In Texas, offenses involving controlled substances are taken extremely seriously and carry a wide range of penalties including fines and prison sentences. Penalties for narcotics crimes typically depend on the type as well as the amount of the substance involved. If you have been arrested for a crime involving narcotics, it is critical that you contact a San Antonio defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Drug Crimes
Some of the most common controlled substance offenses committed in Bexar County and the surrounding areas include:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession of Cocaine
- Prescription Drug Charges
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Drug Trafficking
- Drug Manufacturing
Penalty Groups for Controlled Substances According to the Texas Health and Safety Code
In Texas, controlled substances are classified into penalty groups based on their potential for abuse, as well as their harmfulness. These penalty groups, which are outlined in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, help the courts determine the penalties for offenses involving illegal controlled substances. Some of the commonly used narcotics from each penalty group are as follows:
Penalty Group I – Cocaine, Codeine, Marijuana, Oxycodone, Opium, Methadone, Ketamine, and Methamphetamines (Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 481.102).
Penalty Group II – Mescaline, Ecstasy, Methaqualone, and Amphetamine (Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 481.103)
Penalty Group III – Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Xanax, Methylphenidate, and Valium (Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 481.104)
Penalty Group IV – Compounds or mixtures that contain limited amounts of narcotics, and one or more active medical ingredients. (Tex. Health and Safety Code Ann. § 481.105)
Potential Penalties for Drug Offenses in San Antonio
There are several factors that can influence the penalties associated with a controlled substance offense. Some of these factors include the defendant’s criminal history, whether or not anyone was killed or seriously injured during the commission of the crime, the type or amount of the drug, and whether or not a deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime.
When these factors are analyzed, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, an individual can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. The penalties for misdemeanor and felony offenses in Texas are as follows:
A life felony is punishable by between five to 99 years, or life in prison, and/or up to a $250,000 fine.
If an individual is convicted of a first-degree felony, he or she can be sentenced to between five and 99 years, or life in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
A second-degree felony is punishable by between two and 20 years behind bars, and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
Individuals who are convicted of a third-degree felony face between two and 10 years in prison, and/or can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
State jail felonies can lead to between 180 days to two years in jail, and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
If a person is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, he or she can be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days behind bars, and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
The Fourth Amendment Provides Drug Crimes Defense
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. If law enforcement violated the rights granted to you by the Fourth Amendment, any evidence that was collected will be deemed inadmissible.
Your San Antonio criminal defense lawyer can challenge evidence and have it thrown out, which could lead to the charges against you being reduced or dismissed.
Possible Collateral Consequences of a Drug Possession Charge
If you are convicted of drug possession in Texas, you may be facing fines, probation, or even jail time as part of your sentence issued by the court. While a sentence may have a negative effect on your finances and freedom, there are additional consequences you may face that are not set by the courts. “Collateral consequences” result from a guilty plea or conviction and are set out by statutes, not the courts. Sometimes, these collateral consequences may have an even greater effect on your life than hefty fines or even time behind bars.
Examples of Collateral Consequences
Some examples of collateral consequences that may stem from a drug possession guilty plea or conviction include the following:
- Difficulty getting hired for certain jobs that require a clean criminal record.
- Difficulty obtaining an apartment or housing
- The stigma of being labeled a “criminal”
- Disqualification for certain professional licenses.
- Temporary or permanent ineligibility to secure federal or state educational funding, such as loans, grants, or scholarships.
- Ineligibility for certain types of government assistance, such as food stamps, healthcare, or subsidized housing.
- Inability to lawfully own or possess a firearm for a certain period of time.
- For felony convictions, prohibition from voting, running for public office or serving on a jury.
- A permanent criminal record.
While you may complete probation or jail time, such limits on where you can work and assistance you can receive may linger long after.
Fortunately, there are often ways to get out from under some of the negative effects of collateral consequences. For example, an experienced attorney may be able to help get your case dismissed or deferred adjudication and then later sealed or expunged if eligible. An attorney may also be able to negotiate with prosecutors during your case to get felony charges amended down to a misdemeanor, so that you may completely avoid the collateral consequences aimed specifically at felons. These are only a few ways that an attorney can help you in this situation, and those available to you will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Providing You with Quality Defense Options for Narcotics Crimes in Texas
Contact The Parent Law Firm today to discuss the details surrounding your alleged narcotics offense in Boerne, San Antonio, Comfort, Bexar County, Kendall County, Bandera, Bergheim, Fair Oaks Ranch and the surrounding areas. As a devoted drug defense attorney, Dave Parent will analyze the evidence in your case and develop a defense strategy that is best suited to achieve your desired outcome.
Call The Parent Law Firm today at 210-819-4111 if you have been arrested for a drug crime in San Antonio or the surrounding areas. Your initial consultation is free, and it is the sooner you call the sooner we can begin fighting for your future.