Certain criminal offenses are more severe and carry more significant penalties than others. Felonies are obviously more serious than misdemeanors, and there are even more levels within those two broad categories of criminal charges. Prosecutors can add additional charges or increase the severity of the charges based on certain aggravating circumstances as well.
Drug offenses can carry misdemeanor or felony offenses depending on a variety of factors. Knowing the factors that increase your risk for a felony drug charge in Texas can help you avoid potentially life-altering mistakes.
The more of a controlled substance you possess, the greater the risk you face
In general, the severity of a drug offense will directly relate to the amount of any substance you have in your possession at the time of your arrest. Regardless of how much you may use daily, officers may be suspicious of those carrying more of any given substance.
Higher weights will result in higher charges and more substantial penalties. More dangerous drugs, like narcotic painkillers, also have more serious penalties than substances that are lower on the controlled substance schedule, such as erectile dysfunction medication or Xanax. Additionally, carrying multiple prohibited substances simultaneously can lead to the risk of increased charges, such as distribution charges.
Items in your possession could leave you at increased risk
There are certain common household items that law enforcement officers and prosecutors may view as accessories to more serious drug crimes. For example, having a box of small plastic baggies on your person while in possession of any illegal substance could be ample reason for the prosecutor to allege an intent to distribute those drugs to others.
The same could be true of a small scale that weighs items by the gram. Having these items on your person or in your vehicle or even stored in your home near where you keep your personal stash could lead law enforcement officers to increase the charges you face from simple possession charges to possession with intent to distribute. Even if you avoid delivery charges, you could face accessory charges.
If someone gets hurt or dies, prosecutors often look for a scapegoat
When drug use or addiction results in the death of someone, whether the situation involves an accidental overdose or a motor vehicle collision caused by someone under the influence of narcotics, the community usually wants justice.
That communal anger could mean that an individual engaged in illegal behavior, such as the sale of drugs, could wind up facing much more serious charges, such as felony murder, also known as criminal homicide.
A scenario in which an individual directly or indirectly contributes to the death of another person while committing a felony offense can produce these serious charges.