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