August 1, 2018
Even if you have never distributed or transported drugs in Texas, you can face drug trafficking charges in Texas under certain conditions. In this post, we’ll explain the factors that influence whether you are charged with drug possession or drug trafficking, and how a skilled attorney can help you fight your charges.
Factors That Can Lead to Texas Drug Trafficking Charges Instead of Possession Charges
When Texas law enforcement officers make an arrest on suspicion of drug possession or trafficking, these are the factors that could result in drug trafficking charges.
Significant quantity of drugs
Whether the drug is a single type of drug or a variety of different drugs, law enforcement officers can automatically bump the charges up to drug trafficking if the amount is larger than what is considered “reasonable” for one person’s use.
No prescriptions for drugs
If the drug in question is a prescription drug, law enforcement officers will check if a prescription for the drug exists and if it is correct for the arrested individual. A lack of prescriptions is often a sign of drug trafficking.
Large amount of cash or weapons
These are classic signs that drug trafficking is taking place and will be a red flag for law enforcement officers.
Packaging materials and scales
The presence of these items suggest that the individual is preparing drugs for sale and could easily result in drug trafficking charges.
Drug Trafficking Laws in Texas
Anyone who knowingly manufactures, delivers, or possesses a controlled substance with an intent to distribute can be charged with drug trafficking under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
This act outlines four penalty groups for different types of drugs, according to its medicinal value and level of addictive ability. Group I has the most severe penalties, and Group IV has the least severe penalties.
Here is a representation of typical drugs in each group.
Group I: cocaine, opioids, oxycodone, methamphetamines, methadone, marijuana
Group II: methaqualone, ecstasy, amphetamine
Group III: Valium, Xanax, LSD
Group IV: compounds or mixtures that contain limited amounts of controlled substances and may have medical use
Penalties for each group fall along these guidelines.
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
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
If a child was in your presence while drugs were being trafficked or manufactured, you could face additional sentencing such as minimum mandatory prison time.
As you can see, the penalties for drug trafficking in Texas are tough. A knowledgeable Texas drug crimes attorney can advise you on the best defenses to use against your charges based on your specific circumstances.
It’s Worth Fighting to Lower Texas Drug Trafficking Charges to Possession
A conviction for drug trafficking in Texas could lead to decades in prison and years on parole, which will seriously limit your opportunities for advancement in society. After a conviction, you may struggle to find quality housing, employment, or loans. Also, your right to bear arms or vote could be permanently revoked.
In short, it can permanently alter your life’s path for the worse.
If you believe that you should have been charged with possession rather than drug trafficking, there are ways to fight back and potentially get your charges reduced or even dismissed, but you have to act fast. By speaking with a skilled criminal attorney as soon as possible after your charges are filed, you can learn what you are facing and how to fight your charges.
About the Author:
The strength of Brian S. Eppes as a lawyer is in his unique and varied background. Like many other private attorneys, at one point he worked as a prosecutor. However, he also served in George W. Bush’s White House, has helped Texas legislators to write laws, and spent time at a tax and estate planning firm. These experiences have enabled him to look at cases in a different way than his peers and find creative solutions that benefit his clients.