Drug laws can be enforced strictly at both the state and federal levels. It’s also true that sometimes circumstances can result in innocent people being swept up into drug arrests and others being charged with more severe crimes than is appropriate. When that happens, a Houston drug crime lawyer has to be on hand to help make things right.
Cory Roth Law Office believes in the principle of innocence until proven guilty, and we’ll fight with all the legal tools available to us on behalf of our clients. Our Houston office serves people across Fort Bend County and Harris County. Call today at (832)-400-4133 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
TYPES OF DRUG CHARGES IN TEXAS
Drug offenses could be as basic as being caught with marijuana on one’s person or as serious as running an international heroin cartel. At these extremes, and everywhere else in between, drug charges in Texas will generally fall into three categories:
Possession: As the name of the charge suggests, this means the defendant had the drugs anywhere from on their person to within reaching distance to under their control. Another facet of possession is the issue of intent to sell. Possession over and above certain quantities can be seen as an indicator that the defendant had the drugs for the purpose of selling them. Intent to sell can bring more serious charges.
Manufacturing: The making of illegal drugs is also a crime, regardless of whether one consumes or profits from the product. Furthermore, it is illegal to sell the chemicals and equipment necessary to make the drugs. However, in the latter case, it’s incumbent on the prosecution to prove the defendant knew the reason for the purchase.
Trafficking: The phrase “trafficking” can bring to mind images of a worldwide ring, and that is certainly one possible reason for a trafficking charge. But in reality, trafficking covers all sales of illegal drugs, right down to the street dealer who works in a single neighborhood.
Depending on the specific drugs involved, the quantities, and other circumstances, drug charges can be either felonies or misdemeanors. But it should be noted that even misdemeanor offenses can bring jail time if convicted.
The consequences of a conviction are serious, but a sharp and vigorous Harris County drug crimes lawyer has several avenues of defense available. Call Cory Roth Law Office at (832)-400-4133 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
PENALTIES FOR DRUG CRIMES IN TEXAS
In Texas, drug offenses are addressed with a combination of stringent penalties and rehabilitative measures, emphasizing the state’s dedication to public safety. Understanding the intricacies of these penalties is crucial for both residents and visitors.
- For drug possession, the classification of the offense hinges largely on the type and quantity of the illegal substance. Possession of a small amount of marijuana (under 2 ounces) is typically a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000. However, possessing larger quantities or harder substances like methamphetamine, cocaine, or opioids can escalate the charge to a felony. Felony possession can lead to substantial fines and prison sentences ranging from 180 days to life, particularly for large quantities or if it’s deemed the individual intended to distribute.
- Distribution or trafficking is viewed with even more gravity. Distributing even a small amount of drugs can result in felony charges. The penalties intensify if the distribution occurs within a certain proximity to schools, youth centers, or public housing. Trafficking in larger quantities or being involved in organized illegal drug operations can result in a lifetime prison sentence without parole, hefty fines, and even forfeiture of assets.
- Drug manufacturing is severely penalized. Operating a drug lab or cultivating illicit substances, especially in large volumes, can lead to extensive prison sentences, often with mandatory minimums and substantial fines.
Given Texas’s stringent stance on drug offenses, individuals facing such charges must prioritize securing experienced legal representation to advocate for their rights, challenge evidence, and explore potential mitigation or alternative sentencing options.
DRUG CLASSIFICATIONS IN TEXAS: UNDERSTANDING PENALTY GROUPS
In Texas, controlled substances are systematically categorized into distinct penalty groups, each reflecting the substance’s potential for abuse, medical utility, and associated risks. These classifications are the foundation for determining the severity of penalties for possession, distribution, or manufacturing offenses. Here’s a breakdown of Texas’ drug classifications:
- Penalty Group 1 (PG1):
- Examples: Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone (in amounts greater than 300 milligrams), and ketamine.
