Offenses involving controlled substances are taken extremely seriously throughout Texas, and the crimes can carry a wide range of penalties, including fines and prison sentences. Penalties for narcotics crimes typically depend on the type of substance involved, as well as the amount of the substance involved. In addition, the penalties also can be determined by if a person was intending to sell the substances.
Drug cases often are complex, and being charged with a drug crime can feel overwhelming. You may not know the best step to take or where to search for help. A skilled and experienced San Antonio drug crime attorney can help you combat the charges and take control of your future.
Drug Defense Lawyer in San Antonio, TX
The best defense in drug crime cases often centers around litigating motions to suppress the physical evidence or motions to dismiss the charges for insufficient proof. Drug cases sometimes hinge on various other areas of the law, including search and seizure issues. A San Antonio narcotics defense attorney can help you fight the charges.
If you are charged with any drug crime such as simple possession or the more serious charges of drug trafficking or racketeering, call Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. Our attorneys are recognized leaders in fighting drug crimes at both the state and federal level throughout San Antonio and the state of Texas.
No case is too small or too large for Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. Our attorneys fight for our clients charged with misdemeanors for possession of marijuana in state court to the most serious drug trafficking offenses in federal court. Call (210) 226-1463 to speak to the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr for a free consultation.
Information on Federal and State Drug Law
- Texas and Federal Narcotics Offenses
- Federal and State Drug Classifications
- Penalties and Punishments in Drug Crime Cases
- Scrutinizing the Prosecutor’s Evidence
- Resources for Drug Crimes in Bexar County
Texas and federal criminal statutes impose strict punishments on people convicted of the misuse of controlled substances. This means there could be state penalties in addition to federal drug penalties. These could include the possession of a substance, distribution of a substance or even trafficking narcotics.
The most common drug offenses in Texas include:
- A person can be charged with possession of a controlled substance under sections 481.115 through 481.118 of the Texas Health and Safety Code if he or she knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance without prescription from an individual licenses to practice medicine in the state. Penalties for this offense depend on the amount of the substance in the alleged offender’s possession.
- Someone could be charged with possession of drugs with the intent to distribute if he or she knowingly possess any controlled substance listed in with the intent to a deliver or distribute the substance. The penalties for this offense can vary depending on the amount of the substance and the penalty group in which the substance is classified.
- Drug trafficking, which may carry mandatory minimum sentences, is described as knowingly trafficking a substance classified in Penalty Groups I through IV. This also could include smuggling and importing controlled substances across borders. This offense usually involves a large quantity of drugs and a number of controlled substance offenses. Penalties vary depending on the amount of drugs and the classifications.
- Unlawful manufacturing or cultivation, is the manufacturing or growing of an illegal substance. This could include manufacturing in meth labs and cultivating marijuana in growhouses.
- A person could be charged with prescription fraud for fabricating prescriptions drugs or otherwise obtaining prescription drugs through fraudulent means. For example, if a person forges or alters a prescription, it could be considered prescription fraud.
Other drug charges could include cocaine charges, drug conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charges.
Different laws govern each specific illegal and prescription drug. The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr have extensive experience dealing with cases involving a wide variety of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamine, heroin, Ecstasy and OxyContin®.
Federal drug crimes are governed by The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, known as the Controlled Substances Act. Under this law, the drugs are classified into different schedules based on their potential for abuse and their medical use. Texas law has similar classifications known as penalty groups.
Drug crimes in Texas are largely governed by the Controlled Substances Act codified in the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapters 481 through 486. Under Texas law, drugs are classified into different penalty groups including:
- Penalty Group 1: Methamphetamine, Heroine, Cocaine, Oxycodone, Opium, Methadone, Ketamine and Hydrocodone (more than 300 mg)
- Penalty Group 1-A: Lysergic Acide Diethylamide (LSD)
- Penalty Group 2: Mescaline, Mushrooms, Psilocybin, Mescaline, Ecstasy, Methaqualone and Amphetamine
- Penalty Group 3: Clonazepam, Xanax, Valium, Ritalin and Hydrocodone (less than 300 mg), Anabolic steroids and Lorazepam
- Penalty Group 4: Compounds or mixtures that contain limited amounts of narcotics, and one or more active medical ingredients.
