Understanding Texas Drug Laws
Texas frowns on illegal drug use and Texas drug laws are some of the harshest in the country. Even simple possession of regulated substances can result in a criminal conviction and assessment of a harsh penalty, such as a fine, a prison or jail sentence, or both, depending on the facts of the incident. However, if you are facing a possession charge, there must be evidence that you knew that you were in possession of the illicit drug.
Texas Drug Law Penalty Groups
Drug laws in Texas classify the penalties for drug crime convictions into Penalty Groups. Each group addresses a different type of drug and the varying sentences of fines and jail terms for possessing that specific drug:
- Group 1 includes opioids such as Opium, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, PCP and GHB;
- Group 1A addresses only LSD;
- Group 2 includes hallucinogenic drugs such as Quaaludes, amphetamines, synthetic THC and mescaline;
- Group 2A includes chemical compounds that mimic cannabinoids (marijuana);
- Group 3 includes stimulants that can be legally prescribed but are illegal when used by a person who does not have a prescription. These include Ritalin, Xanax, Klonopin, barbiturates and some forms of anabolic steroids;
- Group 4 includes substances that contain limited amounts of narcotics such as codeine or morphine.
- Marijuana has its own separate listing, as do manufactured drugs that are created to mimic the effects of illegal drugs.
When Drug Law Penalties Are Enhanced
When the crime includes additional, specified circumstances, the penalties are often made more severe:
- When a child is present in any transaction that includes illegal drugs, including using a child within the illegal activity, or delivering these drugs to a child;
- When the crime happens within 1,000 feet of a “drug-free” zone. A drug-free zone exists within 1,000 feet of a school (including a university), playgrounds, youth centers, video arcades, and even swimming pools. Illegal drug activities within a drug-free zone can add five years to the sentence assessed for the possession or sale of the drug, and
- When someone is seriously injured or dies because of using a controlled substance.
Texas also makes distinctions among possessing, selling and manufacturing illegal drugs. Each of these separate acts–possessing, selling and making illegal drugs–is a different crime. Conviction of more than one crime often results in harsher penalties, such as higher fines or longer jail or prison terms. You can find the full listing of the penalties for possession, manufacture and sale of illegal drugs in the Texas Health and Safety Code at Title 6, Food, Drugs, Alcohol and Hazardous Substances.
When you are charged with the possession of an illegal substance it is important to seek the advice of an attorney. The criminal defense team of Ramos & Del Cueto is experienced with Texas drug laws and defending those who have been charged with an illegal substance offense. If you’ve been arrested or charged under Texas drug law, contact us today to see what our expert attorneys can do for you.