Butler Law Firm – Texas Laws On Possession Of A Dangerous Drug
In Texas, “possession of a dangerous drug” is a charge that can be more complicated than it sounds. Like many states, Texas has its own drug laws that take precedence over federal ones. How does the state define “dangerous?” Does it include drug paraphernalia? Does weed count as “dangerous” in Texas?
These are questions that even a lot of born-and-raised Texans don’t know the answers to. Texas drug law presents a minefield of dangers to the unwary and uninformed. This is why it’s vitally important to study the state’s rules carefully. A serious drug violation in Texas comes with severe penalties. If you want to avoid long prison sentences and steep fines, read on.
What Does Texas Consider A “Dangerous Drug”?
As with so many parts of life, drug law is an area where the state of Texas likes to go its own way. Texas’s drug restrictions and its penalties for violating them differ from those used in other states as well as from federal law. Texas categorizes illegal drugs into 5 different penalty groups. (For in-depth information, see the Texas Edition of the Drug Classification Guide.)
Texas places the drugs it considers most dangerous into penalty group one. Substances in this group command the most serious penalties for possession. Penalties become slightly less severe as you descend down to the least-dangerous group, group 4. Texas sets aside an entire penalty group (group 5) for marijuana. (On a related note, read more here about the Houston area and synthetic weed.)
The applicable Texas laws governing the drugs in penalty group one are fairly clear about defining “dangerous.” The danger posed by group one drugs is considered severe. They are highly addictive and likely to cause significant long-term harm to users. Only medicinal use with a valid prescription or extremely small quantities can help you avoid the strict penalties Texas law imposes on possession of penalty group one drugs. (You should also keep in mind that penalties don’t exactly become trivial as you descend to the less-severe penalty groups, either!)
Texas’s penalty group one drugs include the following:
Being convicted of possessing any of these drugs in Texas is a felony conviction. Also, Texas laws are set so that individual drug possession charges can be tried separately, resulting in multiple felony convictions.
Although all of the penalties applied for a possession of a dangerous drug conviction in Texas are severe, the exact amount of jail time and the size of the fines imposed on you are going to vary based on the quantities involved. Most of these quantifications are based on weight. The range of penalties is wide and detailed. Possession of less than 1 gram enables the court to impose fines of up to $10,000 and jail sentences of up to six months. At the higher end of the scale, consider the potential penalty levied for a 400-gram conviction: A jail sentence of up to 99 years. Possession of more than 200 grams allows the court to fine you up to $100,000.
LSD is the one unusual case in Texas’s penalty group one drug roster. While other substances are assessed by weight in grams, LSD (because of its extremely low concentration) is measured in “units” instead. Don’t think that Texas is in any way lenient on people convicted of LSD possession. Penalties for the lowest level of possession – 20 units – start with jail sentences of up to 6 months and fines of up to $10,000. The severity of the penalties rises rapidly for possession of more units of LSD.
What About Possessing Xanax Or Other Prescription Drugs In Texas? Is It A Felony?
If you were paying close attention to the penalty group one drug list above, you may have noticed the presence of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. Those are prescription drugs. A lot of individuals get into serious trouble in Texas for inappropriate possession of prescription drugs.
At this point, you shouldn’t get too frightened. You’re not going to be arrested in Texas for following your doctor’s orders and filling a prescription for Oxycodone, for instance. Any attempt to circumvent the lawful prescription system, though, can get you into serious trouble. Possessing drugs like Oxycodone without a prescription, participating in the forgery of prescriptions, or distributing such drugs in Texas are all felonies. Being convicted of offenses like this can earn you serious jail sentences and fines that range from $10,000 to $100,000.
Xanax is another prescription drug that can cause trouble for you in Texas if you don’t have a valid prescription. Xanax is a benzodiazepine normally prescribed for anxiety and depression. It’s also frequently abused and used recreationally. Known on the street as sticks, footballs, bars, or handlebars, Xanax pills are considered a dangerous drug in penalty group 3 if you’re caught with them without a prescription.
Holding just 28 grams of Xanax (or less) counts as a 3rd-degree felony in Texas. Fines are substantial and jail sentences range from two to 10 years. Possession with the intent to distribute is considered a far more serious felony and the penalties are that much harsher. Punishment for possession of Xanax with intent to distribute can include lengthy state prison sentences, probation, and large fines.
Need Help With A Possession Of Dangerous Drugs Charge?
If you’ve been charged with any of the offenses described here, securing expert legal representation should be your top priority. A Texas district attorney is already building a case for conviction; you need to put your defense team in motion too.
Though The Butler Law Firm does not directly deal with drug charge cases, they are often seen with other DWI charges. We believe in the laws of our state, but sometimes the wrong people end up taking charges for things they didn’t do or weren’t responsible for. It’s always a good idea to acquaint yourself with the local laws so that you don’t run the risk of becoming a victim of them yourself. Visit our blog for more related articles. We also invite you to contact or call us today if you are in need of the best DWI Law Attorney in Houston.