Drug possession in Texas

Learn all you need to know about drug possession charges in Texas and how you can find an effective defense 

Different states have varying penalties against drug possession; however, Texas laws regarding controlled substances are quite severe. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been caught in possession of drugs, then your best bet is seeking an experienced defense lawyer.

Possible repercussions for drug possession, as stipulated in the Texas Controlled Substance Act, include; hefty fines, treatment for drug addiction, Driver’s license suspension, probation, or jail term. The penalties for drug possession charges vary depending on the type of drug, presence of drug paraphernalia, how the drugs were stored or concealed, or past convictions. This is why having a legal counsel who works in your best interest can get you a reduced sentence or treatment at a rehab center.

This article focuses on the various drug possession penalties, their distinct classes, and how your defense lawyer can help you. What exactly determines whether you will be sentenced for 1 or even 50 years in jail? Does the prosecution consider whether you are a first time offender or not?

Well, let’s look at some of the factors that a judge considers when making a ruling on your drug possession charges.

Past Record in Texas

Judges in Texas understands that a person can have a hard time and end up on the wrong side of the law. Though possession charges in Texas are harsh, if you have no criminal record and was found with a small amount of a controlled substance, then your chances of getting a reduced sentence or even a plea deal are quite high, especially if you have help from an expert defense attorney.

If you have a past criminal record, then don’t despair, even if you might be facing a harsh sentence with a hefty fine. A highly capable criminal defense lawyer can turn things around for your case by coming up with a strong defense that might convince the judge to go for a reduced sentence.

Possession of drugs vs. possession of drugs with an intent to distribute in Texas

These two charges come with very harsh penalties; however, an intent to distribute is even more severe and can land you in jail for a long time. Let’s break it down to know what the two charges actually mean.

For instance, if you are caught with one bag of cocaine with no weapons, large cash amounts, or scale, then your charges will be drug possession. However, if you are caught with one bag of the same amount of cocaine but divided into small packages, scales, and large amounts of cash, then that implies that you had an intent to distribute. An intent to distribute can attract higher a higher jail sentence and fine.

Legal Representation in Texas

Your drug possession charges in Texas, including the fine to be paid, and the sentencing largely depends on the negotiations and agreements between your legal team and the prosecution. Prosecutors are sometimes willing to accept a reduced jail term or fine in exchange for probation or a guilty plea.

A defense attorney’s job is to work in your best interest by studying your case and going through the list of possible charges to come up with a strong defense that might get you a favorable outcome.

The quality of legal representation that you have will determine how your case turns out. An error in such judgment might cause you an entire 99 years with added fines.

Potential defenses for drug possession charges in Texas

The state of Texas is stringent with regard to drug charges. However, there are several defenses that your defense attorney can use to avoid your conviction or get a reduced jail term. Such arguments include;

Lack of Drug Possession Knowledge

In order to be convicted, you must have knowingly been in possession of a controlled substance. You might have a strong defense if you were unaware of the drugs in your possession. You might win the case if you have proved that you were unknowingly possessing controlled substances.

A Prescription from a Doctor

You can be in possession of several drugs as long as you have a valid doctor’s prescription. Such prescriptions vary from antidepressants to strong pain killers. A valid prescription shows that you are legally allowed to use or be in possession of such drugs. If you were arrested for having drugs that were prescribed by your doctor before the time of arrest, then you have a strong defense.

Insufficient Quantity

For a conviction, the amount of controlled substance found on you should be a “usable amount.” This means that the amount should be adequate for laboratory testing and confirmation that it is indeed a controlled substance. There are cases where the amount is too little to allow formal testing in a lab. In such a situation, then you have a valid defense.

Intended for Animals

Though drugs are controlled for human consumption, there are times when they are used for animal consumption. To make this defense valid, then you would need to show authorization stating that the drugs found in your possession were not meant for human consumption.

Depending on the amount of drugs found on, you might be charged with class A, class B, or class C misdemeanor. Possession of large amounts of drugs can be treated as a felony charge classified into a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony, and first-degree felony as the most severe charge.

“A highly capable criminal defense lawyer can turn things around for your case by coming up with a strong defense that might convince the judge to go for a reduced sentence.”

Texas Drug Penalties

Group 1 drug offenses

This category entails drugs derived common drugs such as heroin, methadone, morphine, codeine, oxycodone. For drugs in this category, if you are found with less than 1 gram, then the offense is classified as a state jail felony. 

An amount weighing 1 to 4 grams is considered a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony is charged for drugs weighing 4 to 200 grams. You will be charged with a first-degree felony if found in possession of 200 to 400 grams with additional fines amounting to $100,000 or possible life imprisonment.

