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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Drug possession is a priority for law enforcement in Odessa, and offenders are often prosecuted harshly. Due to the severity of the potential penalties, anyone charged with a drug offense should take these charges seriously and contact an attorney. An Odessa drug possession lawyer may be able to raise a strong defense on your behalf.
What Counts as Drug Possession in Odessa?
Drugs fall into classifications. Some drugs are always illegal, such as street drugs, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Some drugs, like Xanax, can be legal if they are obtained and used by an individual with a valid prescription from a doctor. These drugs are not legal to possess for people without a prescription.
In Odessa and throughout Texas, there are two ways an individual can be found to be in possession of drugs. One is having it on their person and in their control, known as actual possession. The other way is constructive possession, where the individual has dominion over property and they know where the drugs are located.
Both of these forms of possession are common traffic stops. Police may pull someone over for an entirely different offense and discovery drugs when patting them down upon arrest. This would be considered actual possession. Police may also find drugs in the vehicle during a search, and the driver or owner may be charged with possession since they controlled the property and knew about the drugs.
Enhancements and Aggravating Factors
Simple drug possession charges may seem minor, but they should not be taken lightly. Certain factors or circumstances can greatly increase the severity of a charge.
One of the factors that affects the seriousness of a drug possession charge is an enhancement. For example, prior drug offenses can have a tremendous negative impact on the outcome of a case. When there is a prior drug offense in a drug-free zone, the charge becomes a 3G offense. This is a special category with specific sentencing rules. The person is not eligible for probation, and they must do time if they get a jail sentence.
Intent to Deliver
If the DA decides the offense is an intent to deliver case, that can raise the penalty ranges significantly. For example, suppose an individual travels to Colorado and purchases cannabis products for a family member with arthritis. On the way home, the person is stopped by a law enforcement officer who finds the drugs. This individual was in possession of drugs with intent to deliver, even though they never intended to make a profit. Intent to deliver charges apply whenever an individual plans to provide another with drugs, regardless of whether they are selling them or giving them away.
If someone commits a crime and they have a gun on them, the authorities add a Misdemeanor A charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. This extra charge applies regardless of whether the individual legally owned the firearm and had a license to carry it. If they commit another offense, such as drug possession, while carrying a firearm, police can add an extra charge.
Drug Type and Weight
Drug possession penalties in Odessa are based on the drug’s classification and weight. For example, possession of less than one gram of cocaine is a state jail felony, while possession of less than 28 grams of Xanax is a Class A misdemeanor.
As the weight of a substance increases, so does the level of charge and the potential penalties upon conviction. Possession of one to four grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony, while 200-400 grams is a first-degree felony.
Discuss Your Drug Possession Case with an Odessa Attorney
If you were charged with drug possession in Odessa, you should not risk speaking to police or going to court without a dedicated lawyer by your side. Without a strong defense, you could face jail time, heavy fines, and a permanent criminal record. Fight back by contacting an Odessa drug possession lawyer today.