake, your attorney could negotiate down to a charge of negligent discharge. If the weapon was merely displayed, a lesser charge of brandishing a firearm may be a possible outcome. All of these charges carry fewer penalties than a charge of carrying an illegal weapon.
Even if you are convicted, it may still be possible for your attorney to have the conviction expunged from your criminal record. This is typically reserved for non-violent or first-time offenders, however.
Can You Carry a Concealed Weapon with a Permit in Louisiana? Yes, individuals with a valid concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to Louisiana law may legally carry a concealed weapon in accordance with the provisions of the permit.
Can a Felony Charge of Carrying Illegal Weapons Be Reduced or Dismissed in Louisiana? Depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history, a felony charge of carrying illegal weapons in Louisiana may be eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor or dismissal through plea negotiations, diversion programs, or successful defense strategies.
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Permit to Carry a Weapon in Louisiana? Requirements for obtaining a permit to carry a weapon in Louisiana include meeting eligibility criteria, completing mandatory training courses, submitting an application, and passing a background check conducted by the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Law for Carrying Weapons in Louisiana? Yes, there are exceptions to the law for carrying weapons in Louisiana, including exemptions for law enforcement officers, certain military personnel, and individuals with valid permits to carry concealed weapons.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested for Carrying Illegal Weapons in Louisiana? If you’ve been arrested for carrying illegal weapons in Louisiana, it’s essential to remain calm, assert your right to remain silent, and have an attorney speaking on your behalf. This will increase your chances of having a positive outcome for this charge.
How Long Does a Charge of Carrying Illegal Weapons Stay on Your Record in Louisiana? The duration that a charge of carrying illegal weapons stays on your record in Louisiana depends on the specifics of your case. If convicted, the charge may remain on your criminal record permanently or for a specified period, depending on the severity of the offense. If you are acquitted of the charge, an attorney can help get the charge expunged.
At The Claiborne Firm, our ultimate goal is to make certain that your charges are dismissed, reduced, or acquitted and that you don’t end up with this charge on your record. Our attorneys will develop a greater understanding of the facts surrounding your case than the prosecution, prepare a stronger case for your defense, and enter the courtroom with a plan designed to take back your freedom. This method has helped countless clients achieve favorable outcomes. Please read through our example case wins and submit your contact information below to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with our defense team today.