Texas is particularly harsh when it comes to charging individuals for drug crimes. Many of the charges that result in misdemeanor charges in other states, are automatically upgraded to felonies in the state of Texas, and judges tend to be severe when it comes to punishing offenders.
Possession of a controlled substance in Texas means the state is accusing you of carrying or having access to a drug or prescription drug listed on the controlled substance list. Simply being charged with a drug possession charge will mean that the state issues a 6-month driver’s license suspension, making it important to fight any accusations and criminal charges with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
For police to charge you with drug possession, they must find drugs in your clothing or anywhere else in your presence. They may also charge you under constructive possession claims if there are drugs in an area that you control or can easily reach. This can include a vehicle or your house.
Being convicted of a drug possession charge can lead to serious consequences. First, there are the penalties, which could be fines, jail time, probation, or rehab.
Secondly, there are the long-term consequences of having charges on your criminal record. This could affect your chances of seeking child custody, finding employment, taking out bank loans, and finding housing.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Texas, you should get in touch with an experienced criminal defender. Even simple drug possession charges in Texas can result in a second or third-degree felony, and it is vital that you defend yourself from these charges.
The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC – Fighting For You
Here at Love DuCote Law Firm, LLC, our team of criminal defenders are ready to fight for a favorable outcome on your behalf. We won’t rest until every avenue has been explored. We will investigate the law enforcement raising charges against you and we will build a robust defense strategy on your behalf.
With our help, you may be able to have your charges dropped, or if that is not possible, we may be able to seek reduced penalties.
As soon as you have agreed to representation, we will assign a dedicated attorney to your case. Their knowledge of the Texas criminal justice system, paired with their experience fighting and winning similar cases in the past, will give you the best chance of seeking a favorable outcome.
Call 832-843-1691 today!
Illegal Drugs in Texas
Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, possession law is laid out alongside the division of controlled substances into categories based on their potential for abuse and harm. Some of the controlled substances on the list are legal with a prescription, but obtaining them through illegal means without a prescription makes them illegal.
Examples of Substance Categories
Category 1 – includes Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine, and oxycodone.
Category 2 – includes Ecstasy (MMDA/Molly), PCP, mescaline, resinous extractives of Cannabis.
Category 3 – Includes Valium, Xanax, and Ritalin.
Category 4 – Includes compounds containing Dionine, Motofen, Buprenorphine or Pyrovalerone.
Penalty Groups for Drug Possession in Texas
When being charged with possession, the weight and type of drug will dictate whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor. Drug possession laws place illegal substances into penalty groups, they are:
Penalty Group 1
If you are caught in possession of a controlled substance from penalty group 1, and you are found with less than one gram, you will be charged with a felony and could face 180 days to 2 years in state jail. You may also receive a fine of up to $10,000 dollars.
If you are found with more than a gram but less than four grams, you may be charged with a third-degree felony, given a fine of $10,000 dollars, and could face between 2 and 10 years in state prison.
If you are found with more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams, your charges are upgraded to a second-degree felony, and this can come with a fine of up to $10,000 dollars and between 2 and 20 years in state prison.
Between 200 grams and less than 400 grams, your charges will be a first-degree felony, with jail time of more than five years and up to 99 years, alongside a fine of up to $10,000 dollars.
If you are found in possession of more than 400 grams of a controlled substance from penalty group one, you will be charged with an enhanced first-degree felony and will receive a minimum sentence of 10 years, ranging up to 99 years in state prison. You will also receive a fine of up to $100,000 dollars.
Group 1-A penalties
If you are found with a controlled substance from the 1-A group, which includes LSD. The penalties are slightly different due to the fact that LSD comes in units, not grams. Possessing 20 to 80 units is a third-degree felony. Possessing 80 to 4,000 units is a second-degree felony. Caught with 4,000 to 8,000 units is considered a first-degree felony.
If you are found in possession of less than a gram of a substance from group 2 is a state felony charge.
If you are found with between more than one and less than 4 grams, it is considered a third-degree felony.
If you are found with between 4 and 400 grams of the substance, it is considered a second-degree felony.
If you are found with more than 400 grams, it is a first-degree felony.
