There is evidence that police in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are moving away from crimes related to marijuana and shifting focus to a more problematic drug: methamphetamines.
Recently, the Dallas police chief announced that he is in favor of officers not arresting those found in possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. Around the same time, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made a huge $45 million bust of methamphetamines in Dallas.
It’s no secret that methamphetamines are dangerous drugs. Their consequences extend from personal self-destruction to society at large. The methamphetamine laws throughout Texas reflect that gravity.
Possession of Methamphetamine
In Texas, methamphetamine (meth) is considered a highly addictive and dangerous drug. It does have its uses under medical supervision according to the law, but possession without a valid prescription can land you in some serious legal trouble.
Less Than 1 Gram
If you are found with this amount of meth, you can be convicted of a state felony and serve up to two years in prison. You may also be fined as much as $10,000.
More than One Gram, Less Than Four Grams
For this level of offense, you face third-degree felony charges. If convicted, you’re looking at 10 years behind bars and maximum fines of $10,000.
Over Four Grams, Less Than 200 Grams
This is a second-degree felony. It is punished by as much as 20 years in prison along with the possible $10,000 fine.
Over 200 grams But Less Than 400 Grams
This is a first-degree felony punishable by as much as 99 years behind bars, and, again, that $10,000 fine.
Possession of 400 Grams or More
This is an enhanced first-degree felony. It has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, but the sentence can climb up to 99 years. You may also be responsible for fines up to $100,000.
Trafficking Methamphetamines in Texas
If you are caught trafficking meth in Texas, you’ll reckon with serious charges. Even if you don’t mean to “traffick”, you can be charged with this crime if your appearance supports this charge. For instance, if you:
- Possess large amounts of meth
- Possess large amounts of various drugs
- Don’t have a prescription for those drugs, and
- Have a substantial amount of cash
Packing materials or scales are also elements that can qualify the charge as trafficking.
The penalties for trafficking depend on the type of drug. Methamphetamines are considered a group 1 drug in Texas, which means penalties change based on the amount in your possession.
For example, four grams of meth under suspicion of trafficking can amount to second-degree felony charges. The penalty can be as much as 20 years behind bars and fines up to $10,000. On the other hand, if you are found in possession of 400 or more grams of meth in suspected trafficking, then it’s a life felony. That means up to 99 years in prisons and fines as hefty as $250,000.
Manufacturing Meth In Texas
Drug manufacturing can have many definitions in court, and the production of methamphetamine, also known as cooking, counts. It’s also illegal to supply the chemical compounds needed to make meth.
“Manufacturing” is legally defined as preparing, processing, converting, compounding, or producing a controlled substance. If you’re directly or indirectly involved with the chemical synthesis required to produce a drug, then you can also be implicated. Even a simple action like re-labeling or labeling a container can be seen as participation in the manufacturing of drugs.
The maximum penalty for drug manufacturing in Texas is up to 99 years in prison, with fines as high as $250,000.
All of these crimes are subject to aggravating factors, which can enhance the penalties even further. Examples of aggravating factors include:
- Being a repeat offender
- Leading the execution of the crime
- Perpetrating a crime against a vulnerable victim, such as the elderly or minor
- Dealing drugs within a certain distance to a school
Being charged with drug trafficking is not the same as being convicted. There are ways to protect your rights and defend yourself, but it takes someone with a strong knowledge of Texas criminal law.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.