The drug possession laws of Texas are among the strictest in the country. A simple possession charge could result in penalties that include hefty fines, jail time, and a 6-month suspension of your driver’s license.
It’s also notable that federal penalties may be different from the state penalties we have here in Texas. Listed below are details involving the penalties for drug possession in Texas.
The 5 Common Types of Possession Charges
If you’ve been charged with possession of an illegal substance, the consequences vary from minor misdemeanors to life imprisonment. To know the specific circumstances surrounding your possession charges, it’s necessary to check the laws that pertain to the drug you were caught with.
5 Factors That Determine the Severity of your Drug Possession Charge
Not all possession charges are equal. They range greatly in terms of their severity and the resulting consequences. These 5 factors are critical in determining how serious your drug possession charge is:
1. What quantity of drugs were on you at the time of arrest?
2. Do you have prior convictions or offenses?
3. How much money was found with the drugs?
4. Was paraphernalia found with the drugs?
5. Where was the drug stored or concealed on your body?
Types of Possession: Physical vs Constructive
Another factor that can have a major effect on your charges is the type of possession you’ve been charged with.
The more incriminating of the 2 types is physical possession. If you’ve been charged with physical possession of a controlled substance that means it was found on your body, in your pockets, or otherwise within your physical control. Since this involves drugs that were found near your physical location, it is much more difficult to defend against physical possession charges.
Constructive possession of a drug means the drug was within your control to some degree, but ultimately wasn’t on you at the time of the arrest. From a legal standpoint, this means that there’s a lot more room to defend the case. Since the ownership of the drugs can be argued, constructive possession charges offer more options for forming a strong defense in court.
Marijuana Possession Charges
Marijuana is unlike other drugs and resides in a class of its own. While marijuana may be legal in some states, it still carries harsh penalties in Texas. There aren’t any programs for legal medical marijuana in Texas, so if you’re arrested with marijuana, it’s important to seek legal representation.
The most important factor considered for a marijuana possession charge is the amount you were caught with. Depending on how much you had in your possession at the time, your sentence can range from 180 days in jail to life in prison. Here are some of the primary differences between marijuana possession laws in the state of Texas:
Getting caught with less than 2oz of marijuana in Texas carries a penalty that can result in the following punishments:
– 180 Days in Jail
– Fine of $4000
– 6-month Loss of Drivers License
Penalties are significantly more severe for those who are arrested with over 2oz of marijuana. Possession of more than 2oz of marijuana is considered a Class A Misdemeanor, and carries the following punitive actions:
– Up to 1-year in jail
– Fine of $4000
If you’re caught with between 4oz and 2000 pounds of marijuana in Texas, penalties are much more serious. In amounts that exceed 4oz, marijuana is no longer a minor offense in Texas. Here are some of the severe penalties that can be levied on those facing marijuana possession charges of up to 2000 lbs:
– 2-10 Years Imprisonment
– Fines of $10,000 – $50,000
Penalty Group 1 – Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Heroin
If you possess less than a gram of cocaine, it counts as a felony and carries severe penalties. However, some counties in Texas offer the option of diversion programs. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these in your county of arrest, Phillip Linder can help you explore those options and try to reduce your sentence. Methamphetamine and heroin are also common examples of drugs that fall under Penalty Group 1.
|Amount of Cocaine||Offense Classification||Penalty|
|Less than 1 gram||State jail felony||Up to 2 years in prison and $10,000|
|1 gram – 3.99 grams||3rd degree felony||2 – 10 yrs. in prison and $10,000|
|4 – 199 grams||2nd degree felony||2 – 20 yrs. in prison and $10,000|
|200 – 399 grams||1st degree felony||5 – 99 yrs. in prison and $10,000|
|400 grams +||Enhanced 1st degree felony||10 – 99 yrs. in prison and $100,000|
Penalty Group 1A – LSD and Other Hallucinogens
Penalty Group 1A includes hallucinogens – LSD is the best known illegal drug in this category. The penalties vary depending on whether it’s your first offense and the quantity you were caught with.
