What are the potential penalties for drug possession in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Drug possession charges carry major consequences in Texas that vary based on several factors. Understanding these penalties is helpful for anyone facing such charges or wanting to avoid them.

In many cases, the severity of the penalties can depend on the type and amount of the controlled substance.

Factors influencing penalties

Several factors influence the severity of penalties for drug possession. These include the type of drug, the amount in possession and any previous criminal history. Penalties can range from minor fines to lengthy prison sentences. For example, possessing a small amount of marijuana may result in a misdemeanor charge. Possessing larger quantities of drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine can lead to felony charges.

Penalties for different drug types

The type of drug plays a major role in determining the penalties. Controlled substances fall into different penalty groups, each with specific penalties. Penalty Group 1 includes drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, which carry the most severe penalties. Possession of these drugs can result in long prison sentences and hefty fines. For instance, possessing less than one gram can lead to up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Penalty Group 2 covers drugs like ecstasy and PCP. Penalties for possession range from two years in state jail for smaller amounts to life imprisonment for larger quantities. Penalty Group 3 includes drugs with a lower potential for abuse, such as certain prescription medications. For these substances, penalties range from a year in jail for small amounts to 20 years in prison for larger quantities. Penalty Group 4 includes drugs with medical uses that carry a lower risk of abuse. Penalties can still be severe, with up to two years in state jail for small amounts and up to 20 years for larger amounts.

Enhancements and aggravating factors

Certain circumstances can enhance the penalties for drug possession. These include possessing drugs in a drug-free zone, such as near schools or parks, or having a prior conviction. Enhancements can lead to longer prison sentences and higher fines. If drugs are present alongside weapons or evidence of intent to distribute, penalties can also increase.

Knowing the potential consequences of drug possession can help people make informed decisions and avoid actions that could result in harsh penalties.

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