Possession Of A Controlled Substance In Texas

The effects of an arrest and criminal charges can have long-lasting, expensive consequences on a
person’s life. Learn valuable information from a defense attorney in Austin.

Texas has no tolerance for illegal controlled substances; therefore, drug charges here are a serious matter. Are you dealing with drug crime charges? Don’t delay. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin.

Texas Drug Charges

Throughout Texas, including Austin, the police can charge you with numerous drug crimes. For a complete list of drug offenses, read the Texas Health & Safety Code § 481.112 et seq. The most prevalent drug crimes include:

  • Possession of controlled substances (§§ 481.115 – 481.118)
  • Manufacture or delivery of controlled substances (§§ 481.112, 481.1121, 481.113, and 481.114)
  • Possession of marijuana (§ 481.121)
  • Delivery of marijuana (§ 481.120)
  • Possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, and
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia.

The penalties for a conviction of these drug crimes depend upon the crime and several other factors. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The Drug’s Purpose – for example, you will likely receive a harsher penalty for manufacturing a drug versus possession of a drug.
  • The Type of Drug – for example, you will receive a harsher penalty for possession of cocaine over marijuana.
  • The Quantity – for example, a greater quantity of a drug carries harsher penalties.
  • Aggravating Circumstances – for example, if you sell drugs to minors or possess drugs while close to a school, you will face more stringent penalties.

Drug Penalty Groups In Texas

Texas organizes controlled substances as penalty groups that are aligned significantly with the federal drug schedule. The federal drug schedule organizes controlled substances into five groups according to their potential for medical use and addiction.

If you face a drug crime charge in Texas, you want to know which penalty group it belongs to because it determines (1) the direction of your defense; and (2) the potential penalties you could incur if convicted.

Although there are four penalty groups, marijuana is considered separately. Each penalty group contains specific consequences that correspond with the purpose of the drug and the weight or units of the drug in possession. In addition to these potential penalties, any person who is convicted of a drug or controlled substance offense in Texas will also suffer the following consequences:

  • Driver license suspension for 180 days
  • Required completion of a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program for each conviction.

Penalty Group 1

Penalty Group 1 comprises mostly addictive narcotics that typically serve no medical purpose. These include:

  • Opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone
  • Opioid derivatives and/or opiates like heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Peyote
Weight Penalty for Manufacture or Delivery Penalty for Possession
<1g 180 days - 2 years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000
1 - 4g 2-20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2-10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
4 - 200g 5-99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
200 - 400g 10-99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000 5-99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
>400g 15-99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $250,000 10-99 years in state jail and a fine up to $100,000

Sub-penalty group 1-A pertains to LSD and any of its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers. Penalties for LSD are subject to the units – not grams – in possession at the time of the arrest.

Penalty Group 2

Penalty Group 2 consists primarily of highly addictive hallucinogens with no real medical value. The penalties for this group correspond with the penalties of Group 1.

Weight Penalty for Manufacture or Delivery Penalty for Possession
<1g 180 days - 2 years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000
1 - 4g 2-20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2 - 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
4 - 400g 5-99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
>400g 10 - 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $50,000

This penalty group includes a sub-group 2-A consisting of compounds that mimic cannabinoids, like K2 or spice.

Penalty Group 3

Penalty Group 3 includes opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, like Valium, anabolic steroids, or Ritalin. While highly addictive, these drugs serve medical purposes.

Weight Penalty for Manufacture or Delivery Penalty for Possession
<28g 180 days - 2 years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000 Up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000
28 - 200g 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2 - 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
200 - 400g 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
>400g 10 - 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $100,000 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $50,000

Penalty Group 4

Penalty Group 4 also includes opioids and opiates not listed in group 1 and various prescription medications. Penalties are similar to Group 3, with the minor exception for possessing a drug less than 28 grams. It is classified as a class B misdemeanor subject to a maximum jail time of 180 days and a fine up to $2,000.

Marijuana

In Texas, marijuana is illegal in all its forms, regardless of medical purpose. Penalties range from 180 days in county jail to 99 years in state prison and/or a fine that can amount to $100,000, depending on the weight of the marijuana found, the intended purpose (personal use versus manufacture or delivery), and the classification (class B misdemeanor versus enhanced 1st-degree felony).

Texas Drug Crime Defenses

Guilty or not guilty, please know that you have the right to defend yourself. It is always essential to plead not guilty; anything else will remove your right to a defense. Several defenses could apply to invoke a dismissal or reduced charges, including:

  • The drugs belonged to someone else.
  • The drugs were a prescription from a licensed medical professional.
  • The drugs were not under your care, custody, or control.
  • There were not enough drugs in your possession for a valid arrest.
  • There were crime lab mistakes, or the chemical analysis did not reveal an illegal substance.
  • The drugs — as evidence — were lost or misplaced.
  • You were the victim of entrapment.
  • The police violated your constitutional rights, usually via an unlawful search and/or seizure of your person or property.

Contact A Resourceful Drug Crimes Attorney Today

As someone who prosecuted cases for over 15 years, Drug Crimes Attorney Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in drug crime cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.

Have you been accused of a drug crime in Texas? It is crucial to consult with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer Jason S. English online or call (512) 454-7548. Drawing upon his many years of experience prosecuting criminal cases, Jason S. English has the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to fight for your constitutional rights.

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