In this country, drug charges are some of the most severe criminal charges that one can face. The most common drug charge that people face is that of drug possession.
Under the Health and Safety Code, and according to Chapter 481, the Texas Schedule of Controlled Substances has identified and listed all drugs and chemicals that the state has deemed illegal. A charge of drug possession means that a defendant knowingly has in their control or their possession marijuana or other controlled substance mentioned on that list.
Suppose law enforcement arrests you for having any of these drugs in your possession or control. The prosecuting attorney will look at several factors when determining the type of charge and possible penalty. You must understand the charges and the penalties you are about to face.
Is A Drug Possession Charge A Felony?
Drug possession charges in Texas are either a misdemeanor or a felony. Unfortunately, a drug possession charge is not as simple as whether the drug in question is listed as a controlled substance under Texas law.
The type of charge filed by prosecutors and the penalty you face will depend on elements that go beyond what kind of drug you had in your possession. A significant determinant of whether a defendant faces a misdemeanor or felony charge is the amount of drugs found.
Whether charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, a drug charge is serious and can lead to severe penalties.
What Are The Penalties Involved in Drug Cases?
In Texas, the penalty you will face if convicted of drug possession will depend on several factors. Some of these factors include the type of drug or controlled substance found in your possession, the amount of drugs found, and whether or not you seemingly were attempting to distribute it. Due to the complexity of the matter, Texas has divided drug possession offenses into four penalty groups.
The law classifies penalty groups by the dangerousness of the drug and how addictive it is. Penalty group one, for example, consists of the most addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Groups then decrease to drugs that are deemed less dangerous to the public. Depending on the amount found in your possession, imprisonment can range from less than a year to 99 years. The government may also fine you up to thousands of dollars.
Marijuana is separately classified under Texas law and not included in the general penalty groups. Under Marijuana possession laws and penalty guidelines, penalties can range from less than 200 days in jail to up to 99 years, depending on the amount found in your possession and what your intent was. Similar to the other drugs, a defendant may also face fines up to several thousand dollars.
The Bottom Line In Understanding Drug Possession Charges In Texas
Drug crimes are serious crimes that can bring about harsh penalties. The severity of the crime and possible sentence will depend on many things. The law can be complicated and hard to understand. If you find yourself facing a drug possession charge, the best thing to do is find an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you understand the charge and prepare a defense.
The Houston-based attorneys at Vinas & Graham are former prosecutors that understand drug crimes. With over 30 years of experience in criminal law, they can help you fight the charge. Follow them on Facebook today for more information regarding drug possession or contact them for a consultation.