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Misdemeanors

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.

 

Texas State Jails or Prisons: Know Where You’ll Go

Texas State Jails or Prisons: Know Where You’ll Go

The three main types of correctional facilities in Texas include county jails, state jails and prisons. You’ll often hear people using the terms jail and prison interchangeable, but, in fact, they are quite different. In Texas, correctional facilities differ in the type of offenders they house. County jails house most misdemeanor offenders, but we’ll focus on state jails and prisons in this post.

 

Texas State Jails and Texas Prisons

 

Texas state jails and prisons both house felony offenders. But those facing Texas felony charges might not know where they will go if convicted and sentenced to incarceration. Likewise, they may not know the difference between state jails and prisons. In reality, those differences can be significant depending on where you’re headed.

 

Where Do Felons Go?

 

Texas classifies felonies as state jail felonies, third-degree felonies, second-degree felonies, first-degree felonies or capital felonies. State jails house those with state jail felony convictions. Examples of state jail felonies include possession of a controlled substance under one gram and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. State prisons house those with higher degree felonies.

 

Felony designations determine where the offender will serve his or her sentence of incarceration. Unfortunately, they do not always correlate with the level of comfort the inmate will encounter. Put simply, neither sentences in state jails or state prisons are pleasant. State jails might offer more programs and amenities to inmates if resources are available. But when it comes to state prisons, those resources are increasingly scarce. These designations also segregate more serious felony offenders from minor felony offenders. This allows the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to better allocate funds to house inmates based on their offense category.

 

Fight Your Felony Charges Head on With an Experienced Attorney

 

If you are facing charges for a Texas felony, make sure you discuss your case in detail with a seasoned criminal defense attorney in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. An attorney can advise you on what type of felony charge you are facing. He or she may also be able to help you avoid a prison sentence by reducing your charge to a state jail felony or (better still) a misdemeanor. Every case is different, however, so consult with an attorney for personalized legal advice.

 

 

If you’re facing felony charges 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 to protect 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.

 

Texas Misdemeanor Classes and What They Mean

Texas Misdemeanor Classes and What They Mean

A Range of Misdemeanors

 

Texas misdemeanors are punishable by a term of up to one year in a local or county jail. There are many types of misdemeanors that are divided into three classes of varying gravity. These classes influence the penalties the court can impose. For example, Class C misdemeanors carry less severe penalties than Class A misdemeanors. Learning about the different classes of Texas misdemeanors is step one if you’re facing misdemeanor charges.

 

Class A Misdemeanors

 

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both. This is the most serious of the misdemeanor classes. Second DWI offense and resisting arrest are examples of common Class A Texas misdemeanors.

 

Class B Misdemeanors

 

Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000 or both. First-offense DWI and theft of between $100 and $750 are examples of Class B misdemeanors.

 

Class C Misdemeanors

 

Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and no jail time. Many traffic tickets, public intoxication and minor DUI are examples of Class C misdemeanors. Though they come with no jail time, Class C misdemeanors are still well worth fighting.

 

Take Your Texas Misdemeanor Charges Seriously

 

Misdemeanors may be less serious than felonies, but don’t let that fool you. You should always take a misdemeanor charge seriously. A Texas misdemeanor will show up on your criminal record, a record that will follow you the rest of your life. Also, remember that not all misdemeanors are created equal. Some are more serious than others because they can result in longer jail terms or higher fines. That said, never enter a plea—even to a Class C misdemeanor—without first consulting with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. You have a right to and should fight any misdemeanor, no matter the class or potential penalty. An attorney can explain what could happen in your case and advise you on how to best proceed forward.

 

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges 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. 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.

Class A and Class B Texas Misdemeanors: Potential Penalties

Class A and Class B Texas Misdemeanors: Potential Penalties

Crime Classes

 

Many people think of misdemeanors as less serious than felony crimes. But misdemeanors still have the potential to carry harsh sentences including incarceration and steep fines. Texas misdemeanors are divided into classes or offense categories. These classes represent the seriousness of the crime, and, accordingly, carry different ranges of punishments. Let’s take a look at Class A and Class B Texas misdemeanors and the potential penalties they hold.

 

Statutory Punishments for Texas Misdemeanors

 

Class A Texas misdemeanors are punishable by:

  • Up to one year in a local or county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $4,000

 

Class B Texas misdemeanors are punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in a local or county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $2,000

 

Not Set in Stone

 

These are the maximum allowable punishments according to Texas law. Note, however, these are not necessarily mandatory or minimum punishments. It is not uncommon for a first-time offender to receive less jail time, a lower fine or one or the other. In some cases, you may be able to get community supervision (i.e. probation) in lieu of incarceration. But misdemeanor probation in Texas involves a host of strict terms and conditions. Probation is also expensive due to numerous fines and fees the defendant must pay. Many defendants who take probation later regret their choice. For this reason, you should always work closely with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney when facing Class A or Class B Texas misdemeanors so that you can make the best decision about how you want to handle your case.

