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Drug Charges

Drug Possession Penalties: Does the Substance Matter?

Drug Possession Penalties: Does the Substance Matter?

Penalties for a drug possession conviction in Texas are—across the board—more severe than in other states. No matter the substance, you could potentially face steep fines, jail or prison time, a license suspension and even mandatory substance abuse treatment. And the greater the quantity, the greater the penalties.

 

While possession of a controlled substance is a single type of offense in Texas, it does not fall under a single statute under the Texas Health and Safety Code. Rather, the type of substance you were allegedly in possession of will determine—in part—the specific penalties you face. The quantity you possessed is the other primary determining factor.

 

Texas law identifies “penalty groups” of drugs. As the name would suggest, penalty groups influence the penalties for charges involving those drugs. The more serious the drug, the higher the penalties. To illustrate the difference in penalties for possession of a controlled substance, we’ve provided a few examples below.

 

Marijuana

 

You can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if you possess less than two ounces of marijuana. The penalties include up to 180 days in a county jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or both, a six-month license suspension and probation. These are the minimum penalties for possession of a controlled substance. Possession of marijuana is treated somewhat less severely than possession of other controlled substances. Texans face harsh consequences if convicted, but possession of small amounts of marijuana is sometimes considered a “discretionary” arrest, meaning the officer can choose to cite the offender instead of putting him or her under arrest.

 

Prescription Drugs With Stimulant or Depressant Effects

 

Prescription drugs with the potential for abuse, such as Ritalin and Valium, lie in penalty group three. Possession of fewer than 28 grams of a penalty group three drug is punishable by one year in jail and the potential of a fine up to $4,000.

 

Cocaine

 

Possession of cocaine is a more serious charge, as it lies in penalty group one. Possession of less than one gram can be charged as a state jail felony. You can face up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000, but first-time offenders may receive probation in lieu of incarceration.

 

 

Substance and Amount: What Matters

 

Depending on the drug you allegedly had in your possession, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges. But no matter the substance you are accused of being in possession of, you need to work closely with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth drug crime defense attorney when facing charges.

 

Due to the potentially severe consequences, it’s vital you involve an attorney early on in your case to ensure your rights are defended and you have the best chance at clearing your name. The laws on drug possession include a very specific definition of “possession” that the attorney for the state may or may not be able to prove in your case. Speak with an attorney before you make any decisions in your case to ensure you have the best defense possible.

 

If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how to defend your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Defining Possession in Texas Drug Cases

Defining Possession in Texas Drug Cases

Drug Possession Defined

 

Drug possession is a serious charge in Texas, bringing with it the potential for prison time and enormous fines. Due to the gravity of this type of charge, it’s vital to thoroughly understand every element of the crime as the court interprets it. Only from there can you build a strong defense. Let’s take a look at how Texas law defines possession of a controlled substance.

 

Under Texas statute, a person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she:

 

Knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance, unless the person obtained the substance directly from or under a valid prescription or order from a practitioner acting in the course of professional practice.

 

Now that you know the legal definition of possession of a controlled substance let’s review a few examples that illustrate this definition.

 

John obtained a prescription drug from his doctor at his doctor’s office. While the prescription was for a narcotic pain reliever, he cannot be charged with possession of a controlled substance.

 

The police found drugs in Jane’s car, but they were in her friend’s purse, which she left in Jane’s car by accident. Jane’s attorney could argue she did not knowingly or intentionally possess controlled substances.

 

Sam was found in possession of a controlled substance and claimed he had a valid prescription. In reality, his prescription was phony, which his friend who just graduated medical school wrote for him. Sam knew the prescription was fraudulent but filled it anyway. Sam could be charged with possession of a controlled substance.

 

The police found Mary with a controlled substance on her person. She did not have a valid prescription, and she mistakenly admitted it was hers during the arrest. Mary could be found guilty of possession of a controlled substance.

 

A Drug Possession Defense Attorney Can Defend Your Rights

 

Every possession of a controlled substance case is different. The facts and circumstances of your offense can significantly impact the consequences. Call a Dallas-Fort Worth drug crime defense attorney immediately if you are facing drug possession charges. An attorney may be able to fight your charges depending on the specifics of your case. The penalties for possession of a controlled substance are severe and vary greatly depending on the penalty group. Don’t face these charges alone. Find an advocate who knows how to defend this type of case.

 

 

If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on how to defend your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Facing Drug Possession Penalties in Texas? Follow These First Steps

Facing Drug Possession Penalties in Texas? Follow These First Steps

Drug possession penalties in Texas are severe. One misstep can leave you facing years of incarceration and insurmountable fines. Factors such as the type of drug and the quantity you possessed can mean the difference between a few years behind bars or life. Thus, if you are facing drug possession charges of any kind in Texas, here are some essential first steps you should take.

Connect With an Attorney

No one facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in Texas should do so without a criminal defense attorney. The potential consequences are too great. You should work with a legal professional to formulate the strategies you may need to employ to fight your charges or minimize the burden of the outcome of your case.

Analyze Evidence

It’s important to keep in mind that in drug possession cases, evidence can play a significant role. But evidence is sometimes fleeting and thus needs to be preserved. It can be seized by law enforcement, destroyed or disappear. Likewise, witness testimony can be of immense help but only if you contact and question witnesses soon after the incident in question. It’s best to bring a skilled Dallas-Fort Worth drug possession defense attorney on board to help you manage your case and obtain crucial pieces of evidence for a strong defense.

