Houston Drug Charges Lawyer Attorney Greg Tsioros
If you have been arrested on drug charges in or around Houston, the immediate retention of legal representation is a must – the consequences of a conviction can be life-changing, ranging anywhere from fines and community service to the forfeiture of property and jail time for more serious offenses.
Felony-Level Drug Crimes and Consequences
Whether you have been charged with possession or trafficking, or as a first-time or repeat offender, Houston drug attorney Greg Tsioros will guide you through the necessary steps to protect your constitutional rights. Most of the drug cases Mr. Tsioros handles are at the felony level and include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cocaine Possession
- Drug Paraphernalia Charges
- Drug Possession
- Drug Possession Penalties
- Drug Trafficking Penalties
- Heroin Charges
- Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
- Marijuana Possession
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
Search & Seizure
The defense of marijuana, cocaine, or other drug possession charges always begins with a focus on your rights, specifically search and seizure issues. A seasoned attorney will thoroughly review police reports and any other elements of the case that could help determine if your rights were violated in any way.
- Did the police officer have grounds to stop you in the first place?
- Did the police officer frisk you when you posed no safety threat?
- Did the police officer search your vehicle without probable cause?
- Did the authorities enter your home without a valid search warrant?
Houston Drug Lawyer Greg Tsioros knows that in any of these situations, the drug or drugs were seized unlawfully and can not be admitted as evidence against you, likely forcing the prosecution to dismiss the charges altogether.
Even if the seizure is valid, there may be insufficient evidence to show that you were in possession of the drugs. The possibility exists that you were in the vicinity of illegal drugs, but did not own them or didn’t even know they were even on your premises. Affirmative links need to be established between you and the drugs. If these links are weak or can not be established, a good drug lawyer will raise reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt in your marijuana or drug charge, attorney Greg Tsioros will seek to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed completely.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Harsh penalties are available for possession of controlled substances that have been outlawed by state or federal lawmakers. If it can be shown that a suspect possessed or had the capacity to control an illegal substance, criminal charges may be forthcoming. The prosecution must prove that the suspect had physical possession of an illegal drug or possessed the ability to control its use or distribution. In legal parlance, having the ability to control a banned substance is known as constructive possession.
The prosecution must prove that the defendant was aware of the presence of the controlled substance and had the ability to control the disposition of the drug. It’s not unusual for more than one suspect to be charged with constructive possession of a controlled substance. The ultimate penalty for a controlled substance conviction will depend on the drug involved, the amount of drug under the defendant’s control and whether the drug was for personal use or distribution.
Texas drug possession laws are contained in the Texas Penal Code and Texas Controlled Substances Act. Drug possession charges can produce serious legal consequences, including incarceration and financial penalties.
Depending on the drug, the amount of drugs involved and the defendant’s previous criminal record, a simple drug possession charge is punishable by anything from a minor misdemeanor to a serious felony. If the drug possession charge is compounded by an intent to distribute charge, enhanced penalties are likely to ensue. The possession of drug paraphernalia could result in the filing of additional criminal charges.
The manner in which the drugs were concealed, the presence of large amounts of money and the seizure of drugs in connection with the commission of another crime can also escalate the severity of criminal charges and penalties. Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is punishable by up to six months in a county jail. A cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine conviction is punishable by a minimum prison sentence of two years.
Drug Possession Penalties
The available penalties for drug possession in the state of Texas will depend on a variety of factors, including the type and quantity of drug and the criminal record of the defendant. Drug possession charges can also be enhanced if a large amount of cash or the commission of another crime was involved.
Possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is punishable by probation or a maximum sentence of 180 days in county jail. Possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is punishable by up to life in state prison. Possession of less than 400 grams of a penalty Group 1 drug, including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, is punishable by a minimum prison sentence of two years. Penalty Group 1A includes LSD and other hallucinogens.
Penalty group 2 includes mescaline, PCP, hashish, Ecstasy and extracted forms of cannabis. Penalty Groups 3 and 4 prescribe the penalties for Ritalin, Valium and other chemical compounds. Each penalty group includes substantial penalties for the illegal possession of a controlled substance.
If the evidence is strong against you on a drug possession charge, seek deferred adjudication. This way your future law-abiding activities can be rewarded with an order of non-disclosure, which will prevent your criminal record from being viewed by anyone but legal authorities. If your crime was a “one-time” occurrence and you keep yourself out of legal trouble, there is no reason that it should impact the rest of your life or affect your freedom. The Law Office of Greg Tsioros will work for shorter jail sentences and receiving credit for time served as well.
The Texas Controlled Substances Act outlaws the manufacture, possession, recreational use, delivery, sale or transfer of potentially harmful substances such as cocaine. Cocaine is classified as a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance along with opiates, heroin, methamphetamine and their various derivatives. It is a felony crime to possess even less than a gram of cocaine. Many Texas counties offer diversion programs for first -time drug offenders.