Group 3 penalties
For group 3 controlled substances, if you are found in possession of up to 28 grams of a drug like Xanax, you will be facing a Class A misdemeanor.
Being found with between 28 grams and 200 grams will result in a third-degree felony charge.
Being found with more than 200 but less than 400 grams is a second-degree felony charge.
Being found with 400 grams or more is a first-degree felony charge.
There are some additional penalties that you should be aware of when facing a drug possession charge. The Texas Tax Code, may also give civil penalties to punish drug dealers for tax evasion.
The state of Texas may also suspend your license for a period of 6 months if you are convicted of any drug charges.
Finally, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, if you are charged with a drug crime, the police have the power to seize any property they believe you intended to use in committing a drug crime. This means they may seize your cars, boats, houses, and belongings. This is a civil action, meaning you don’t even need to be convicted for the state to take your property this way.
The penalties for drug possession convictions in Texas are complicated to begin with but if you have previous convictions, they get even more so.
If you are facing a 2nd or 3rd drug conviction charge, it is essential that you seek legal representation that can help defend you. They will be able to determine what penalties you may be facing and build a strong defense on your behalf.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
In Texas, possession of drug paraphernalia is a separate criminal charge under the law.
What is defined as illegal drug paraphernalia?
Any item that can be used as a drug processing, packaging, or consumption mechanism can be defined as paraphernalia under 481.002 (17) of the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Even common household items such as scales, spoons, bowls, envelopes or bags can land you an illegal possession of paraphernalia charge. The most common paraphernalia charges result from pipes and bongs.
What is the Penalty for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Texas?
Being found in possession of any drug paraphernalia is a Class C misdemeanor charge carrying penalty fines of up to $500.
However, if you are found in possession with the intent to supply, your charges may be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor.
If you are found with intent to supply a minor or are found selling to a minor under the age of 18, your charges may be upgraded to a felony charge.
Will I Have to go to Jail on my Drug Possession Criminal Charge?
Depending on the amount of drugs and the classification of drugs you have been accused of possessing, you may be able to avoid serving time for a drug possession offense if it is your first offense or the amount is relatively small.
Different counties have set up diversion programs for individuals that have been charged with drug possession crimes for prescription drugs, marijuana, or small amounts of other drugs. If the country has more than 200,000 people, it must establish a program for drug offenders that treat them as a health problem instead of sending them to county jail or state jail.
With criminal drug possession charges, Judges are also required to give probation or community supervision to offenders who have been caught with small amounts of drugs or on their first-time offense.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure makes community supervision and mandatory drug treatment programs a sentencing requirement for people convicted of possessing:
- Less than 1 gram of drugs such as cocaine or meth
- Less than 5 units of drugs such as LSD
- Less than 1 gram of drugs such as Ecstasy (Molly/MMDA) or PCP
- Less than one pound of marijuana
The Judge may not sentence you to probation or community supervision if you have previous charges, or have violated parole in previous probation. The Judge is given the final say in these situations. They may decide to send you to jail for 3-6 months before allowing probation.
Defending Against Charges
As Texas has such a harsh stance on drug crimes, you may be terrified of what will happen if you get convicted. This is why it becomes so crucial to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Remember, for you to be convicted, the state has to prove that you were in fact, in knowing possession of a controlled substance. There are a number of defenses that can be used against these charges and your attorney will know the best approach to take.
Your attorney will also ensure that the evidence against you was obtained through legal and correct channels. For example, officers need to have had probable cause to pull you over, or a warrant to search your property. If they have not done so, we can apply for all evidence to be suppressed, meaning it cannot be used against you in court.
What Does it Mean to Possess a Drug in Texas?
Here at Love DuCote, we know the terror and anxiety you may be facing after being arrested for a drug crime. Criminal law is complex, but when you contact us for a consultation, we can explain what a drug charge could mean for you and what we could do to help.
Our experienced attorneys dedicated their professional time to criminal defense. They have won favorable outcomes, such as the dropping of charges or reduction of punishments, for clients in similar cases to yours.
We will ensure you are kept well informed throughout the case, and we take time to build a confidence-inspiring attorney-client relationship.
We cover the Harris County, Fort Bend County, Sugar County, and Houston areas, so if you or someone you love has been arrested in Texas, then give us a call today.