The state of Texas is known for having some of the harshest drug possession laws. Many drug possession charges are felony charges, resulting in over a year of jail time if convicted. The penalties for drug possession charges depend on several factors, including the type and quantity of controlled substances the defendant was allegedly found to possess.
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No matter what, being charged with drug possession in Texas can have a negative impact on your life. If convicted, you could be facing jail time, fines, and you will have a criminal record.
Understanding How Texas Law Classifies Drug Charges
When it comes to the penalties for drug possession charges, the law can be complicated. Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, a conviction, and even sometimes an arrest for possession of a controlled substance, can be subject to strict criminal penalties. The penalties vary widely and will depend on the unique factors in your case. The two most important factors will be the specific controlled substance you allegedly were in possession of. To determine the penalties, prosecutors will look to see what classification that drug falls under and the amount of the substance of which you were allegedly in possession.
In Texas, there are four penalty groups when it comes to drug crimes. These penalty groups are numbered from 1 to 4, group 1 being the most serious and severe drugs. As the number increases to 4, the drugs become less addictive and dangerous. Every drug possession charge is unique, so regardless of what penalty group the controlled substance in your case falls under, the penalties will be serious. Even if you were charged with possession of a group one substance, you would be facing jail time. The greater the weight of the controlled substance, the more severe the penalty.
Penalty Group 1
As mentioned above, the drugs included in penalty group one are the most dangerous and the most heavily regulated under Texas law. The drugs in Penalty Group 1 are among the most dangerous and addictive and include the following:
- Opioids, including painkillers like hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone
When a defendant is caught with less than one gram of a penalty group 1 drug, they will face six months to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Being caught with 124 grams is a third-degree felony that carries two to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Being in possession of four to 200 grams of a penalty one substance will result in a second-degree felony with a prison sentence between two and 20 years and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Possession of 200 to 400 grams is a first-degree felony with a penalty of five to 99 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Penalty Group 2
Penalty group 2 substances are less dangerous than penalty group one, but they are still highly addictive and potentially dangerous. Controlled substances in penalty group 2 include ecstasy, PCP, psychedelic mushrooms, and amphetamines. Possession of less than a gram of a penalty to controlled substance results in six months to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possession of between one and four grams is a third-degree felony that results in two to 10 years of prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of four to 400 grams is a second-degree felony carrying a prison sentence between two and 20 years. Finally, possession of over 400 grams is a first-degree felony that carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years and a fine not to exceed $50,000.
Penalty Group 3
Penalty group 3 includes substances that have a stimulant or depressant effect. Substances in group three include benzodiazepines, Valium, anabolic steroids, and Methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin). Possession of under 28 grams is considered a Class A misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in county jail and a fine up to $4,000. Possession of 28 to 200 grams is a third-degree felony that carries a two to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of over 400 is a first-degree felony that carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years and a fine of up to $50,000.
Penalty Group 4
Penalty group 4 comprises a wide range of controlled prescription medications that have the potential to be abused. Many opioid derivatives that are covered by penalty group 1 are included in penalty group 4. The penalties for possession of a penalty group for substance range from up to six months in jail to a life sentence for possession of over 400 grams.
Special Category: Marijuana Drug Possession
Many states have begun permitting the use of recreational marijuana, but Texas has not. In Texas, being in possession of any amount of marijuana will result in criminal charges. Marijuana is handled in a distinct category apart from other penalty groups, however. In most cases, if you are caught with possession of a small amount of marijuana, you will receive misdemeanor charges. While other states may be prosecuting marijuana possession charges less often, Texas has not followed suit. In many cases, prosecutors still pursue criminal drug possession charges for small amounts of marijuana in Texas.
Discuss Your Drug Possession Charges With an Experienced Fort Worth Attorney
If you have been charged with drug possession in Fort Worth, Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
A conviction of drug possession can result in jail time, fines, a permanent criminal record, and difficulty finding employment and housing in the future.