 

A Third Class

 

Texas also has Class C misdemeanors, which are punishable by a fine of up to $500 but no jail time. These include lesser offenses such as traffic violations and some types of theft. Because these are less serious, sometimes people make the mistake of not taking them seriously. But to avoid the negative consequences of a conviction, you should take every Texas misdemeanor charge seriously.

 

Making Informed Decisions

 

Facing misdemeanor charges can be overwhelming. It’s normal to feel apprehensive about the fines and incarceration the court can impose. These are all very real concerns because the criminal court system is rarely lenient or easy to navigate. To face your charges with confidence, you should speak with a Texas criminal defense attorney with experience handling misdemeanor cases. A seasoned attorney can immediately set to work to minimize the consequences of your charges.

 

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges 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. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

How to Overturn a Jailhouse Plea Within 10 Days

How to Overturn a Jailhouse Plea Within 10 Days

A Dire Situation

 

Most people who are put in jail are desperate to get out. Jail keeps you from fulfilling your normal responsibilities like going to work and taking care of your family. It’s easy to make hasty decisions when your freedom is on the line. Many defendants plead guilty to crimes prematurely in order to secure their freedom. But many quickly regret the mistake they made. Fortunately, Texas law provides defendants a way to withdraw their plea in certain situations.

 

The Jailhouse Plea

 

Defendants who are put in jail for a Class C misdemeanor, or on warrant for a Class C offense, are typically brought before a magistrate and asked to enter a plea. In many cases, these defendants will be told if they plead guilty or no-contest (nolo contendere), they will receive credit for their time in jail and will be quickly released.

 

The alternative to entering a plea of guilty or no-contest is, in many cases, scrambling to arrange a bail bond. This can take time, and many people don’t know where to start when faced with a high bail amount. As a result, some defendants feel pressured into pleading guilty or no-contest so they can return to their normal life. The problem is, once they make that plea, the reality of a criminal conviction sinks in. They may receive “credit” for their time in jail, but could also face fines, probation and a criminal record.

 

Securing a Second Chance

 

Fortunately, someone in this situation can file a Motion for New Trial and ask the court to set aside his or her conviction. When filed, the judge must overturn the conviction and set a new trial date. This essentially brings the defendant back to square one but provides them the time needed to consult with legal counsel and explore all defense possibilities. They also are able to use this time to fully consider the consequences of a conviction.

 

But time is of the essence. The defendant must file the Motion for New Trial within ten days of entering the original plea. For this reason, you should speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney immediately if you think you want to pursue this option.

 

If you’re facing DWI charges 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. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

The High Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

The High Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

A Favorable Alternative? Perhaps Not

 

First-time misdemeanor offenders are sometimes given community supervision (i.e. probation). Typically, misdemeanor probation takes the place of incarceration. But probationers (the people on probation) must adhere to a litany of restrictions and regulations. Oftentimes, the costs of misdemeanor probation are high. If you are facing criminal charges, you should carefully consider these costs before accepting community supervision. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll go over some of the costs of misdemeanor probation.

 

The Costs of Misdemeanor Probation in Texas

 

Many people mistakenly think probation is easy. In reality, probation can disrupt your life significantly. Terms of misdemeanor probation can include:

 

  • Refraining from committing new crimes
  • Regularly meeting with your assigned probation officer (typically monthly)
  • Abstaining from using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Abstaining from going to bars and/or nightclubs
  • Going to court-ordered treatment, rehabilitation, therapy or counseling (at a cost to you)
  • Periodic drug testing (at a cost to you)
  • Performing community service
  • Paying victim restitution
  • Paying probation, Crime Stopper and court-ordered fees
  • Continuing to meet your financial duties (such as supporting your family)

 

You could also be subject to home inspections and even restrictions on where and for how long you can travel.

The conditions of your probation can vary based on your offense and other facts of your case.

 

The Other Risks

 

Given the harsh terms of misdemeanor probation, the risk of violation is high. And the judge can impose your full sentence if you violate your probation. In some cases, accepting probation can be like setting yourself up for failure. You remain under the purview of community supervision—and thus the courts—for longer than you would in jail. Indeed, some people regret taking probation in lieu of jail time because of the harsh and certain consequences of making one misstep.

 

Ultimately, you should fully consider all your options before making any decisions in your case. To do that, you need to speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. An attorney can explain how probation works and the penalties you could face for a violation. From there, you can work with your attorney to identify the best course of action given your charges and circumstances.

 

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges 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 to minimize negative consequences. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.