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Texas has severe laws on possessing as well as distributing drugs or controlled substances. The laws and corresponding punishments can be discussed according to the drug/substance in question.
Cocaine Possession & Distribution In Texas
The Texas Health & Safety Code 481.115 makes possession as well as manufacturing and distributing any amount of cocaine illegal. Cocaine possession punishments vary based on the amounts present during an arrest.
State jail felony: Possessing cocaine (under 1g) qualifies as a state jail felony, which can attract 6 months to 2 years in jail. The sentencing can vary for first-time offenders i.e., first-time offenses can attract probation instead of prison time.
Third-degree felony: Possessing 1-4g of cocaine qualifies as third-degree felony, which can attract a 2 to 10-year jail time and fines not exceeding $10,000.
Second-degree felony: Possessing 4-200g of cocaine qualifies as second-degree felony, which can attract a $10,000 fine and 2 to 10-year jail time.
First-degree felony: Possessing 200-400g of cocaine qualifies as first-degree felony, which attracts fines up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of 5-99 years. Possessing more than 400g can mean a 10-99 year jail time and $100,000 in fines.
Distribution and manufacturing cocaine
Individuals who are found guilty of delivering cocaine can serve a 180-day to 2-year jail time for delivering 1g. This offense also carries fines up to $10,000 as per the Texas Health & Safety Code 481.112. Persons found guilty of delivering 400g+ of cocaine risk a jail time of 15-99 years and/or fines up to $250,000.
Individuals found manufacturing cocaine (under 1g) in Texas risk fines not exceeding $10,000 and prison time ranging between 180 days and 2 years. Manufacturing 400g+ of cocaine can mean $250,000 in fines and/or 15-99 years in jail.
Marijuana possession and distribution in Texas
Although marijuana is legalized in several states in the U.S., Texas lawmakers haven’t made marijuana legal. Lawmakers still have harsh punishments for individuals found in possession of marijuana. The punishment depends largely on the quantity of marijuana in question as well as the charge.
Texas Health & Safety Code 481.120 holds that individuals who intentionally/knowingly have actual care/custody/control and management of marijuana are guilty of possessing marijuana. Like cocaine, penalties for possessing marijuana depend largely on the amount in question.
Class B misdemeanor: Possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana qualifies as a Class-B misdemeanor punishable with up to 180 days in jail (county jail) and/or fines not exceeding $2,000. Class B misdemeanor can also attract other punishments such as probation (community supervision). Possessing 2-4 ounces of marijuana translates to a year in jail and fines up to $4,000.
Felony: Any person caught with over 4 ounces of marijuana is guilty of committing a felony. Possessing 5g can result in a 180-day to 2-year jail time and a $10,000-fine. Marijuana ranging from 5-50 pounds can attract a $10,000 and a 2-10 year jail time. Possessing 50-2,000 pounds attracts a $10,000 fine and 2-20 year jail time. Marijuana possession involving 2,000+ pounds attracts fines up to $50,000 and a jail time of 5-99 years.
Cultivating & Transporting Marijuana
Growing marijuana plants or cultivating is considered as possession. The penalties vary depending on weight. Texas Health & Safety Code 481.121 discusses trafficking, delivery as well as sale or transfer of marijuana in Texas. As per the law, selling 7g or less qualifies as a misdemeanor that attracts fines up to $2,000 and a jail term not exceeding 180 days. Selling 7g – 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony that attracts up to $4,000 in fines and at most a year in jail. Selling marijuana to minors is also a felony with a 2-20 year jail time and fines not exceeding $20,000.
Important: Different jurisdictions have different priorities in regards to possessing low quantities of marijuana. In Houston, for instance, the district attorney doesn’t prosecute persons found with less than four ounces of marijuana. If a person is arrested with such amounts, charges will be dropped if they take a 4-hour drug education program.
Meth Possession In Texas
The Controlled Substances Act criminalizes the possession, distribution, and manufacture of meth (methamphetamine). Punishment depends on factors like amount and type, however, all meth charges usually attract over one year in jail.
Possessing less than 1g of meth in Texas can attract up to 2 years in prison and fines not exceeding $10,000.
Third degree felony: Possessing 1-3.99g of meth is considered a third-degree felony, which attracts 2-10 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
Second degree felony: Possessing 4-199g of meth is considered a second-degree felony, which attracts a 2-20 year jail time and up to $10,000 in fines.
First-degree felony: Possessing 200-399g of meth is considered a first-degree felony, which attracts a 5-99 year jail term and fines up to $10,000 in fines.
“Enhanced” first-degree felony: Possessing 400g or more is considered an “enhanced” first-degree felony that attracts 10-99 years in prison and fines not exceeding $10,000.
Manufacturing And Distributing Meth
Possession of meth has less severe punishment when compared to manufacturing and/or distributing meth. The punishment depends on the weight of the meth in question. Manufacturing or delivery attracts punishments ranging from 2-20 years in prison for quantities ranging from 1-4g. Persons found manufacturing and/or distributing 200g-400g of meth in Texas risk a 10-99 year jail time.
Texas also has strict punishment on possessing meth paraphernalia even if you aren’t caught using meth, manufacturing, or distributing. Meth paraphernalia includes, but isn’t limited to, bottle caps, hollowed-out pens, and needles. Possessing such items commonly used by meth users attracts fines not exceeding $500.
Possessing drugs in Texas attracts severe punishment. You could spend years in jail and/or be subjected to hefty fines for possessing small quantities of controlled substances or drugs. The same applies to manufacturing or distributing.
You need an experienced drug defense lawyer in Texas if you ever face drug-related charges. Drug possession charges can be challenged using many defenses surrounding how arrests were made as well as how the evidence was collected. You shouldn’t say anything or accept charges before consulting an experienced drug defense lawyer.