Get Your FREE Copy of the Book by Stephen Hamilton Exposing the Truth
Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
In Odessa and throughout Texas, the penalties for drug offenses are based on the substance’s Penalty Group and weight. Similar to the Federal Drug Schedule, Texas’ Penalty Groups divide controlled substances into various categories based on their accepted medical uses and potential for abuse. However, individuals may be subject to even harsher penalties under state law. For example, the Federal Drug Schedule may allow misdemeanor charges for possession of certain drugs for personal use, while in Texas a similar offense could be a felony.
If you were charged with a drug crime, you could face serious potential penalties, including harsh jail sentences and fines. Furthermore, a conviction results in the creation of a permanent criminal record that could follow you for life. For help fighting back against your charges, contact a top drug defense lawyer.
How The Type of Drug Impacts the Potential Penalties
The type of controlled dangerous substance that the individual is charged with possessing will influence the minimum and maximum penalties. The state drug laws in Odessa (and all of Texas) establish two factors that influence drug possession penalties: the Penalty Group of the drug and its weight. The most serious drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroin, fall into Penalty Group 1. Penalty Group 2 is just below that and deals mostly with extracted THC. Penalty Group Three drug charges are some of the most common, and depending on the quantity, they could be misdemeanors.
Possession of even small amounts of the most serious drugs can lead to harsh penalties. For example, less than a gram of a Schedule One drug carries a punishment range at the ‘state jail felony’ level. If convicted, an individual would have a felony on the record and may spend 180 days to two years in the state jail facility, which is a part of the Texas Department of Correction.
How Weight Affects Drug Penalties
Aside from the Penalty Group the drug belongs to, its weight plays an important role in sentencing. For example, possessing over four grams of a Penalty Group 1 drug becomes a third-degree felony that carries two to 10 or more years in prison. As the weight increases, so do the penalties. Over 200 grams is a first-degree felony, which carries with it a minimum of five years in prison to a maximum of 99 years to life. If someone possesses 400 grams or more, it still is a first-degree felony, but the minimum penalties increase to 10 years to life.
Even possession of a Penalty Group 2 drug, often THC concentrated from marijuana, can lead to harsh penalties. Less than one gram is a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to two years in state jail. One to four grams is a third-degree felony which carries two to 10 years. If someone possesses four to 200 grams, they face two to 20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections. If they have 200 grams or more, the offense is a first-degree felony.
Contact an Odessa Drug Possession Attorney
If you were accused of possessing a controlled substance, your future could depend on the strength of your defense. An experienced Odessa attorney could analyze the facts of your case and explain the Penalty Group your charges fall under. They could then fight on your behalf for a favorable resolution to your charges. Call today.