While other states are beginning to relax their punishments with regard to illicit drugs, with some taking actions like legalizing the recreational use of marijuana or working to remove minimum sentencing requirements and commute current drug-related sentences, the State of Texas is prosecuting drug crimes as aggressively as ever, and perhaps even more so.
There are numerous ways one can run afoul of Texas drug laws, including but not limited to:
There are a number of factors that can impact the severity of the punishment for drug crimes. Depending on things like quantity and classification of the drug, as well as the circumstances surrounding the crime, one could receive penalties ranging from 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine (Class B misdemeanor) to life imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines (enhanced first-degree felony).
The nature of the drug crime is generally broken down into three different categories:
Possession This refers to the crime of knowingly and intentionally having illicit drugs in one’s possession. Texas has four different classes of drugs, as well as a special classification for marijuana, and the severity of the penalty will depend on the class of drug that the defendant possessed, and the quantity. For example, possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, while possession of over 400 grams of heroine would be an enhanced first-degree felony.
Possession with intent to deliver This category of drug crime includes not only the possession of the drugs, but also the intent to deliver or distribute the drugs to others. The intent to deliver can be proven through circumstantial evidence such as the manner in which the drugs were packaged, the nature of the location where the accused was arrested (i.e. on school grounds, etc), or a lack of drug paraphernalia that would indicate the accused intended to use, not distribute the drugs. As with simple possession, the punishment will depend on the drug classification and the quantity.
Manufacturing The Texas Controlled Substances Act also pertains to the manufacturing of illicit drugs. While possession with intent to deliver and manufacturing are covered in the same Texas statute, one cannot be charged with both for the same drugs, since that would qualify as double jeopardy. If you grow or produce an illicit controlled substance, however, you will likely face similar if not more severe penalties than intent to deliver, once again depending on the classification of the drug and the quantity.
Texas courts also consider aggravating factors that could enhance drug penalties, such as the involvement of minors or if the crime occurred in a drug-free zone. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Texas, it is essential that you put forth a strong defense, otherwise you could literally spend the rest of your life in jail. Please contact The Medlin Law Firm today.