Drug laws vary from state to state, but most states have similar laws regarding the legality of specific controlled substances, and the consequences of having illegal substances. According to Texas drug laws, penalties can be severe for anyone caught with controlled substances or for those caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A lengthy prison sentence is always a possibility in any drug case. If you get arrested, a defense attorney is crucial. Your defense attorney may suggest rehab for clients who have been charged with possession of drugs. This may possibly convince the judge to reduce the sentence their client is facing. Use the information here to learn more about the possible charges and penalties if you’re caught with drugs or driving while under the influence of drugs.
Charges for possession of controlled substances
Texas is serious about illicit drug use. The possible charges for possession of a controlled substance, marijuana or any other drug included, can lead to serious crimes. According to Texas drug laws, the charges and penalties can vary depending on the amount the person had on them when they were arrested, as well as the type of drug they’re charged with possessing. The charges may also be impacted by whether the person was around minors when they had the drugs on them. There are other circumstances that can make the possession a more serious offense.
For small amounts of certain drugs, the person may be charged with a class A, B or C misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor, for instance, is punishable with a fine of up to $2,000, jail for up to 180 days, or both. Larger amounts can lead to a felony charge. In Texas, this means a state jail felony, a 3rd-degree felony, a 2nd-degree felony, or a 1st-degree felony, with the 1st-degree felony being the most serious charge. A 2nd-degree felony, for example, is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and between 2 and 20 years in jail.
Overview of Texas drug offenses penalties
In Texas, drug penalties are separated into different penalty groups depending on the type of drug in question by the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The penalty groups include 1, 1-A, 2, 3, and 4. The Controlled Substances Act is the guide to each penalty group, the specific drugs that fall under that group, how to add new drugs to a penalty group, and every other detail of the possible drug charges, including what charge applies for any drug arrest. This is incredibly detailed to ensure everything is covered and properly explained through the Texas statutes.
Penalties for possession of group 1 drug offenses
Group 1 drugs include opiates and related drugs. This, unless otherwise noted, includes opium, opium derivatives, and cocaine. Common drugs include codeine, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and methadone. For this group, less than 1 gram is considered a state jail felony, 1 to 4 grams is a 3rd degree felony and 4 to 200 grams is a 2nd degree felony.
Those arrested with between 200 grams and 400 grams will face a 1st-degree felony, up to $100,000 in fines, and 10 to 99 years or life in prison. Those arrested with more than 400 grams face a 1st-degree felony which is punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison as well as up to a $100,000 fine.
Penalties for possession of group 1-A drugs
According to the Texas Health and Safety Code, group 1-A includes LSD and derivatives, as well as similar drugs. Penalties for this group are determined by the number of units of the drug the person was arrested for having. Under 20 units is a state jail felony, punishable by jail of between 180 days and 2 years as well as a fine of up to $10,000. Between 20 and 80 is a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in jail as well as a $10,000 fine. Above 80 but less than 4,000 units leads to a 2nd-degree felony. A person caught possessing 4,000 to 8,000 units faces a 1st-degree felony and those who have more than 8,000 units could face life imprisonment or 15 to 99 years in jail as well as a $250,000 fine.
Penalties for possession of group 2 drugs
Penalty group 2 includes hallucinogenic substances such as mescaline, methamphetamine, Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), and related controlled substances. The potential penalties can vary, depending on the amount a person is caught with. Less than 1 gram is considered a state jail felony. Between 1 gram and 4 grams is a 3rd degree felony and between 4 grams and 400 grams is a 2nd degree felony. Someone who is caught with more than 400 grams of a controlled substance in this group faces 5 to 99 years or life in jail and up to a $50,000 fine.
Marijuana is classified as a group 2 substance
In Texas, marijuana is not legal at all and the penalties can be harsh for the possession of marijuana. Currently, CBD oil with very low amounts of THC is allowed for those with a medical need for treating epilepsy, but it is extremely difficult for anyone to obtain this.
Additionally, there is a form of CBD oil sold locally in shops and online that is made from hemp instead of cannabis. This is legal because it does not contain any THC. CBD oil made from Marijuana is still highly illegal in Texas unless you qualify under the very limited medical marijuana law currently in effect. Anyone caught with marijuana faces jail and or a fine.
Depending on the amount of marijuana they’re caught with, they could be facing life imprisonment even if they do not have the intent to sell the marijuana.
Marijuana specific laws
Possession of marijuana charges are based on the amount of marijuana the person has when they are caught. It does fall under penalty group 2 and there are currently very few exceptions for CBD oil as mentioned previously. Texas has some of the harshest penalties for marijuana, with the possibility of life imprisonment for larger quantities.
A person who is caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana may face a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Between 2 and 4 ounces is a class A misdemeanor and 4 ounces to 5 pounds is a state jail felony. Anyone caught with 5 to 50 pounds faces a 3rd-degree felony, while those caught with 50 to 2,000 pounds face a 2nd-degree felony. If someone is caught with more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana, they could face life imprisonment or 5 to 99 years in jail as well as a fine of up to $50,000.
Penalties for possession of group 3 substances
Group 3 includes depressants and stimulants, as well as compound mixtures containing limited amounts of narcotics. It also includes peyote, stimulants and other hormonal drugs, and salvia. Less than 28 grams for this group is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. Between 28 and 200 grams, the person faces a 3rd-degree felony. Possessing between 200 and 400 grams is a 2nd-degree felony while more than 400 grams could lead to 5 to 99 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Penalties for possession of group 4 drugs
The 4th group contains drugs that have medicinal properties but also contain small amounts of narcotics such as codeine, ethylmorphine, and opium. Possession of fewer than 28 grams can lead to a class B misdemeanor, 28 to 200 grams is a 3rd-degree felony, and 200 to 400 grams is a 2nd-degree felony. If a person is caught with more than 400 grams, they could face 5 to 99 years or life in prison as well as up to $50,000 in fines.
Driving while intoxicated charges and penalties
While most drug charges stem from the possession of the drugs, a person can be arrested and charged with a crime if they are driving while under the influence of a drug. This can even occur if they do not have any of the drugs in the vehicle with them.
According to Texas state laws, a person can be charged with driving while intoxicated if they are under the influence of alcohol or any drug. This can include legal, over-the-counter drugs such as cold medications or cough syrup. Any substance that alters your perceptions or reaction times can cause an arrest. The arrest process is similar to someone who is arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Someone charged with driving while intoxicated because of drugs can face a class B misdemeanor with a minimum of 72 hours in jail. The minimum punishment can increase if they have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in the past. Prior convictions can mean the person faces a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor charge.
Texas drug laws are incredibly harsh and designed to encourage people to stay away from any controlled substances that could lead to their arrest. Those who are facing a drug charge will want to speak with an attorney to start getting help for their pending case and to try to minimize the penalties they’re facing. One way to do this is to start getting help through rehab immediately. Though a rehabilitation facility cannot guarantee this will help the person’s case, it could show the judge they are willing to get help. If you or a loved one has an addiction to any drugs, get more information on rehab and how it can help today.
Texas Health and Safety Code, Texas Controlled Substances Act – https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/HS/htm/HS.481.htm
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