What If You’re Charged with Drug Possession in Texas?
Because Texas laws take drug possession and sales so seriously, the best thing to do is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately to help you navigate the hurdles of drug possession charges in Texas. Remember that if you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent until speaking to a lawyer. You also are not legally obligated to consent to a search without a warrant. Before getting in touch with your attorney, you can simply tell police officers that you cannot answer any questions without legal representation.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you sort out your case and fight to get charges reduced or dropped if possible.
Drug possession has serious penalties in Texas. Even possessing marijuana – a substance which other states considered legal and even normal – can result in life-altering consequences. In Texas, possessing illegal drugs, or illegal quantities of legal drugs can result in jail time, probation, heavy fines, mandatory drug addiction treatment, and temporary suspension of driver’s license.
According to The Right Step, offenses and penalties for drug possession in Texas fall into four groups according to drug classification. Some drug types can land in two categories – such as painkiller hydrocodone, which is considered both a narcotic and a depressant. Penalties for marijuana are classified in a separate group.
The minimum charge for drug possession in Texas is either a “Class B” or “Class A” misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000, depending on the type of drug. The penalties increase with the quantity of drugs found in your possession.
In addition to the type and quantity of drugs you have, other factors will determine the severity of the charge and resulting penalties. Judges will take into consideration your “intent to deliver,” determined by factors such as:
- How you store or conceal the drug
- If you possess any drug paraphernalia (i.e., scales)
- Having large amounts of cash
- Having past convictions and/or prior offenses
Drug Penalty Groups in Texas
It’s important to note that penalties can vary by whether you’re making the drug, selling it, or possessing it. According to The Right Step, penalty groups are as follows:
- Group 1 Drugs: Opioids (including painkillers like codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone), opium derivatives and/or opiates (heroin and others), cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens.
- Group 1 Penalties: starting at 180 days to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Penalties can increase to life imprisonment (for possession of 400 grams or more) and fines up to $300,000.
- Group 2 Drugs: LSD, Ecstasy (MDMA), PCP, psychedelic mushrooms and amphetamines
- Group 2 Penalties: begin at 180 days to two years in jail for possessing less than one gram. Maximum sentence is life imprisonment for possession of 400 grams or more, with fines up to $50,000.
- Group 3 Drugs: Opioids and opiates not listed in Group 1, benzodiazepines and sedatives like Valium and others, anabolic steroids, methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin), and other prescription drugs that have either a stimulant or depressant effect and potential for abuse.
- Group 3 Penalties: a minimum of 180 days to two years in jail and fines up to $10,000. The maximum sentence is life in jail (for possession of 400 grams or more) with fines up to $50,000.
- Penalty Group 4: Opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, and a range of prescription medications and various chemical compounds that have a potential for abuse. Penalties largely reflect those for Penalty Group 3.
- Marijuana Group: Marijuana (cannabis) and synthetic marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids (commonly known as K2 and Spice, among others).
- Marijuana Penalties: starting at probation and mandatory drug treatment. Penalties can increase to 180 days in jail and fines of $2,000 for possession of two ounces or less. Minimal amounts of marijuana can result in driver’s license suspension. Possession of more than two ounces of marijuana puts you at risk of penalties of one to 10 years in jail, plus fines. According to FindLaw, Texas has legalized the restricted use of some types of cannabis oil for limited medical use. But like other prescription drugs, you must have a qualified doctor’s authorization for both the type and the quantity of the substance in your possession.
Texas drug possession laws are harsh. If you’re facing drug charges in McAllen, Texas, you need a criminal defense attorney who is up to the challenge! Contact Juan Tijerina for fair, efficient, and competent criminal defense! Call (956) 261-5609 or contact us online.
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126