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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
A major portion of law enforcement in El Paso is dedicated to combating the illegal drug trade. While many people imagine that this includes people accused of selling drugs, in reality, these investigations often result in an arrest for simple possession of any drug listed under the Texas Controlled Substance Act.
The penalties for any conviction under the Controlled Substance Act are harsh. Even having a small amount of marijuana under two ounces is a criminal offense that can create a criminal record and may result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days. Other drug offenses are serious felonies that can carry up to a life sentence.
An El Paso drug lawyer could help you regardless of the nature of the charges you are facing. Through years of representing those in similar positions, a dedicated defense attorney has gained the skills necessary to create an implement a strong defense strategy based on the specific facts of your case.
Texas retains some of the harshest drug laws anywhere in the country. It is illegal to simply possess any of the drugs listed in the Controlled Substance Act. While many states have taken the step of decriminalizing or even legalizing the use of marijuana in private, Texas has not. As a result, having even a trace amount of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor where a conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail.
Other drug possession charges carry even harsher penalties. According to sections 481.115, 481.116, 481.117, and 481.118 of the Controlled Substance Act, the potential penalties increase with both the quantity of the drug in question and its classification under the law. For example, an equivalent amount of heroin will carry a more serious penalty than the same amount of marijuana.
The courts reserve the most serious charges for instances alleging drug distribution or trafficking. Any conviction for distribution of illegal drugs requires a jail sentence of at least 180 days. The most serious version of this charge carries a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years up to life. This applies to distribution charges involving large amounts of the most serious drugs. An El Paso drug lawyer could explain the state’s complex drug laws.
Providing a Defense in Court
With the harsh penalties available following a drug conviction, it is vital that defendants be prepared to defend themselves from the moment of the arrest. A person is never required to talk to police, nor should they do so without the help of a lawyer. In addition, people should be aware of their right to privacy. Police can only search a home or business without the owner’s consent if they obtain a warrant.
An attorney could help exploit any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case in court. One major way to do so is to challenge the legality of any search made by police. It is rare for police to personally witness a person holding drugs or to observe a sale. As a result, they must use another pretense to search a person’s body or possessions. An El Paso drug lawyer could file motions on behalf of the accused in court to challenge the legality of these searches.
An El Paso Drug Attorney Could Help
All drugs outlined in the state’s Controlled Substance Act, including marijuana, are illegal to possess and a guilty finding may result in a jail sentence. Other more serious charges involving distribution carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
It is vital that anyone facing any type of drug charge take a positive step to protect themselves. One thing that you could do is consult an El Paso drug lawyer. To learn about how an attorney could help your case, call today.