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Houston Possession of a Controlled Substance Attorney

Drug Classifications in Texas

Substance and drug possession penalties in Texas are notoriously severe. A conviction will certainly mean probation (depending on the number of prior convictions), prison, heavy fines, loss of driver’s license, and the right to carry a gun. Texas has not decriminalized marijuana and classifies all drugs as controlled dangerous substances (CDS). The definition of CDS in Texas extends to the molecules used to create synthetic drugs like MDMA.

PCP, MDMA, and resin cannabis (e.g., oil or wax) are in Group 2. Group 1A is LSD, and Group 1 drugs contain the most addictive and destructive drugs like prescription opiates, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Misdemeanor and felony drug charges:

  • Possessing less than 28 grams or less of Group 3 and 4 drugs such as motofen, pryovalerone, valium, xanax, and other prescription drugs is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Possession of more than 28 grams of Group 3 and 4 drugs, or any amount of Group 2, 1A, or 1 drugs is automatically charged as a felony.

It is important to note that marijuana is in its own category and not considered a “dangerous” drug in the state of Texas. Marijuana can still carry harsh penalties depending on the county of arrest and the amount carried.

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance in Texas, Call (713) 448-0303 to speak with Houston criminal defense attorney Samuel M. Gardner.

Texas Drug Possession Penalties

Possession is charged if you are found with what the police call constructive possession. Constructive possession means the defendant could easily access the substances found by the police at the time of arrest. Keeping marijuana in a jar on a shelf in your living room or in a baggie in your sock is considered constructive possession.

Being convicted of a possession misdemeanor automatically suspends your license for up to six months. Having drug paraphernalia on your person, such as scales, bongs, or storage containers, can be leveraged against the defendant as a separate Class C misdemeanor. If the court can prove the defendant’s intent to gift or sell paraphernalia the charge is a Class A misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors carry fines up to $500, and a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.

Texas also has some creative ways of prosecuting felony drug dealers charged with possession, including:

  • Tax Evasion – State laws allow for tax collection on the exchange of illegal drugs. Dealers who possess a certain amount of a drug can be charged with possession and tax evasion.
  • Asset Forfeiture – Any possession charges can result in the state attempting to take all assets that might have assisted in drug exchanges. The state can take your house, motor vehicle, clothing – even furniture. Basically, if you can hide or move illegal substances in the object, the state has a right to remove that from your possession. This is a civil action, which means the state can begin repossession whether or not the defendant is found guilty.

If you have a prescription for your drugs, you are automatically protected under Texas state law. A skilled criminal defense attorney can sometimes have the charges dismissed if the defendant agrees to undergo rehabilitation classes, community service, and in some cases, probation. If the defendant is able to avoid a conviction, they are able to keep their driver’s license and an unblemished record.

First Time Offenders & Rehabilitation

For first time offenders caught with a small amount of drugs (less than 200 grams) in a group of comparatively less severity might mean serving no jail time and minimal fines. Many jurisdictions in the state of Texas have special programs for defendants being charged with minor possession that allows for probation and a special set of rehabilitation rules aimed at helping drug offenders.

Counties with higher populations (greater than 200,000) must establish a special drug court program to provide treatment for those with an addictive problem. Individuals charged with dealing drugs are not elligible for these programs.

Courts are not required to give probation to offenders who have violated any prior probation period or if the defendant has been found guilty of a prior felony. It is at the judge’s discretion, and to a lesser extent the negotiating skills of your attorney, whether or not you are provided with drug rehabilitation and probation in lieu of jail time.

Experienced Possession Legal Counsel

For the state to prove possession, the prosecution is tasked with proving the defendant had control or care over the substance in question and the accused knew the substance they had in their possession is illegal.

When charged with possession, your defense attorney will most likely attempt to address one of these two stipulations:

  • Burden of proof – Your lawyer may choose to decrease the chances that prosecution from meeting their burden of proof. Sometimes your lawyer can enter a plea agreement to avoid conviction altogether.
  • Deferred adjudication – Deferred adjudication means the judge agrees to hold sentencing until the defendant has had a chance to fulfill certain requirements. These requirements usually include the typical rehabilitation options like probation with random chemical testing, community service, and/or attendance of chemical addiction classes. At the end of the agreed period, the judge may pass a lighter sentence.

It’s wise to seek counsel to represent you that has experience with illegal substance cases in your particular county. For instance, in and around Austin and Travis County, dangerous drug misdemeanors write field-release citations for low-weight THC possession instead of making an arrest. Kerrville, Kerr, Fredericksburg, some of the more rural counties, and many in southwest Texas tend to be stricter, often serving maximum punishments for marijuana possession.

Call (713) 448-0303 today to arrange a meeting with our Houston drug crime lawyer Samuel M. Gardner.


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