Depending on the details surrounding your arrest, LSD possession could result in 2 years to life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Speak with drug crime attorney Phillip Linder to examine the details of your case and decide on a plan that is optimal for your specific situation.
Penalty Group 2 – PCP, MDMA, Mescaline, and Club Drugs
The primary drugs in Penalty Group 2 are designer drugs that are typically used in nightclubs. These include Molly (MDMA), ecstasy, PCP, mescaline, and some drugs made from THC extracts.
In addition to the 5 factors that influence the severity of drug possession mentioned above applies heavily here, your criminal record also plays a role in dictating your sentence.
Here is a guideline of what you can expect if caught with a small or maximum amount of drugs from Penalty Group 2:
- Less Than 1g of PCP, Molly, or Club Drugs: 2 Years in Jail
- Possession of 400g or more: Up to life in prison and fines of $50,000
Penalty Group 3 & 4 – Prescription Drugs Including Valium, Ritalin, and Oxycontin
Illegal possession of prescription drugs is a rapidly growing crime in Texas. If you’ve been busted for possessing prescription drugs, it’s important to act fast and find representation that knows the ins and outs of the drug laws in Texas.
If you’re caught with more than 200g of an illegal prescription drug, the maximum sentence may be given. Here are some of the penalties for possessing prescription drugs in Texas:
Minimum Penalty: One year in jail and $4000 fine
Maximum Penalty: 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines
Need an Experienced Drug Lawyer? Call Phillip A. Linder Today!
If you’ve been accused of drug possession, there is no time to waste. You need a lawyer who thoroughly understands the laws of Texas and Phillip Linder has over 25 years of criminal defense experience in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
He knows all of the key players in Texas law, from lawyers to investigators to optimize your chances for a positive outcome. Contact Phillip Linder by calling (214) 329-0376.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a simple possession go on your record?
An Order of Nondisclosure seals your record for the public domain. Only certain government agencies can view sealed records. A charge can be expunged if:
- You’re found not guilty
- The case was dismissed
- You’re acquitted
If convicted of a state crime, you have the option to apply for clemency, also known as a governor’s pardon. Federal crimes are pardoned by the President of the United States.
How can a felony be dropped to a misdemeanor?
If there were mistakes made by the arresting officer, some of the evidence may be deemed inadmissible in court, meaning it can’t be used against you. In this situation, your crime may be decreased from a felony to a misdemeanor.
If you aren’t sentenced to prison and have no prior convictions or expunged convictions, you may be able to seal your record and lessen your conviction to a misdemeanor. To qualify, you’ll need to be on “good behavior” throughout your probation. You’ll have to prove that you’re making positive changes in your life and staying out of trouble.
Having your charges knocked down to a misdemeanor is vital if you want to pursue certain careers, vote, or own a gun.
What are the pros and cons of a plea bargain?
- Reduction in charges – from a felony to a misdemeanor
- Reduced sentence
- The trial will be over
- You can’t appeal the conviction
- If you accept the plea bargain, you’re admitting guilt in most cases
- A jury won’t see the evidence and decide the outcome
- The judge doesn’t have to follow the plea bargain agreement
What is possession of a dangerous drug in Texas?
Possession of a dangerous drug can lead to fines and incarceration and can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation.
Possession of less than 28 grams of any combination of dangerous drugs is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. A conviction could lead to a maximum fine of $4,000, suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months, and up to one year in county jail.
A felony charge would include possession of 28 grams or more of any combination of dangerous drugs. The penalties vary depending on the amount of drugs you’re charged within your possession.
Clearly, marijuana possession is a serious matter in Texas, especially once it exceeds 4oz. If you’ve been charged with any amount of marijuana possession, seek legal help as soon as possible. Phillip Linder has tried thousands of drug-related cases, and knows exactly how to handle your case to achieve the best outcome.