Texas is among the states with the strictest drug possession penalties. In Texas, being charged with drug possession offers unpleasant prospects such as heavy fines, jail time, and a criminal record that could harm your reputation or career.
If you were charged with the possession of marijuana or other drugs in Texas, you should get an experienced possession attorney on your case as soon as possible.
Texas Drug Possession Laws: Overview
Texas law divides drugs into different classes, each with its own penalties. Marijuana stands on its own. Note that the different penalty groups also include several prescription drugs.
Drug possession penalties may vary widely depending on the type and quantity of the drug, the intention of possession (personal use only vs. distribution), and past convictions.The range of punishment may be standard across Texas, but each jurisdiction will assert penalties differently.
Possessing under 4 oz of marijuana counts as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, whereas possessing any amount over 4 oz counts as a felony.
Persons charged with possessing less than two ounces of marijuana may face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Possession of over 2,000 pounds of marijuana may earn the convicted person a lifetime in prison and a $50,000 fine.
The state of Texas may lower penalties for marijuana possession soon, with House Bill 441 proposing to grade possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana as a Class C misdemeanor. Unlike a Class B misdemeanor, Class C is not punishable by jail time and does not carry other penalties such as driver's license suspension.
Heroin and Cocaine
Both heroin and cocaine count as hard drugs and carry far heavier penalties than marijuana. Possessing less than 1 gram of either heroin or cocaine in Texas counts as a state jail felony and may land the offender in prison for up to two years. People convicted of possessing over 200 grams of cocaine may spend the rest of their life in jail.
In some Texas counties, first-time drug offenders may have their charges dropped if they participate in diversion programs. Diversion programs may include regular reporting, random urine sampling for drugs or alcohol, counseling or mental health treatment, and community service hours.
Drug Possession and DWI or DUI in Texas
Often, DWI and DUI cases go hand in hand with drug possession charges. It may happen, for example, if a police officer orders you to pull over and discovers drugs in your possession while searching your vehicle.
However, it is important to know that the Texas police force doesn't have an automatic right to search your vehicle. To conduct a search, a police officer needs a “probable cause”—for example, the smell of marijuana or other signs that point to the presence of illegal substances.
In any case, when dealing with the police, it is always best to comply, avoid arguments, and say as little as possible. Talk to your lawyer if you believe the police violated any of your legal rights during an arrest.
How a Criminal Attorney Can Help You with Drug Crime Misdemeanor or Felony Charges
A misdemeanor or felony drug crime is a serious charge that can harm your employment prospects, prevent you from securing eligible housing, and interfere with your ability to get a mortgage or a student loan. Choosing a competent, knowledgeable criminal attorney can preserve not just your current freedom and finances but also your entire future.
A possession defense attorney will fight to protect your rights and work to resolve your legal situation. If a trial is unavoidable, your criminal attorney should have enough courtroom experience to provide effective defense in court.
However, not all drug possession cases go to trial in Texas. Your criminal lawyer may negotiate to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced, get you on probation instead of time in jail, or apply for a diversion program.
About Jason English, Criminal Defense Attorney
As a former prosecutor who has handled countless drug crime cases, Jason English uses his courtroom experience and intimate knowledge of state and federal laws to choose the right legal strategy for each client.
In his current role as a criminal defense attorney, Mr. English has helped many people who were charged with a drug crime in Texas avoid or minimize jail time, cut down on fines, and rebuild their lives.
Jason S. English Law, PLLC: Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me in Austin, TX
If you're searching for a “criminal defense attorney near me,” it is likely that you are dealing with a complex and serious legal situation. An experienced possession attorney can help protect your rights and fight for you through the Texas jurisdiction.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No statement in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient's state, country or other relevant licensing jurisdiction.