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.

Drug charges in Texas are serious. Texas does not tolerate illegal controlled substances. If you have been charged with a drug crime, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin.

Texas Drug Charges

In Austin, as elsewhere in Texas, there are a number of drug crimes the police can charge you with. Drug offenses are listed in the Texas Health & Safety Code § 481.112 et seq. The most common drug crimes are:

  • 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 any one of these drug crimes is dependent on the crime and several other factors, including but not limited to:

  • Purpose of the drug, i.e., you will likely have a harsher penalty for the manufacture of a drug versus possession of a drug.
  • Type of drug, i.e., you will have a harsher penalty for possession of cocaine over marijuana.
  • The quantity of drug; i.e., a greater quantity of a drug carries harsher penalties.
  • Presence of aggravating circumstances, i.e., if you sell to minors or are in possession of a drug near a school, your penalties will be increased.

Texas Drug Penalty Groups

Controlled substances in Texas are organized as penalty groups that are aligned in most part with the federal drug schedule. The federal drug schedule organizes controlled substances into five groups according to its potential for medical use and its potential for addiction.

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

There are four penalty groups, but marijuana is considered separate from these groups. Each penalty group has 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:

  • Have his or her driver license suspended for 180 days, and
  • Be required to complete a 15-hour class in an authorized Drug Education Program for each conviction.

Penalty Group 1

Penalty group 1 is made up of mostly narcotics that typically serve no medical purpose and are highly addictive. Examples include:

  • Opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone
  • Opioids 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 up to $10,000 2-10 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
4 - 200g 5-99 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000 2-20 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
200 - 400g 10-99 years in state prison and a fine up to $100,000 5-99 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
>400g 15-99 years in state prison and a fine up to $250,000 10-99 years in state jail and a fine up to $100,000

There is a sub-penalty group 1-A, and this group pertains to LSD as well as any of its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers. Penalties for LSD are subject to the units as opposed to grams in possession at the time of arrest.

Penalty Group 2

Penalty group 2 consists mostly of hallucinogens that have no real medical value but are also highly addictive. 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 up to $10,000 2 - 10 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
4 - 400g 5-99 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
>400g 10 - 99 years in state prison and a fine up to $100,000 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine up to $50,000

Penalty group has a sub-group 2-A that consists 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. These are still very addictive but have 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 a county jail and a fine up to $4,000
28 - 200g 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000 2 - 10 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
200 - 400g 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000 2 - 20 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000
>400g 10 - 99 years in state prison and a fine up to $100,000 5 - 99 years in state prison and a fine up to $50,000

Penalty Group 4

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

Marijuana

In Texas, marijuana is not legal in all its form, 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

You should always know that you have the right to defend yourself: guilty or not guilty. So, it is always important to plead not guilty; anything else will take away your right to a defense. There are several defenses that could apply to invoke a dismissal or reduced charges.

These defenses include:

  • 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

If you have been charged with a drug crime, contact an attorney who knows the law and the court system. As you can see, there is a lot at stake if you are convicted. Fighting the charge is your primary chance of securing your rights and your freedom. Contact Jason English today at (512) 454-7548 or online for an initial consultation.

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