Drug offenses are serious crimes which could result in several consequences. An individual could face prison time, an extensive probation sentence, and a suspended driver's license. Oftentimes, your best option is to fight the charge. Other times, plea negotiations may be most beneficial. Regardless of what the best outcome is, you will only get the best result if you're represented by an experienced defense attorney working hard to defend you against allegations of drug offenses in Texas. Being arrested for possession, manufacturing, or delivering drugs likely requires quality representation, a strong defense and experience with these types of crimes.
Understanding Drug Crimes in Texas
Drug offenses refer to a broad category of acts involving illegal drugs. They include the use, possession, manufacturing, and distribution of unlawful controlled substances as well as unauthorized prescriptions and drug paraphernalia.
Common Prescription Drugs involved in Drug Crimes
Prescription drugs are legal only when lawfully prescribed and used. They become unlawful when unlawfully prescribed, used, possessed, or distributed.
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
Controlled Substances and Penalty Groups
Under our criminal system, most drugs are commonly referred to as a Controlled Substance. It is illegal to possess a controlled substance. This also includes prescriptions without authorization and drug paraphernalia. Law enforcement and lawmakers have placed different drugs into separate categories of Controlled Substances known as Penalty Groups. Dependent on the group, the weight of the drugs involved, and the facts alleged when being charged with a drug offense, the criminal charge could range from a Class B Misdemeanor to a 1st Degree Felony. The Texas Controlled Substances Act is very detailed and continuously updated.
The Texas Controlled Substance Act is continuously updated. Different drugs are being introduced into the world frequently. Common drugs in Penalty Group 1, which would result in felony charges, are cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and phencyclidine (PCP). Penalty Group 2 substances also fall into the category of a felony regardless of weight just like Penalty Group 1 substances. Penalty Group 2 controlled substances include tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC oil/wax), amphetamines such as Adderall and Vyvanse, and 3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Penalty Group 3 and 4 controlled substances could result in misdemeanor or felony charges dependent on the amount alleged at the time of the offense.
Marijuana in Texas
Some forms of Marijuana/THC is still illegal in Texas. In its plant form, Marijuana is assigned its own Penalty Group. It's important to know that the derivatives from marijuana, commonly known as “oils” or “wax” is assigned to Penalty Group 2, resulting in a felony level substance. Considering the plant form of marijuana, charges could result in a misdemeanor or felony dependent on the weight. Anything below four ounces will result in misdemeanor charges. Once the weight alleged exceeds four ounces, the criminal charges will result in a felony. If there are accusations of delivery, the level of offense could be enhanced.
Common Drug Paraphernalia involved in Drug Crimes
Drug paraphernalia can be items that are obviously needed for drug use but also items that have everyday uses in the home.
- rolling paper
- roach clips
- syringes, needs, or small spoons
- bongs and hookahs
- tin foil
- straws or paper tubes
- razorblades or cards
Texas Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions
A range of penalties are available to the court when sentencing drug offenders, including:
- Probation or community supervision
- Court-ordered drug counseling sessions or rehabilitation
- Community service
- Incarceration, including life imprisonment
During plea negotiations or sentencing for a drug crime, the State or court usually takes into account:
- the type and amount of drugs involved
- whether possession was for personal use or distribution
- the offender's previous convictions, especially for drug offenses
Possession, Manufacturing, and Delivery (Trafficking)
You can be charged with various offenses for participating in any step of the possession, manufacturing, or delivery of an illegal drug. This includes the creation of a synthetic drug, such as amphetamines, or the extraction of a naturally occurring drug, for example, cannabis. Additionally, it is against the law to sell, transport, or import a controlled substance or illegal drug. Delivering or trafficking is one of the most serious drug crimes, attracting harsh penalties. Federal law applies and a trafficking conviction can result in much greater punishment consequences for offenders as opposed to users.
Why Fight a Drug Crime Allegation in Texas
A conviction for a drug crime can have serious, long-lasting consequences.
Aside from any penalty you receive, a conviction for a drug offense may stay on your criminal history for the rest of your life. This could negatively impact your ability to find work, maintain personal relationships, hold a driver's license, secure a loan, enlist in the military, or own a gun.
Even minor drug offenses can attract harsh penalties and affect your future. The law around drug offenses is complex and can involve both state and federal authorities. So, it's important to find a defense lawyer who is well-versed in these types of offenses. They can explain the process, your rights, and any defenses available to you to fight the charges. They can also advocate on your behalf when negotiating with the prosecution or representing you in court.
Defenses and Legal Representation
At Law Office of Anthony Ray Smith, a criminal defense attorney will always work to ensure our clients get the best outcome possible in their unique situation. If you have questions about your specific charged drug offense or want to know how we will work hard to defend you, contact us at 713-242-8917 to schedule a free consultation
The defenses are endless when being charged with drug possession. Not only is a defense important, but on occasion, basic factors and circumstances exist that led to criminal charges involving illegal drugs that should be litigated. Additionally, mitigating factors are important, should be known and if necessary, detailed to the court and prosecution during plea negotiations or sentencing. Legal representation from a qualified and experienced criminal attorney is essential. Contact the Law Office today to discuss your case. Anthony can be reached at 713-242-8917 or by using the contact form on this site.