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The Drug Possession Laws of Texas

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

The Drug Possession Laws of Texas

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Overview Drug Possession Laws in Texas

Texas has strict narcotics drug possession and illegal controlled substances laws. If you possess an illegal substance or drug, you may face jail, fines, probation, and a six-month driver’s license suspension. The Texas Penal Code, Health and Safety Code, and The Texas Controlled Substances Act detail finer legal points to apply in cases involving illegal drugs.

Unfortunately, these laws are quite challenging for most people to interpret. It’s essential to know how the law is typically applied in state courtrooms.

Have you or someone you know been charged with possession of a drug or narcotic in Houston, TX. You need a tough, smart defense lawyer on your side. The Law Office of Greg Tsioros is prepared to fight for you. Click here to contact his office today and schedule a consultation.

That’s why it is essential to contact an experienced drug possession attorney if you’re facing a drug possession charge, or any charge that relates to sale, manufacture, or delivery of illegal controlled substances in Houston or throughout Texas. Expect that any case involving drugs is likely to become complicated in a court of law.

How Different Drugs Are Handled

Texas law considers various circumstances and charges to discern the charge against an offer. Factors include: 1) quantity of drug(s); (2) how drugs were stored or concealed; (3) drug possession plus paraphernalia, such as a scale to weigh drugs; (4) drugs and a large cache of money; (5) the offender’s prior offenses or convictions; and (6) drug type(s) offender possessed.

  • Marijuana possession: Texas laws treat marijuana as a separate controlled substance class. If the offender possesses two ounces of marijuana or less, he or she faces a maximum jail term of 180 days.

In many cases, it’s possible for a skilled defense attorney to negotiate a better deal. For instance, it may be possible to negotiate for drug treatment vs. probation for a first offender. It may be possible to have charges dropped after the drug treatment course is completed. If the offender possesses an amount greater than two ounces marijuana penalties in Texas range from a 180-day jail term to 20 years in prison plus a maximum fine of $10,000. If the offender possesses a large amount of marijuana, such as 2,000 pounds or more, he or she may face a maximum life in prison sentence.

  • Cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin possession: Under Texas Penalty Group 1, the offender faces a minimum two-year jail term and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the offender is in possession of at least 400 grams of any of these substances, he or she faces life in prison.
  • LSD possession: Possession of Penalty Group 1A hallucinogenic substances like LSD can result in jail terms of two years to life in prison with maximum fines of $250,000.
  • Mescaline, Ecstasy, PCP possession: Texas law considers many popular club drugs, such as ecstasy (MDMA, Molly), PCP, hashish, some forms of cannabis (with reins or THC extracts), and mescaline as Penalty Group 2 offenses. If convicted of possession, the offender may face up to two years in jail for possession of less than a gram or maximum life in prison plus maximum fines of $50,000 for possession of at least 400 grams of one or more drugs in the category.
  • Ritalin, Valium, and Other Prescription Compounds or Chemicals’ possession: Penalty Group 3 and Penalty Group 4 include many prescription drugs and other chemical substances. If found guilty, the offender faces a minimum one-year jail term and a maximum fine of $4,000. If the offender has 200 grams or more, he or she faces a maximum 20-year prison term plus $10,000 in fines.
  • Delivery & Manufacture of Drugs and Controlled Substances in Texas: Punishments are determined by the type of substance or drug the offender manufactured (Group 1 – 4 penalty groups; narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens) and the amount of drugs or substances involved. A felony drug offense includes up to 99 years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000. Manufacture and delivery of narcotics substances (e.g. opium, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, or hydrocodone) would probably involve greater punishments than manufacture and delivery of depressants (e.g. barbiturates or chloral hydrate.

If you’re facing drug possession charges of any type in Houston or throughout Texas, ask an experienced attorney for advice now. Greg Tsioros, a former Assistant Attorney in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, has the in-depth experience you need.

Texas Drug Penalties

Texas doesn’t tolerate drug possession, manufacture, and distribution. As you can see, Texas laws address multiple factors in considering the offender’s penalties:

  • In Texas, possession of a controlled substance carries a maximum fine of $250,000, a minimum jail term of 180 days, and a maximum prison sentence of 99 years.
  • Manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance carries minimum jail time of 180 days and a maximum 99-year prison sentence plus maximum fines of $250,000.
  • Marijuana possession carries a maximum fine of $250,000, minimum jail time of 180 days, and a maximum prison sentence of 99 years.
  • Marijuana delivery entails a minimum jail sentence of 180 days, a maximum prison sentence of 99 years, and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Federal laws may also be involved:

  • Distribution of drugs to persons under 21 years of age can mean harsher penalties (by factors of two to three times) penalties under federal laws.
  • Drug possession under federal law can mean harsh penalties to Texans. A maximum $5,000 fine (plus potentially steep investigation costs) and a prison sentence of up to 20 years are involved.
  • Manufacture, distribution, and dispensary of drugs under federal laws include a maximum fine of $8 million and up to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Drug charges are often complex. Any charge that involves drugs in Texas is potentially very serious. Call The Law Office of Greg Tsioros to discuss your matter right away.

Texas Statute of Limitations

The Texas statute of limitations ensures that criminals are brought to trial within a specific time period. Most drug charges include a statute of limitations (other than murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, offenses involving children, human trafficking, and leaving an accident scene that resulted in death).

The statute of limitations concerning drug charges depends on whether the crime is victim-less, such as in a drug possession charge. In this case, a three-year statute of limitations exists. In a crime that involves supplying or distributing drugs to a minor individual, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply.

It’s especially important to note that the court can toll or suspend the statute of limitations if an alleged perpetrator in prison, out of state, or can’t stand trial for any other reason.

Intent to Sell in Texas

If you’ve been charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver in Houston or throughout Texas, know that this is a serious criminal charge. You need a knowledgeable criminal drug defense attorney now.

A charge of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance in Texas may be proved by the presence of circumstantial evidence. An accused’s acknowledgment that he or she intended to distribute or sell drugs isn’t required. The prosecution may focus on:

  • Nature of the location at which the alleged offender was arrested
  • Quantity of “contraband” (e.g. drug or illegal substance) in his or her possession
  • Packaging used
  • Drug paraphernalia (e.g. scale)
  • Significant amount of cash in the accused’s possession
  • Drug user status

Texas state prosecutors must prove that the accused:

  • “exercised care…and management of the controlled substance” in question
  • “intended to deliver” the substance to another person
  • “knew” the substance in possession was a controlled prescription drug or illegal substance, such as cocaine, ecstasy, or methamphetamine

If the accused is proven to have delivered four grams but less than 200 grams of Penalty Group 1 contraband (or just 0.14 to 7.06 ounces), he or she faces up to 99 years in prison.

Expert testimony may be required to establish or disavow the alleged offender’s intent to sell or deliver in Texas. Call The Law Office of Greg Tsioros now to arrange a confidential case evaluation.

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