The penalties and punishments for narcotics charges often depend on a host of different factors, such as the type of controlled substance involved and the amount of the drug involved in the crime. Other factors could include:
- The purpose behind the possession, such as for personal use to feed an addiction or with the intention to distribute the drug to another person
- Whether other people were involved in the offense through a conspiracy
- Whether a firearm was possessed or used to commit the crime
- The location where the offense occurred and whether the location was considered a “Drug Free Zone.”
- Whether the accused has a prior criminal report or prior drug convictions
- Whether anyone was injured or killed because of the crime
A person can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug crime based on these factors. The most severe penalty would be a life felony, which is punishable by between five to 99 years or life in prison, up to a $250,000 fine or both.
If a person is convicted of a first-degree felony, he or she can be sentenced to between five and 99 years or life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. A second-degree felony is not as harsh, but it could include between two and 20 years behind bars, up to a $10,000 fine or both.
People who are convicted of a third-degree felony face between two and 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. State jail felonies could mean between 180 days to two years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine or both.
If a person is convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, he or she can be sentenced to up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000 or both. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days behind bars, fines up to $2,000 or both.
Certain types of drug crimes are state jail felonies for which community supervision is mandatory including:
- the delivery or possession of 5 pounds or less but more than four ounces of marihuana
- the manufacture or delivery of less than 28 grams in Penalty Group 4;
- the manufacture, delivery or possession of less than 28 grams of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 3; or
- the manufacture, delivery or possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 1 or 2.
In drug crime cases, law enforcement officers often use illegal and unreason methods to collect evidence. Our attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr are experienced at probing into search and seizure issues including traffic stop, K9 searches, and border searches.
The drug crime defense attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr in Bexar County, TX, also investigate the credibility of confidential informants, often called “snitches,” who often have strong motives to comply with the prosecutor’s version of the facts.
Possible defenses to some narcotic offenses include:
- Contesting unlawful stops, detentions, searches and seizures by law enforcement officers;
- Contesting the legality of a search warrant; and
- Contesting the sufficiency of the evidence to link the contraband to the person accused of the crime.
Texas Law on Dilutants or Adulterant
Under V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 481.002(49), the term “adulterant or dilutants” is defined as any material that increases the bulk, size, weight, or quantity of a controlled substance, regardless of whether the substance has an effect on the chemical activity of the controlled substance. By defining a dilutant or adulterant in this manner, the Texas Legislature attempted to eliminate the problem with determining the aggregate weight raised by McGlothlin v. State, 749 S.W.2d 856 (Tex.Cr.App.1988).
The definition of “controlled substance” was amended in 1997 to include the phrase “an adulterant or dilutant” within the definition of controlled substance. This addition allowed prosecutors to base the prosecution on the total weight of the substance along with the dilutants or adulterants without regard for the proportion of the enumerated substance.
Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code – This link provides detailed information on the laws and definitions associated with Texas narcotics crimes in the Texas Controlled Substances Act. It also outlines possible penalties for the crimes.
Drug Enforcement Agency – The DEA is a federal governmental agency whose mission is to enforce laws and regulations regarding controlled substances in the United States. This website gives information on federal laws regarding controlled substances.
Center for Health Care Services Drug Court Program – The Center for Health Care Services provides case management, psychiatric, substance abuse treatment services to the felony and misdemeanor Drug Courts in Bexar County.
Narcotics Anonymous – Narcotics Anonymous is a national non-profit organization for people suffering from drug addiction. Those with drug addictions meet and support others suffering from substance abuse issues for treatment and to maintain a sober lifestyle.
Finding a Drug Defense Attorney in San Antonio, Texas
When you need a lawyer with the experience to identify every possible opportunity to avoid conviction or reduce penalties on a drug crime charge, contact the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr.
Our vast experience in state and federal court puts us in the unique possession to provide the most focused and aggressive defense possible. We can begin your defense today.
Call (210) 226-1463 for a free consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 22, 2017.