Drug offenses in Texas are prohibited by the Texas Controlled Substances Act, and the penalties for these offenses can carry multiple years in prison. Different drugs are placed in different “Penalty Groups,” and the controlled substances placed in each Penalty Group are as follows: Penalty Group 1, Penalty Group 1-A, Penalty Group 2, Penalty Group 2-A, Penalty Group 3, and Penalty Group 4. Marijuana is treated separately and is not included in a Penalty Group.
Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance essentially refers to knowingly creating or cooking, selling, or intending to sell controlled substances. This is often referred to as “drug trafficking.” The potential penalties are usually based on the aggregate weight of the controlled substance and what Penalty Group the controlled substance is in. The punishments can sometimes be increased if a child younger than 18 years of age is present.
Possession of a Controlled Substance refers to knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance without a valid prescription or physician’s order. The potential penalties, as above, are usually based on the aggregate weight of the controlled substance and what Penalty Group the controlled substance is in.
It is critically important to note that the term “aggregate weight” includes both adulterants and dilutants. What this means is that a very small amount of controlled substance might be mixed with water or other material used to cut the purity of the drug. As an extreme example, if you put a few drops of LSD in a bottle of water, the law will treat the LSD and water together as a controlled substance and you will likely be charged with the entire weight of both.
Delivery of Marijuana includes not only selling marijuana, but also in some cases, giving marijuana away. Under the law, and as ridiculous as this may sound, a group of people passing a joint around are all potentially chargeable with delivery of marijuana. The potential penalties are based on the amount of marijuana delivered, covering less than 1/4 ounce all the way to more than 2000 pounds.
Possession of Marijuana means knowingly or intentionally possessing a “usable quantity” of marijuana. The potential penalties are based on the amount of marijuana delivered, covering less than 2 ounces all the way to more than 2000 pounds.
The Texas Controlled Substances Act also prohibits other activities such as delivering controlled substances or marijuana to a child, possession of “dangerous” drugs or abusable volatile chemicals, and possession of simulated controlled substances.
A conviction for any drug offense has a serious negative effect on a person’s future. In addition to fines and jail time, a person’s driver’s license will likely be suspended for 6 months or a year. Also, because background checks are so common, a drug conviction can affect a person’s life in a very negative way when it comes time to apply for a job, enroll in school, or even rent an apartment.
I frequently represent clients in more serious felony drug cases, involving methamphetamine, cocaine, oxycodone, heroin, and other drugs. As your attorney, I will assess the state’s evidence against you to see if the police or narcotics task force officers handled your search, seizure, and arrest correctly (they often botch it). I explore all possible defenses and will advise you whether, and how, they might apply in your case. I am also mindful, with certain clients, that drug and alcohol addictions may be present, and that my client may benefit from drug treatment. I firmly believe that prison helps no one, and that it tends to make problems worse. Even if a conviction can’t be avoided, prison can often be avoided.
If you or a family member have been arrested or charged with any drug-related offense, I can help you. Call me or email me directly from this page. Your initial consultation will be free of charge.