FAQ About Drug Charges In Texas
Russ works with his clients to answer their questions and address their concerns and believes that it is important for everyone to understand the legal process. Knowing what to expect reduces the fear and stress involved with the criminal process.
Attorney Russ Hunt has more than two decades of experience in state and federal courts. Here are answers to some of the most common questions he answers.
How do I know if my charge is a misdemeanor or felony?
Drug crimes may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony depending upon factors such as:
- The nature of the controlled substance and its group classification
- The amount of the substance
- The manner in which the substance was packaged
- Whether paraphernalia, large sums of cash or evidence of sale (or intent to sell) is present
What are the penalties for a misdemeanor drug crime?
The penalties in state court vary significantly in terms of severity. Here are some guidelines:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.
- Cases involving 28 grams or less of a Group 3 or Group 4 substance are class A misdemeanors, with up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Cases involving less than 4 ounces of marijuana are misdemeanors: a “usable quantity” up to 2 ounces is a class B misdemeanor, with up to six months in jail and between 2 and 4 ounces is a class A misdemeanor.
What are the penalties for a felony drug crime?
Similar to misdemeanors, felony drug crimes in state court are classified depending on the amount and type of drugs involved, for example:
- The most serious drug charges – such as a drug possession case involving 8,000+ units of a substance classified in Group 1A (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, GHB, LSD) would be an enhanced first-degree felony. This type of conviction would carry a maximum sentence of 15 to 99 years in state prison plus a fine of up to $250,000.
- The least serious felony drug possession charges may carry mandatory probation sentences.
- Federal drug crimes are punished very differently:
- Simple possession of even hard drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine is a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail or five years’ probation.
- Federal laws have a multitude of different drug distribution-related charges, which can be punished very harshly.
- Federal sentencing is based on guidelines that require the judge to take into account factors like leadership, drug quantities and use of weapons, and typically results in harsh punishment.
- Whether you’re being charged in state or federal court, it’s imperative to trust your defense to an experienced drug defense lawyer.
What is Texas law on drug possession?
According to Texas law, drug possession is defined as being in “care, custody or control” of a drug.
Many different actions can be construed as possession, but the evidence still must link you to the drugs somehow. These actions will probably result in a drug charge:
- Physically holding the drug in your hand
- Having the drug in your pocket
- Keeping a drug in your purse or backpack
- Having control and access to an area where drugs are discovered
Remember though that there still has to be evidence of “affirmative links” to tie you to the drugs. Merely being present in a place where drugs may be located is not enough for conviction. Examples of these links are:
- Having the drugs in your wallet with your ID.
- Having the drugs in your backpack that also contains documents in your name.
- The drugs are in open view and within your reach.
- It is also possible for multiple people to possess the same drugs at the same time or for a person to be in “constructive possession” of drugs that someone else is holding for them.
Will I lose my driver’s license if I get a drug conviction?
Any individual who is convicted of any drug crime will lose their driver’s license for 180 days. In order to get their license back, they will be required to complete a 15-hour Drug Offender Education Program.
Also importantly, possession of drug paraphernalia carries a driver’s license suspension.
Can a criminal defense lawyer eliminate or decrease my drug charges?
Drug charges can range from a minor misdemeanor, fine-only offense all the way up to a serious felony with penalties that include jail or prison time, fines and probation. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, you can receive legal advice and possibly avoid conviction. An experienced attorney will defend you in court and provide you with options to ensure the best results.
A drug possession conviction can prevent future employment opportunities and interfere with many aspects of your life. Get the legal help you need to help you avoid the severe penalties associated with drug convictions.
Talk To Russ Soon
Russ can help you find other resources, like rehab or counseling programs, which may help convince the judge and prosecutor that you do not need to be prosecuted in the criminal justice system. Do not delay. Call Law Office of Russ Hunt, Jr., in Georgetown at 512-551-1047 for help or contact online.