Abstain from Drugs and Alcohol

Pending the resolution of your case, it’s important to remain sober. Even one small mistake made when facing charges for another offense can ruin any hope of a positive outcome. Likewise, if you are convicted or placed on deferred adjudication with community supervision (i.e. probation), you will most likely be required to take and pass periodic drug tests. You may or may not be given notice before you have to take these. And lastly, staying committed to sobriety—even while your case is still pending—can demonstrate to the court that you have realized the consequences of your actions. This realization, if genuine, could potentially work in your favor. In fact, some prosecutors will agree to dismiss a case if you can pass a drug test on the day of court. There is no guarantee that this offer will be made to you, but you need to be ready if it does. There are even some judges that will test you on the date of a plea to see if you can pass a drug test; obviously not being able to do so does not help your case. Bottom line: no drugs or alcohol while the case is pending!

Drug Possession Penalties in Texas Can Be Life-Altering

Facing drug possession charges is frightening considering what is at stake. The good news is you do not have to face them alone. A skilled drug possession defense attorney in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can work to minimize the burden of your case outcome. Hiring an attorney is a personal choice and one you should make when informed. At the very least, discuss the drug possession penalties in Texas with an attorney before you make any decisions in your case.

If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action given your circumstances. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Punishment for Drug Possession: Why Quantity and Penalty Group Matter

Punishment for Drug Possession: Why Quantity and Penalty Group Matter

Simple Drug Possession Isn’t Simple

 

The State of Texas maintains some of this nation’s strictest drug possession laws. In Texas, you can face long periods of incarceration and steep fines for even simple drug possession charges. Drug possession offenses vary by the drug type—also called the penalty group or “schedule”—and the quantity, or the amount you had. These factors provide guidelines for how to charge and sentence offenders.

 

Quantity and Type

 

The law divides controlled substances into types or “schedules” that classify drugs based on numerous factors, such as the potential for misuse and dependency. Under the Texas Health and Safety Code, possession of a controlled substance is punishable by:

 

  • A minimum of confinement in jail for no more than 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000 or both.
  • A maximum of confinement under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for no less than ten years and no more than 99 years or life and a fine of up to $100,000.

 

As you can see, the punishment range is vast. The type (i.e. penalty group) and the quantity of the drug are the two factors that determine whether you will get just a fine or up to life in prison. There are four main drug penalty groups. For example, penalty group one contains substances like opiates (synthetic and natural) and penalty group 4 contains substances like over the counter cough remedies. The quantity factor is measured in grams, ounces, pounds, tons or “abuse units,” depending on the specific drug type. For example, drugs in penalty group one are measured in grams.

 

Most forms of simple possession of controlled substances in small amounts (again, relative to the type) are state jail felonies. Possession of more significant amounts in type-specific units of measurement is punishable by much longer sentences in addition to exorbitant fines.

 

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance

 

 

The penalties for drug possession in Texas are nothing to laugh about. For this reason, you need to speak with a Dallas-Fort Worth drug charge defense attorney experienced in handling drug cases if you are facing possession charges or any drug-related charge. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your offense and walk you through the potential penalties you could face. A conviction for drug possession can result in a long incarceration period in addition to huge fines, so it’s well worth your time to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to learn about what you can do to fight your charges.

 

If you are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action given your circumstances. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Demystifying Texas Drug Cases and Search and Seizure Laws

Demystifying Texas Drug Cases and Search and Seizure Laws

Know Your Rights

 

The U.S. Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. Law enforcement routinely searches people and their property to seize valuable evidence. This is particularly common in drug cases. Search and seizure remains a large component of law enforcement protocol. When investigating drug cases, obtaining evidence is of utmost priority. Texas has very strict controlled substance laws with severe penalties. The consequences of drug possession can vary widely based on the substance, the quantity, the context and the defendant’s criminal history. Thus, it’s essential to thoroughly understand search and seizure laws when facing drug charges.

 

Following Protocol

 

Typically, a police officer must have a warrant signed by a judge to search your person or property. If police conduct a search without a valid warrant, a judge may rule the evidence seized is inadmissible in court. Inadmissible evidence cannot be held against you.

 

But there are situations where law enforcement cannot obtain a warrant in a reasonable amount of time to apprehend suspects or seize evidence. The law provides police officer certain situations where they can perform a search without a warrant, including:

 

  • The officer saw the defendant commit the crime then conceal the evidence
  • The officer must enter private property to continue the pursuit of a suspect
  • The officer checks for weapons to ensure officer safety during a stop
  • The officer is arresting the subject and must search for weapons and contraband

 

Outside of these situations, there are very few instances in which a law enforcement officer may search your person or property and seize evidence in your possession.

 

Factors in Drug Cases

 

In drug possession or possession of drug paraphernalia cases, search and seizure laws are fundamental. It’s crucial to understand your rights and protections under the law, especially when facing a possession charge. One of those protections is freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

 

Speak with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney if you think a law enforcement officer illegally searched you or your property. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and advise you on whether the officer performed an illegal search. If so, the attorney can file a Motion to Suppress evidence in your case. Suppressing evidence can significantly weaken the prosecution’s argument. In some cases, this results in the case being dismissed altogether.

 

If you are facing drug charges in Dallas-Fort Worth, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb Criminal Defense Attorneys can aggressively protect your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collins, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.