Group 1 -A

Group 1-A drugs as contained in the Texas Health and Safety Code include LSD and related drugs. You will be charged depending on the number of units you are found with. State jail felony is considered for units below 20, which is punishable by serving 180 to 2 years in jail with an added fine of $10,000. If you are arrested for units above 80 then that is a third-degree felony, meaning you can serve a 2 to a 20-year jail sentence.

Below 4000, but more than 80units is categorized as a second-degree felony. If you are found with 4000 to 8000 units, then you could be facing a first-degree felony that comes with a lengthy jail term. For 8000 units and more, then you could be facing life imprisonment and a hefty fine of up to $250,000.

Group 2 drugs

This group includes hallucinogenic drugs like methamphetamine, mescaline, and Tetrahydrocannabinols, among other related drugs. You will be penalized depending on the amount you are found with during the arrest. State jail felony is considered for an amount of less than 1 gram. You might face a third-degree felony for drugs weighing 4 grams while above 4 grams to 400 grams is classified as a second-degree felony. If you are caught with drugs weighing more than 400 grams, then you might be facing life imprisonment if you lack an experienced attorney.


Though marijuana is legal in some states, the state of Texas still considers marijuana as an illegal drug. There are severe penalties for anyone found in possession of marijuana. For those who need marijuana for medical purposes, CBD oil containing reduced amounts of THC is allowed.

Those who require marijuana for treatment of conditions such as epilepsy use CBD oil made from hemp rather than cannabis. It is illegal to possess CBD oil extracted from marijuana unless you are qualified under the medical marijuana law. If unfortunately, you are caught with marijuana, then you could be facing a jail term or a hefty fine depending on the amount you are found with.

It is important to note that you might face life imprisonment, even if there was no intent to sell marijuana. This is why it is crucial to have a defense attorney who will work to ensure that you get a reduced sentence.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

The prosecution will base their charges on the amount of marijuana found on you during your arrest. The penalties for marijuana falls under group 2 though, for this particular type of controlled substance, there are harsh penalties such as life imprisonment for large quantities.

If you are arrested for possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana, then you might be charged with a class B misdemeanor, normally punishable by serving a jail term of 180 days and a fine amounting to $2000. Class A misdemeanor is charged for marijuana weighing 2 to 4 ounces. For 4 ounces up to 5 pounds, you face being charged with state jail felony.

For an amount that is more than 5 pounds but less than 50 pounds, then you face third-degree felony charges. 50 to 2000 pounds of marijuana risks you facing a second-degree felony. If you are caught with marijuana weighing more than 2000 pounds, then you could be facing life imprisonment of up to 99 years and a fine that can amount to $50,000.

Penalties for group 3 substances

Group 3 drugs are anti-depressants, stimulants, and compound mixtures of drugs that some amount of narcotics. Other controlled substances included in this group are peyote, hormonal drugs, stimulants, and salvia.

For controlled substances in this category, less than 28 grams is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine amounting to $4000 and a one-year jail sentence. For 28 to 200 grams, then you are likely to face a third-degree felony. You will be charged for a second-degree felony if found possessing 200 to 400 grams of controlled substances in this group. More than 400 grams means that you could be facing a jail sentence of 5 to 99 years with a fine of up to $50, 000.


Penalties for group 4 drugs

This group of drugs entails controlled substances known to have medicinal properties but have limited amounts of narcotics such as opium, codeine, and ethylmorphine.

If found in possession of less than 28 grams, then that is classified as a class B misdemeanor. 28 to 200 grams falls under a third-degree felony, while 200 to 400 grams is considered to be a second-degree felony.

If you are caught having more than 400 grams, then you face being charged for a first-degree felony that goes for 5 to 99 years of prison time with fines of up to $50, 000.

Need help with Drug possession charges in Texas?

Research shows that most of the people who are incarcerated in Texas are there due to non-violent cases like drug possession. This only shows that the Texas justice system is harsh when it comes to drug possession. The best decision that you can make for your case is by seeking the help of a highly experienced defense attorney who will vigorously defend you to ensure that you get less jail term or no conviction at all.

Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and even though the charges placed against you may seem discouraging, you might win. Building a case that entails a favorable agreement with the prosecution requires a high level of expertise and dedication, which can only be provided by our team of legal experts.

Every case is different, which is why a defense attorney will first look at the circumstances leading to your arrest while coming up with a practical strategy to get you the best outcome. You have a better chance of no conviction or reduced sentence with a quality legal team on your side than without.

Do not wait until the case is far gone, to get a reliable defense lawyer. The sooner you get in touch, the better because having your lawyer from the beginning can allow you to reach an agreement sooner.

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