The possession of less than one gram of cocaine is a state jail felony. A possession charge for one to four grams could mean a second degree felony. A first degree felony conviction is the available punishment for possessing between four and 200 grams of cocaine. An arrest for possessing between 200 and 400 grams could result in a sentence of up to life in prison and a fine of $100,000. Finally, a cocaine conviction for possessing more than 400 grams is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of no more than $250,000.
Heroin charges and heroin related offenses are taken seriously in the state of Texas. Heroin is classified as a Penalty Group 1 substance. An arrest for possessing, manufacturing or delivering heroin can lead to severe consequences. Depending on the nature of the crime and the previous criminal record of the defendant, there are also a number of deferral and treatment programs available in the state of Texas.
The punishment for a heroin charge depends on the aggregate amount of heroin allegedly recovered by law enforcement officials, including diluents and adulterants. Even the possession of less than one gram can land a defendant in jail for between six months and two years. Any amount between one and four grams is punishable by a 3rd degree felony and a maximum prison sentence of ten years. The more heroin involved, the worse the penalties become, including sentences of 99 years or life in prison.
The state of Texas has some of the most restrictive marijuana laws in the United States. It is a crime to possess any “usable” quantity of Cannabis Sativa L. Moreover, there are no legal protections for medicinal marijuana users in Texas, though laws on production of cannabis products without THC have changed. The possession or use of marijuana can result in criminal charges, incarceration and financial penalties.
The legal standard for a usable quantity of marijuana is two ounces. The available punishment for possessing a usable amount of marijuana is a maximum sentence of six months in county jail and a fine of no more than $2,000. A conviction for possessing between two and four ounces of marijuana is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a $4,000 fine. The available penalties accelerate as the quantity of marijuana increases. Possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is punishable by up to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Manufacture of a Controlled Substance
The Texas Controlled Substances Act regulates the manufacture, possession or delivery of illegal drugs. The manufacture of a controlled substance includes the illegal production, conversion, processing or propagation of any substance other than marijuana. The direct or indirect extraction or chemical synthesis of a banned substance from any natural substance is illegal. The packaging or repackaging of a controlled substance is also illegal. Aside from a substantial jail sentence and financial penalties, a controlled substance manufacturing conviction can produce any number of negative outcomes. For instance, a Texas drug offense will result in a six month suspension of driving privileges. A criminal conviction also makes it more difficult to obtain employment, housing and public assistance. Many drug arrests violate the legal rights of criminal suspects. The evidence in a drug manufacturing case must be carefully reviewed, and the prosecution must be required to prove every element of a drug charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Methamphetamine is a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance in the state of Texas. Any involvement in the manufacture, delivery or intent to deliver methamphetamine could result in criminal charges and harsh penalties. Crystal meth, also known as speed or ice, has replaced cocaine as the drug of choice in major urban areas. The synthetic drug is more affordable since it can be manufactured nearly anywhere and easily delivered to drug users.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that is known to debilitate the lives of addicts and families. The penalty for methamphetamine possession depends on the amount of drug involved. The possession of any amount of meth, including equipment and paraphernalia related to methamphetamine production or use, is a felony crime. Possession of less than one gram of meth is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of two years. Possession of 400 or more grams could mean an enhanced 1st degree felony and a maximum sentence of 99 years in state prison.
Drug Paraphernalia Charges
Drug paraphernalia offenses are nearly as common as drug possession and distribution violations. Depending on the circumstances surrounding a drug crime, almost any item or article that can be connected to the possession, use or distribution of an illegal drug may be regarded as paraphernalia. Some of the more common items are roach clips, bongs, syringes and pipes. Even the plastic baggies that are used by drug offenders to store and distribute illegal drugs can be listed in a criminal complaint.
Any item that is part of a drug crime and can be shown to be under the control of the offender may be regarded as drug paraphernalia. It’s not even necessary for the items to be found in the possession of a suspect. Other items that are commonly classified as drug paraphernalia include, miniature spoons, hypodermics, water pipes and needles. Equipment that is used to manufacture, grow, weigh or package illicit drugs can also be classified as paraphernalia.
Drug Trafficking Penalties
Texas drug trafficking and drug distribution laws are similar in many respects, including the heavy penalties that can be imposed. First and foremost, drug trafficking is a felony. Although any felony conviction can have lifelong consequences, the ultimate penalty for a drug offense will depend on the type, amount and penalty group classification of the drug involved
A state jail felony conviction could result in a jail sentence of up to two years and a maximum fine of $10,000. A first degree felony is punishable by anywhere from 15 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Moreover, a felony conviction will strip an offender of voting privileges and the right to bear arms. It also becomes far more difficult to locate suitable employment and housing. Depending on the nature and scope of the trafficking charge, a Texas prosecutor may offer a lighter sentence in exchange for vital information.
How a Skilled Attorney Can Help
If you are facing a drug related charge, consult with a qualified lawyer as soon as possible. The consequences of drug charges can range from fines and community service to jail and even prison terms. The Law Office of Greg Tsioros will negotiate reasonable sentences, deferred prosecution, and treatment options for defendants struggling with addiction problems. Attorney Greg Tsioros is knowledgeable of drug related crimes and provides expert defense against drug charges. Contact our office now for a free consultation.