- Penalties: Possession of even a small amount can lead to state jail felony charges. Larger quantities or specific circumstances can escalate the offense to higher felony degrees with increased fines and longer prison sentences.
- Penalty Group 1-A (PG1-A):
- Examples: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
- Penalties: LSD is categorized separately due to its hallucinogenic properties. Possession, distribution, or manufacturing offenses related to LSD carry distinct penalties, often more severe than other substances in PG1.
- Penalty Group 2 (PG2):
- Examples: Ecstasy (MDMA), mescaline, and psilocybin (found in certain mushrooms).
- Penalties: Similar to PG1, possession, distribution, or manufacturing offenses involving PG2 substances result in felony charges. The severity varies based on the quantity and specific circumstances.
- Penalty Group 2-A (PG2-A):
- Examples: Synthetic cannabinoids (often referred to as synthetic marijuana or K2/Spice).
- Penalties: Recognized for their unpredictable and potentially dangerous effects, synthetic cannabinoids are categorized separately. Offenses involving PG2-A substances can lead to felony charges with significant penalties.
- Penalty Group 3 (PG3):
- Examples: Anabolic steroids, certain depressants, and certain stimulants.
- Penalties: While still categorized as felonies, offenses involving PG3 substances generally carry lesser penalties than PG1 or PG2. However, the exact consequences depend on the substance and quantity involved.
- Penalty Group 4 (PG4):
- Examples: Compounds containing limited amounts of narcotics, certain prescription medications, and chemical compounds not classified in other penalty groups.
- Penalties: PG4 substances typically result in the least severe penalties among the penalty groups. However, it’s essential to note that improper possession, distribution, or manufacturing can still lead to felony charges.
HOW A HOUSTON DRUG CRIME ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Navigating the legal complexities surrounding drug offenses in Houston requires expertise, experience, and a deep understanding of both state and federal laws. If you or a loved one are facing drug charges, a seasoned Houston drug crimes lawyer from Cory Roth Law Office can serve as a vital ally and offer the trial-tested advocacy you need to maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your case.
Here are just a few of the ways an attorney can be instrumental:
- Strategic Defense Crafting: A proficient Houston drug crimes attorney will meticulously analyze the circumstances surrounding your arrest, scrutinize evidence, and identify any procedural errors or rights violations that could potentially lead to reduced charges or even case dismissal.
- Knowledge of Local Courts: Familiarity with local Houston courts, judges, and prosecutors provides a strategic advantage. A seasoned criminal defense attorney can anticipate potential challenges and tailor a defense strategy tailored to the specific nuances of the Houston judicial system.
- Negotiation Skills: In many instances, especially for first-time offenders or those charged with lesser offenses, negotiating plea deals or alternative sentencing options can be beneficial. A skilled attorney can engage in plea bargaining, potentially securing reduced charges or alternative rehabilitation programs instead of incarceration.
- Protection of Rights: Every individual has rights protected by the Constitution. An experienced lawyer will ensure that these rights are upheld throughout the legal process, safeguarding you from potential abuses or unjust treatment.
- Guidance and Support: Facing drug charges can be overwhelming and stressful. A dedicated lawyer can provide legal representation and guidance, support, and clarity, helping you make informed decisions every step of the way.
In essence, while facing drug-related charges is daunting, enlisting the expertise of a proficient drug crime lawyer can often be the difference between a favorable outcome and severe penalties. Their knowledge, advocacy, and commitment to your case can pave the way for a more hopeful future.
WHAT TO DO IF ARRESTED FOR A DRUG CRIME IN TEXAS
Facing an arrest, especially for a drug-related offense, can be a disorienting and distressing experience. However, how you respond in the immediate aftermath can significantly impact the trajectory of your case. If arrested for a drug crime in Texas, consider the following steps:
- Remain Calm and Compliant: Feeling anxious or overwhelmed is natural, but maintaining composure is essential. Avoid arguing with law enforcement or attempting to flee, as this can exacerbate your situation and lead to additional charges.
- Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent: You are not obligated to answer questions or provide statements without an attorney present. Politely inform officers that you wish to speak with a lawyer before discussing anything further.
- Do Not Consent to Searches: Refrain from consenting to any searches of your person, vehicle, or property without a warrant. Assert your rights respectfully but firmly. Remember, anything found during an illegal search may be deemed inadmissible in court.
- Document the Arrest: If possible, mentally note the circumstances surrounding your arrest, including the officers involved, the location, and any interactions. This information can be crucial for your defense and may help identify any procedural errors or rights violations.
- Seek Legal Representation Immediately: Contact a knowledgeable drug crime attorney in Texas as soon as feasible. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and build a robust defense strategy tailored to your circumstances.
- Avoid Discussing the Case: Refrain from discussing details of your case, especially on social media or with acquaintances. Anything you say can potentially be used against you. Trust your attorney to handle communications and advocate on your behalf.
- Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights during arrest and detention. In addition to the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel, understand your rights regarding bail, court appearances, and potential plea negotiations.
- Gather Necessary Documentation: Gather any relevant documentation if you have prescriptions or legitimate reasons for possessing a controlled substance. This information can support your defense and clarify misunderstandings regarding the nature of the substances involved.
Navigating an arrest for a drug crime in Texas requires diligence, knowledge, and proactive measures. By taking informed steps and securing competent legal representation, you can better navigate the complexities of the legal system and work toward a favorable resolution.
FAQs ON DRUG CRIMES IN TEXAS
- How much does a drug crimes lawyer cost?
- The cost of hiring a drug crimes lawyer in Texas can vary based on several factors, including the attorney’s experience, the complexity of the case, and the potential duration of the legal proceedings. It’s essential to discuss fees, payment plans, and potential additional costs during your initial consultation.
- Can a drug conviction be expunged in Texas?
- In Texas, certain drug convictions may be eligible for expunction, allowing the individual to deny or conceal the offense in most circumstances legally. Eligibility criteria, such as completion of probation or deferred adjudication, must be met. However, not all drug convictions are eligible for expungement, so consult with a legal professional regarding specific circumstances.
- Will I lose my driver’s license if convicted of a drug offense in Texas?
- A drug conviction in Texas can lead to the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, especially if the offense involved drug-related driving violations or if mandated by sentencing. The duration and conditions of the suspension can vary based on the nature of the offense and prior convictions.
- What diversionary programs or alternative sentencing options are available in Texas?
- Texas offers various diversionary programs and alternative sentencing options for certain drug offenders, emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration. Programs such as drug courts, pretrial diversion, and probation may be available, providing offenders with opportunities for treatment, education, and community service in lieu of traditional sentencing.
- How will a prior drug conviction affect the outcome of my current case?
- A conviction for a prior drug offense can significantly impact the outcome of your current case, potentially leading to enhanced penalties, increased fines, or mandatory minimum sentences. Additionally, prior convictions may influence plea negotiations, sentencing recommendations, and perceptions of the defendant’s credibility.
- What should I expect during the initial consultation with a Houston drug crimes lawyer?
- During the initial consultation, a Houston drug crimes attorney will assess the details of your case, discuss potential defenses, and provide an overview of the legal process. Expect a candid discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of your case, potential outcomes, and the attorney’s approach to representing your interests. This meeting is an opportunity to ask questions, clarify your situation, and determine if the attorney fits your needs.
DON’T LET A DRUG OFFENSE RUIN YOUR FUTURE
At Cory Roth Law Office, we stand committed to providing diligent, personalized representation to individuals confronting drug offenses in Houston. With a deep understanding of criminal law, a steadfast dedication to protecting our clients’ rights, and a track record of favorable outcomes, we are your trusted allies in pursuing justice. Facing drug-related charges can be daunting, but with the right legal team by your side, you’re not alone. Trust in our experience, and let us guide you through every step of the legal journey. Your future and reputation deserve nothing less than the best defense.