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.
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.
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 email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.