With such a variety of illicit drugs on the market, the laws and jargon surrounding them can quickly become overwhelming. Terms like “schedule 2” “controlled substance” and “opiate” often add to the anxiety one feels when potentially facing drug penalties.

A local Lubbock drug defense attorney, who understands the complexities of Lubbock drug penalties, can help you untangle the intricacies of your case and gain some insight into a stressful situation.

How Does Lubbock Classify Controlled Substances?

A drug is a non-food substance intended to affect the structure and/or function of the body of man or animals. For elaboration, see Title 6, Sec. 481.001. of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Since 1970, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified drugs as Schedules I through V, based on the level of danger they are believed to pose. Texas has a similar classification system that divides controlled substances into four Penalty Groups and two sub-groups. The penalties for drug offenses in Lubbock and throughout the state are based in part on the Penalty Group to which the drug belongs.

Penalty Group 1

The controlled substances in Penalty Group 1 include most opiates and opium derivatives, as well as other drugs that the Texas government deems particularly dangerous, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. “Analogs” of the Penalty Group 1 drugs (designer drugs that are chemically similar to a listed drug and that produce similar effects) are also included in Penalty Group 1.

The penalties for simple possession of a Penalty Group 1 substance include:

  • Less than one gram – state jail felony, punishable by a jail sentence of not less than 180 days or more than two years
  • At least one gram but less than four grams – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years
  • At least four grams but less than 200 grams – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years
  • At least 200 grams but less than 400 grams – first-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence
  • 400 grams or more – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than 10 years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence

Penalty Group 1-A

The only controlled substance in Penalty Group 1-A is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), including its analogs. LSD is not grouped with other drugs because it is sold by the dose while most other drugs are sold by weight.

For simple possession of LSD, the penalties include:

  • Fewer than 20 doses – state jail felony, punishable by a state jail sentence of not less than 180 days or more than two years
  • At least 20 but fewer than 80 doses – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years
  • At least 80 but fewer than 4,000 doses – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years
  • At least 4,000 but fewer than 8,000 doses – first-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence
  • 8,000 or more doses – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than 15 years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence

Penalty Group 2

The controlled substances in Penalty Group 2 are generally classified as hallucinogens or stimulants, including psilocybin mushrooms and mescaline. Penalty Group 2 also includes

The penalties for possession of a Penalty Group 2 substance vary based on the weight of the drug:

  • Less than one gram – state jail felony, punishable by a state jail sentence of not less than 180 days or more than two years.
  • At least one gram but less than four grams – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years.
  • At least four grams but less than 400 grams – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years.
  • 400 or more grams – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence.

Penalty Group 2-A

The controlled substances in Penalty Group 2-A are synthetic cannabinoids. They are known by a variety of street names, including “Spice” and K2. Although this group lists a number of specific chemical substances that have been designated as synthetic cannabinoids, it also purports to include “any quantity of a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids.”

The penalties for possessing one of these drugs in Lubbock and throughout Texas include:

  • Not more than two ounces – class B misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of not more than 180 days and/or a fine.
  • More than two ounces but not more than four ounces – class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year.
  • More than four ounces but not more than five pounds -state jail felony, punishable by a state jail sentence of not less than 180 days or more than two years.
  • More than five pounds but not more than 50 pounds – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years.
  • More than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years.
  • More than 2,000 pounds – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a term of life imprisonment.

Penalty Group 3

Many of the controlled substances in Penalty Group 3 are generally classified as depressants. Many of those are barbiturates. Penalties for simple possession of a Penalty Group 3 substance in Lubbock include:

  • Less than 28 grams – class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of not more than one year and/or a fine.
  • At least 28 grams but less than 200 grams – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years.
  • At least 200 grams but less than 400 grams – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years.
  • 400 grams or more – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence.

Penalty Group 4

The controlled substances in Penalty Group 4 typically contain small doses of narcotics in combination with other drugs, such as codeine in Tylenol 3. Penalties for possession include:

  • Less than 28 grams –  class B misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of not more than 180 days and/or a fine.
  • At least 28 grams but less than 200 grams – third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 10 years.
  • At least 200 grams but less than 400 grams – second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of not less than two years or more than 20 years.
  • 400 grams or more – punishable by a prison sentence of not less than five years or more than 99 years, or by a life sentence.

Potential Penalty Enhancements

The penalties listed above only apply to charges for simple possession of a drug in Lubbock or elsewhere in Texas. An individual accused of delivering, possession with intent to deliver, or manufacturing a controlled substance may face significantly harsher punishments. Additionally, certain situations can further enhance the penalties for a drug offense. To discuss any potential penalty enhancements, exceptions, or mitigating factors that may apply to a particular case, individuals should reach out to an experienced Lubbock attorney.

Enhancement for Injury or Death

If death or serious injury results from the ingestion of a controlled substance that the defendant delivered, the offense can be increased by one degree unless:

  • The offense is a first-degree felony, or
  • The maximum sentence for the crime is life imprisonment

Enhancement for Crimes Involving Children

If a person under the age of 18 was used in the commission of the offense, the offense can be increased by one degree unless:

  • The offense is a first-degree felony, or
  • The maximum sentence for the crime is life imprisonment.

If a person under the age of 18 was made to participate in the offense by the use or threat of force, the offense can be enhanced to a first-degree felony unless —

  • the offense is already a first-degree felony, or
  • the maximum sentence for the crime is life imprisonment.

Higher maximum penalties may also apply if the crime involved delivery to a child.

Contacting An Attorney

It can be difficult to know where you stand in relation to state and local statutes. Often, clients may be surprised to know something as commonplace as cough syrup can place them on the wrong side of the law.

When you are arrested for a drug charge in Lubbock and facing potentially harsh penalties, it is best to speak with an experienced lawyer who is familiar with state and local drug laws. A patient, compassionate, and diligent attorney can work with you to build the strongest possible case.

Having an honest conversation with your attorney will help you determine whether the charges against you have any basis, and whether or not your rights were respected throughout the process. Factors like these may hold the key to having your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.