Media reports suggest that heroin use has been increasing in Texas as well as the rest of the nation. Those reports are based on rising numbers of emergency room admissions for heroin overdoses and on information provided by drug treatment providers.

While the purest heroin generally comes from Asia or South America, the Drug Enforcement Administration claims that a potent form of “black tar heroin,” made from opium grown in western Mexico, is regularly smuggled across the Texas-Mexico border.

Heroin is synthesized from morphine, which is made from opium that is harvested from certain poppy plants. Although it can be inhaled or “snorted,” it is often injected with a needle. Most heroin sold on the street has been “cut” with some other substance (such as starch) to increase the quantity that dealers have available for sale. Since most users cannot easily judge the purity of the drug, the risk of overdosing from a heroin injection is greater than the risk associated with most other illicit drugs.

Although it was once marketed as a cough suppressant, heroin has no current accepted medical use. It is listed in Schedule I of the Texas Controlled Substances Schedules.

Heroin Penalties

All offenses in Lubbock involving heroin, regardless of quantity, are classified as felonies. Penalties depend upon the crime and the quantity of heroin involved in the crime.

A federal sentence for distributing (or possessing with intent to distribute) a mixture or substance containing heroin, or for a conspiracy to distribute heroin, depends upon the amount of the drug, whether the defendant has a prior drug conviction under state or federal law, and whether a serious injury or death resulted from use of the distributed drug. Offenses involving larger quantities require the court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence.

  • Less than 100 grams (no injury):
    • First offense:  Maximum sentence of 20 years.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Maximum sentence of 30 years.
  • Less than 100 grams (serious injury or death):
    • First offense:  Minimum sentence of 20 years, maximum of life.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Minimum sentence of life.
  • At least 100 grams but less than 1 kilogram (no injury):
    • First offense:  Minimum sentence of 5 years, maximum of 40 years.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Minimum sentence of 10 years, maximum of life.
  • At least 100 grams but less than 1 kilogram (serious injury or death):
    • First offense:  Minimum sentence of 20 years, maximum of life.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Minimum sentence of life.
  • 1 kilogram or more (no injury):
    • First offense:  Minimum sentence of 10 years, maximum of life.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Minimum sentence of 20 years, maximum of life.
  • 1 kilograms or more (serious injury or death):
    • First offense:  Minimum sentence of 20 years, maximum of life.
    • Second or subsequent offense:  Minimum sentence of life.

In addition to a potential prison sentence, fines and costs can be imposed, as well as a term of supervised release.

Let a Lubbock Lawyer Help You

Lubbock judges regard the delivery or possession of heroin as one of the most serious drug crimes. If you are at risk of being charged with or convicted of a crime involving heroin, call Hamilton Grant for an aggressive defense by a skilled attorney.