Houston Drug Possession Attorney
Being arrested with a drug possession charge can be intimidating and frightening. Your world may turn upside down in an instant, with no friendly faces or allies to hear your story. Always ask to speak with your drug possession attorney in Houston the moment you face drug possession charges.
The laws that govern drug possession in the United States are complex. Every kind of drug and paraphernalia amount has a unique set of standards that dictate how a person who is convicted will be sentenced. In Texas, possession is considered the concealment of an illegal drug on your person or property found during an investigation.
Merely finding an amount of drugs nearby your person is not enough for a conviction. Prosecutors also have to prove knowledge of the drug. Every state defines possession and the penalties for possession a little bit differently. Texas uses a “penalty group” arrangement that classifies drugs in four different ways depending on the addictiveness and dangerousness of the substance.
Being charged with paraphernalia possession, even marijuana, is considered a serious offense in Harris County. To fight a charge and protect your rights, you will need the guidance and representation of Houston drug possesion defense attorney who is familiar with Harris County and Texas drug possession laws and the court systems in your jurisdictions. From state to federal and drug courts, the range of penalties arising from convictions may be different in every case.
Possession Penalties According to Classification
In Texas, the penalties for drug possession are as follows:
- Penalty Group 1. This group contains cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
- Penalty Group 1A. Hallucinogens like LSD are included in this group and sentencing could include life in prison or up to $250,000 in fines.
- Penalty Group 2. This group includes many of the “club drugs” such as ecstasy, mescaline, and molly (MDMA). Life imprisonment and fines up to $50,000 may be imposed for this class of drug possession.
- Penalty Groups 3&4. These groups include the possession of prescription drugs in the absence of a valid prescription. Maximum penalties for these groups include 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Marijuana. Classified on its own, marijuana penalties could be as long as 20 years in prison or life imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. Marijuana convictions are more likely than others to be eligible for alternative forms of sentencing such as drug rehabilitation and probation periods as an alternative to prison time.
Drug Possession Punishment Ranges in Texas
|1||Class C||Possession of Drug Paraphernalia||0-$500 fine|
|2||Class B||Possession of Marijuana (0-2 oz)||0 – 180 days in jail|
|3||Class A||Possession of Marijuana (2-4 oz)||0-1 year in jail|
|4||4th Degree||Possession of Marijuana (between 4oz - 5 lbs) or Possession of Penalty Group 1 -- includes drugs such as Cocaine and Heroin (Less than 1 gram)||6-24 months in state jail|
|5||3rd Degree||Possesion of Marijuana (between 5 - 50 lbs) or Possession of Penalty Group 1 (1-4 grams)||2-10 years in prison|
|6||2nd Degree||Possesion of Marijuana (50 - 2000 lbs) or Possesion of Penalty Group 1 (4-200 grams)||2-20 years in prison|
|7||1st Degree||Possession of Penalty Group 1 (200-400 grams)||5 years – life in prison|
|8||Enhanced Penalty For 1st Degree||Possesion of Penalty Group 1 (over 400 grams)||10 years - life in prison|
What Is the Texas Controlled Substance Act?
The Texas Controlled Substance Act is Texas’s primary health and safety code for regulating legal and illegal substances, including drugs. It outlines the state’s complete laws for possession of illegal drugs, as well as additional abuse of prescription drugs and all related penalties.
The Controlled Substances Act organizes drugs into four main categories:
- Narcotics, including opium, morphine, and other opium poppy derivatives
- Depressants, or drugs that slow body functions, such as tranquilizers and alcohol
- Stimulants, or drugs that increase nerve activity, such as cocaine and amphetamines (speed)
- Hallucinogens, or drugs that alter perception, such as LSD, marijuana (cannabis), and ketamine
Texas law uses these categories to determine penalty groups. Law enforcement likewise uses the quantity of the drug, the method of storage, the possession of additional drug paraphernalia, and past convictions to determine the level of criminal activity in drug possession.
- Penalty Group 1 ranges anywhere from a $10,000 fine and two years in jail to a maximum of fines up to $250,000 and lifetime imprisonment.
- Penalty Group 2 ranges from two years in jail to lifetime imprisonment, with fines ranging up to $50,000.
- Penalty Group 3 ranges from one to twenty years in jail, with fines ranging from $4,000 to $10,000.
- Penalty Group 4 has penalty ranges like Penalty Group 1 and applies to any other drugs not included in Groups 1-3.
In addition to these four groups, the Texas Controlled Substance Act has specific mandates for marijuana. Depending on the amount and other factors, possession of marijuana can result in anywhere from three months in jail to lifetime imprisonment, with fines reaching up to $50,000.
Because of the great number of influences on penalties found within the Texas Controlled Substance Act, anyone facing charges for drug possession should not go without the help of a skilled and aggresive drug possesion attorney in Houston.
Possible Defenses in Drug Possession Cases
With so many factors playing a part in drug possession cases, many defenses exist to either dismiss a charge or reduce the level of penalties. Possible defenses can include:
- The defendant was not aware he or she was in possession of a controlled substance.
- The drug has a Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act approved new drug application.
- The drug is a prescribed medication from a medical doctor.
- The defendant did not intend the drug for human consumption.
- The defendant’s conduct was in accord with a Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act approved investigational use.
- The defendant did not possess a sufficient quantity of the drug for the applicable charges.
- Unlawful search and seizure brought the drug into law enforcement’s possession.
- The drugs belong to a party other than the defendant.
- The prosecution has insufficient crime lab analysis to prove that the drug in question is an illicit substance.
- The prosecution cannot produce the actual drugs.
- Another party planted the drugs in the defendant’s possession.
While all these possible defenses are usable in a drug possession case, the defendant’s addiction to a substance is not. Having an addiction to an illegal or controlled substance indicates that the defendant once possessed the substance to form an addiction in the first place.
With the potentially serious consequences of drug possession, you should not attempt to face charges alone. Our skilled attorneys will provide you with the knowledge you need about Texas’s drug laws, how they apply to your case, and any possible defenses you may use in court. We will also stay by your side and fight to disprove any false charges.
Don’t face the future with uncertainty. Bring twenty years of criminal defense experience to your side. Contact David A. Breston, Attorney at Law in Houston for a free consultation about your drug possession case.
Contact a Houston Drug Possession Lawyer Today
If you are charged with the possession of any of these drugs or others, you could be facing serious jail time and a mark on your permanent record. Everything from how a drug was concealed to the amount found and a past history of convictions will become part of the case against you. In addition to prison time and fines, convicted persons may also face driver’s license suspension, probationary terms including community service, and paraphernalia treatment and rehabilitation programs.
The only way to ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is heard in a fair and just manner is to secure the services of an experienced attorney. The Harris County drug possession attorneys who work at the Law Office of David A. Breston have completed numerous successful controlled substance possession cases.
Regardless of whether your charge faces judgment according to state or federal laws, our aggressive attorneys will be able to help you through your case at any level. We provide personalized legal services that hinge on a strong relationship with our clients. By fully understanding your case, we can offer you advice, counsel, and help you make the most informed decisions at every step of the way.