Unsurprisingly, Texas has particularly harsh drug laws. The severity of the consequences of a drug offense chiefly depends on the type of drug and quantity of the drug possessed. Based on these factors, you will either face a misdemeanor or felony charge. Regardless, a drug offense in Texas impacts your present and future self. If you have been charged with a drug offense, first, contact our criminal lawyer Austin TX to mitigate the repercussions.
Why Substance & Quantity Matter
Texas treats particular controlled substances differently, principally because each substance has varying degrees of social ramifications. Therefore, Texas groups similarly harmful substances together to carry comparable penalties. Additionally, the penalties become more severe depending on the quantity possessed. In the eyes of the law, the drug quantity possessed indicates if an individual is a user or a dealer. So, if the substance quantity possessed resembles wholesale volume, the repercussions rise in response to an intent to distribute.
Along with the quantity possessed, additional factors inform the severity of the charge. These factors help determine if there is intent to deliver, including:
- past convictions &/or prior offenses
- possession of drug paraphernalia (specifically: scales)
Texas Drug Penalty Groups
Drug penalty groups are defined by the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The Act categorizes controlled substances into six groups known as Penalty Groups. However, marijuana is excluded and treated differently.
Before we break down the penalty groups, let’s review some legality first. Principally, receiving a drug offense charge is not a guarantee of a conviction. Our criminal lawyer Austin TX will endeavor to have the charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Additionally, defendants often overcome drug offense charges before a jury of their peers. All this to say, if you have been charged with a drug offense, do not despair. We’re here to help.
Penalty Group 1
This group consists of the most highly regulated drugs: opioids, opium & their derivatives. Including:
Possession of a Penalty Group 1 substance carries a felony charge. User quantities carry lighter fines (up to $10K) & jail time (anywhere between 180 days to 2 years). Dealer quantities carry heavier fines (up to $100K) and jail time (between 15 to 99 years).
Penalty Group 1-A
This group was sectioned out from Group 1 to categorize punishments specifically for LSD and its’ derivatives. Including:
- salt of an isomer
Typically, drug possession quantity is measured by weight. That is not the case for LSD. Instead, LSD is measured by “unit.” Why? LSD generally appears soaked into small pieces of paper. Ergo, weight doesn’t adequately reflect LSD quantity.
Like its predecessor, Penalty Group 1-A carries a felony charge. Again, user quantities carry lighter fines (up to $10K) & jail time (anywhere between 180 days to 2 years). However, dealer quantities carry fines up to $250K and jail time between 15 – 99 years.
Penalty Group 2
This group includes hallucinogenic drugs not included in Penalty Groups 1 or 1-A. Including:
- psychedelic mushrooms
Possession of a Penalty Group 2 substances carries a felony charge. User quantities, marked here as less than a gram, carry lighter fines (up to 10K) and jail time (between 180 days – 2 years). Dealer quantity, marked here as more than 400 grams, carry heavier fines (up to $50K) and jail time (between 5 and 99 years).
Penalty Group 2-A
This group categorizes the artificially produced chemical compounds that mimic cannabinoids. Including drugs commonly known as:
Possession of a Penalty Group 2-A substance that is less than a gram carries a Class B misdemeanor. Possession between 1 & 4 grams carries a Class A misdemeanor. Any quantity above 4 grams carries a felony charge. However, possession of fewer than 400 grams carries up to a year in county jail. Any possession exceeding 400 grams carries up to 2-20 years in state prison and a fine up to $10K.
Penalty Group 3
The remaining opioids and opiates not including in Penalty Group 1 comprise Penalty Group 3. Including:
- methylphenidate (aka ritalin)
- anabolic steroids
- prescription drugs with either a depressant or stimulant effect
Possession of user amounts carries a misdemeanor charge and with it, a possible fine of up to $4K and minor jail time, up to 1 year. Possession of more than 28 grams carries a felony charge and with that up to 99 years of jail time.
Penalty Group 4
This group comprises of various prescription medications and the compounds therein; generally, including prescription drugs with a high risk of abuse. Smaller quantities carry a misdemeanor charge, a fine up to $2K, and up to 6 months jail time. Any substance quantities exceeding 28 grams carry a felony charge, a fine up to $50K, and 2 – 99 years jail time.
Specialty Group: Marijuana
Distinctly, marijuana is in a class of its’ own. Possession of small quantities carries a misdemeanor charge. Unlike most states, in Texas possession of more than 1/4 ounce of marijuana carries a felony charge. Additionally, possession exceeding 2K pounds carries between 10-99 years of jail time and up to a $100K fine.
Additional Felony Drug Offenses
In addition to possessing a felony quantity of a controlled substance, felony drug offense charges include:
- drug trafficking
- drug cultivation
- drug manufacturing
- intent to sell (as mentioned, this goes hand in hand with possession of large quantities of controlled substances, specifically if there is no evidence that a sale has occurred)
- internet drug sales (including the sale of precursor chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines and the like)
Seek Representation Immediately
At AZ Law Firm, we don’t believe a drug offense should derail your entire life. Not only could you face jail time and significant fines, but you could also have difficulty maintaining housing &/or employment. Our criminal lawyer Austin TX will fight aggressively for your freedom and future. We will do all we can to avoid conviction, if possible.
To find out how we can help you, contact an Criminal Lawyer Austin TX at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your case in Texas. AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure the fairest possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our criminal lawyer Austin team will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.