In Texas, you can be charged with drug trafficking even if you have never transported or distributed drugs. Below, we’re going to detail how our state’s drug trafficking and possession laws, and what you can do to fight back against your charges.
Factors that Indicate Drug Trafficking
Law enforcement officers in Texas consider several different elements when making drug trafficking charges. Here are several elements that come into play:
- Large amount of a single drug
- Large amount of a variety of different drugs
- Lack of prescriptions for drugs
- A significant amount of cash
- A cache of weapons
- Weighing scales and packaging materials
The main element is an amount that is “unreasonable” for personal use. Depending on the drug, the amount will vary for what is considered personal use.
Texas Drug Trafficking Laws
The Texas Controlled Substances act prohibits anyone from knowingly manufacturing, delivering, or possessing a controlled substance with an intent to distribute.
Penalties are given out according to the type of drug in question as well as the penalty group. Texas has four different penalty groups, with penalties being the highest for Group I drugs. The more addictive a drug is, the harsher the penalties.
Here is a sampling of the kinds of drugs in each group.
Group I: opioids, cocaine, oxycodone, methadone, methamphetamines, marijuana
Group II: amphetamine, ecstasy, methaqualone
Group III: LSD, Xanax, Valium
Group IV: Mixtures or compounds that contain certain amounts of controlled substances and active medical use
Here is an overview of the penalties for each drug group.
Group III or IV
Less than 28 grams: State jail felony, up to two years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, or both
Between 28 and 200 grams: Second degree felony, between two and 20 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both
Between 200 and 400 grams: First degree felony, between five and 99 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine
Over 400 grams: First degree felony, between 10 and 99 years in prison and/or up to a $100,000 fine
Group I or II
Less than one gram: State jail felony, up to two years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, or both
Between one and four grams: Second degree felony, between two and 20 years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both
Between four and 400 grams of Group II or between four and 200 grams of Group I: First degree felony, between five and 99 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine
Over 400 grams of Group II or between 200 and 400 grams of Group I: Life felony, between 10 and 99 years in prison and/or up to a $100,000 fine
Over 400 grams of Group I: Life felony, between 15 and 99 years in prison and/or up to a $250,000 fine
As you can see, the penalties for drug possession and/or trafficking in Texas are harsh. To have the best chance of beating your charges, you need to speak with a knowledgeable criminal attorney as soon as possible.
Possible Defenses against Texas Drug Trafficking Charges
A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will know several strategies to use in fighting your charges. Depending on the details of your case, the defenses may include the following:
Lack of knowledge: You were not aware that the drugs were in your possession.
Mistake of fact: The substance is not drugs, but another element. The element may not be intended for human consumption.
Duress: Someone threatened you to possess the drugs, or harm could come to you or your family.
Your attorney may be able to broker a plea deal, in which you offer information that will lead to more arrests. In exchange for the information, you may receive lesser sentencing.
Seek Legal Assistance for Texas Drug Trafficking Charges
Whether you have been charged with drug possession or drug trafficking, a skilled attorney can help you navigate your case.
Any drug charge comes with serious penalties. There are also many potential enhancements to your charges, such as manufacturing a drug in a child’s presence. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner a solid defense can be built against your charges.
Conviction on a drug trafficking charge can lead to years – even decades – in prison, as well as other related penalties. Even after you get out, your opportunities to find employment, housing, and loans can be hampered. Your rights to vote or bear arms may be revoked.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can fight to get your charges reduced or dropped. Get in touch today for a free case evaluation.
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, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.