Texas is known to have strict illegal controlled substance and narcotics drug possession laws. Just for conviction of possession of any drug, you could face jail time, probation, fines, and a 6 month loss of your driver’s license.
The following information is merely general information about possible punishments for, possession, manufacture and delivery of controlled substances in Texas. The specifics of any given case and circumstance are always complicated and require interpretation to truly understand what is likely to happen to you.
Although most violations are listed under the Texas Penal Code, The Texas Controlled Substances Act, Health and Safety Code, provide for the finer points of law to be applied in cases of possession of illegal drugs. But it is nearly impossible for the average person to interpret these and understand how they are commonly applied in Texas courtrooms.
Please contact us for a free consultation with a local defense attorney for your best opportunity to protect yourself from the serious consequences of drug possession offenses and charges faced in Texas.
Simple Drug Possession in Texas
Texas state law imposes penalties that range from a relatively minor misdemeanor to severe felony charges. Depending on certain factors or circumstances charges could be drug possession or drug possession with intent to distribute.
Determining factors are:
- how the drug was concealed or stored
- possession of drug with paraphernalia (scale)
- drugs found with large amount of money
- past convictions
As you can tell from the specific statutes below, the penalties can be serious. If you find yourself facing drug possession charges in Texas, it is in your best interests to get advice from a lawyer as soon as possible.
Marijuana Possession Penalties
Considered as a class on it’s own, possession of Marijuana has it’s own penalties that are not the same as other drugs or substances.
The most common marijuana possession offense of under 2oz have a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail. However, in most situations, you can negotiate a deal for probation in exchange for a drug treatment program, and successful completion of such a program can result in the charges being dropped.
If you are accused of being in possession of more than 2oz, Texas marijuana penalties range from 180 days in jail up to 20 years in prison with fines of up to $10,000.00. However, the illegal possession of more than 2,000 pounds of Marijuana may result in a life sentence. See my Texas marijuana possession laws page for more details.
Possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Methampethamine
Known in Texas under “Penalty Group 1”, minimum penalties could be two years in jail and $10,000.00 fine but it may run up to a maximum of life imprisonment for possession of 400 grams or more.
Possession of LSD
Held under Penalty Group 1A, hallucinogens like LSD could result a penalty of two years to life imprisonment with fines imposed of up to $250,000.00.
Possession of Ecstasy, PCP, Mescaline (Group 2)
Penalty Group 2 under Texas drug laws includes ecstasy, mescaline, and PCP. Ecstasy in particular is a common club drug and is regularly charged in Texas courts.
Hashish and forms of cannabis with resinous or extracted THC are also in this felony category.
These drugs carry two-year jail sentences for less than one gram, and maximum sentences of life imprisonment and fines up to $50,000 for 400 grams or more.
Possession of Valium, Ritalin, various chemical compounds
The final category (Penalty Groups 3 and 4) includes common prescription drugs, and could result in minimums of one year in jail and fines of about $4000; maximum sentences are given for amounts over 200 grams and are in the area of 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Controlled Substances Delivery & Manufacture (Drug) Laws in Texas
The punishment for manufacture and delivery of controlled substances vary depending on the type of drug and the quantity involved in the offense.
Texas drug laws (The Texas Penal Code and Texas health and safety code) divides the offenses and punishment in four penalty groups, by drug classification.
Penalties for felony drug offenses include imprisonment of up to ninety nine year in jail and fines of up to $250,000.00.
Narcotics are made or derived synthetically from opium. Examples include opium, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and many others.
Depressant are drugs that slows the functions of the body. Medically taken to calm people down or help a person to sleep.
Examples are barbiturates, inhalants and Chloral Hydrate
Tend to increase alertness and physical activity. Amphetamines are the most common of these “uppers” and cocaine.
These drugs alter perception (visual), mood and thought. Examples are LSD, PCP and Marijuana. (See our Texas Marijuana Laws page.)
Public Intoxication and Driving While Intoxicated in Texas
Under Texas law, you can be charged with public “drunkenness” (intoxication) for being “high” in public.
Under the Texas Penal Code the term intoxication is deemed not only to have its general meaning of intoxication by alcohol. It also means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance or drug”.
Under the Texas Penal Code, It is an offense for a person to appear in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that such appearance may cause danger to him or to another unless such intoxication may be explained to have been administered for therapeutic treatment and such other medical reasons.
Appearing in public while intoxicated is a Class C misdemeanor.
DWI Drugs in Texas
A DWI is the same if you are intoxicated impaired by drugs as with alcohol.
Operating a motor vehicle (or a watercraft, or an airplane) while intoxicated (DWI) is a Class B misdemeanor under Texas Law with a minimum term of seventy-two (72) hours of confinement or when an open container was found in the vehicle, a minimum if six (6) of confinement.
Driving (with a Child) while intoxicated
When a driver is found to be with a child while driving in a public place and in a state of intoxication, the offense committed is a state jail felony.
Texas Drug Possession Defense Strategies
Some Texas counties have diversion programs where first time offenders may be eligible to get charges dropped in exchange for completing the program. Program requirements may include drug treatment and education programs, community service, or other alternative sentencing as determined by a judge.
If a diversion program is successfully completed, charges are voided, and it is as if you were never arrested, which keeps your criminal record clean.