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Experienced Defense Attorney for Drug Possession in North Texas
If you are facing drug possession charges in Tarrant County or Fort Worth, Texas, you should not try to fight your case alone. Facing charges for drug possession is serious, but with the help of an experienced and aggressive drug possession attorney you could potentially get your case dismissed or resolved in a manner that makes you eligible to have your drug arrest and record cleared from your criminal record. The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC is currently accepting appointments, and all consultations are free and confidential. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with Jeff Hampton, a drug possession lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas, and founder of The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC. Our law firm also offers a bail bond service available by phone 24 hours to help get you out of jail fast. Contact our Tarrant County bail bondsman now if you or a loved one is in jail.
Punishment for Possession of a Controlled Substance or Narcotic in Texas
Under Texas drug laws, a person commits the offense of drug possession if he or she knowingly or intentionally possesses a controlled substance listed in Penalty Groups 1, 1A, or 2. These are considered controlled dangerous substances, and have a high probability of being abused by users, and causing addiction.
What Does It Mean To “Possess” A Controlled Substance?
Under Texas drug possession laws, the State of Texas must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally or knowingly exercised care, custody, or control over a controlled substance. To prove “possession,” the prosecutor must establish that you exercised care, custody, or control.
The drug officer will attempt to do this by asking you questions. It is a common tactic for the narcotics officer to act like he is doing you a favor or on your side by asking you questions and if you only answer his questions, the case will turn out better for you. Do not be deceived! Everything you say to the officer can and will be used against you. Even if you are providing innocent information, the narcotics officer could twist and turn and manipulate the facts to make it appear that you are confessing or admitting to information that could be used to establish probable cause for your arrest.
What if you were just present where drugs were found? Is that enough to result in a charge of possession of a controlled substance? NO! Mere presence at the scene where drugs are found does not, by itself establish that you had the necessary intent to exercise care, custody, or control over the drugs.
Let us examine three common scenarios where people find themselves charged with possession of a control substance:
- Drugs found in a car – this is one of the most common scenarios we find citizens being charged with possession of a controlled substance. You were a passenger in a car and the car was pulled over for a traffic violation and the police officer claims he smells the odor of burnt marijuana and now he wants to search the vehicle. The driver consents to the search and drugs are found in the back seat. You were sitting the passenger seat. Should you be charged? Can the police officer prove that you intentionally or knowingly exercised care, custody, or control over the drugs when they were in the back seat? Very unlikely! Being in the car where drugs are found does not prove criminal intent to possess, even if you were found near the drugs. The police must affirmatively link you to the drugs. For example, if the drugs were found in a backpack in the car and in the backpack, it had your driver’s license or items with your identification associated with them it would make it easier for the drug officer to establish proof you had criminal intent because the drugs would be affirmatively linked to you.
- Drugs found in a house – this scenario occurs when a drug search warrant is executed at a residence or building, and drugs are located in a place where many people are located. What if the drugs are found in a shared area where multiple people have access, but no one will admit it is their drugs? This example further underscores the importance of not answering the narcotics officer’s questions when being questioned. The police officers are asking you question for the specific reason of establishing proof that you had the criminal intent to exercise care, custody or control over the drugs found at the scene. If you remain quiet, the officer will have little to proceed with because your silence cannot be used against you. What if other people are talking? Doesn’t that mean you should be talking as well? NO! Who cares if the other people present blame you for ownership of possession of the drugs? They have every reason and incentive to claim someone else knew about the drugs because they do not want to be arrested. Little do they know that by opening their mouths, they usually establish that they had knowledge about the drugs, which would provide probable cause for an arrest for drug possession. Remember, the prosecutor does NOT have to prove who owned the drugs! The State of Texas must only prove that you intentionally or knowingly exercised care, custody, or control over the drugs.
- Drugs found on someone – this is the most clear-cut case of possession of a controlled substance that a police officer looks for in a drug investigation. If a drug officer can show that you had a controlled substance in pant pocket, shirt pocket, purse, wallet, or other item that is associated with your apparel, the officer will automatically have sufficient evidence to arrest you for drug possession. Outside of the remote situations of someone borrowing someone else’s clothing, baggage, etc., having illegal drugs on your person is a police officer’s dream when it comes to a possession of controlled substance arrest.
The penalty imposed depends on the amount of the drug that was involved in the offense. The more of a drug possessed, the harsher the sentence will be.
Texas Drug Possession Fines & Possible Prison Time
Penalty Group 1: Possession of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc., can carry 180 days to 99 years in prison, with a fine up to $250,000.00, depending on the amount of the drugs in possession.
Penalty Group 1A: Possession of LSD can carry 180 days to 99 years in prison, with a fine up to $250,000.00.
Penalty Group 2: Possession of Ecstasy, Mescaline, PCP, etc., can carry 180 days to 99 years in prison, with a fine up to $100,000.00.
Penalty Groups 3 & 4: Possession of Valium, Xanax, Ritalin, Morphine, etc., can carry 2 to 99 years in prison, with a fine up to $100,000.00.
If the police determine that you have a large amount of the drug, or that the drug is packaged in a way that indicates the drugs you allegedly possessed were for more than personal use, you could be facing even more severe penalties. That is because for larger amounts, or if the prosecutor thinks that you intended to sell or traffic the drugs, you could also be charged with Drug
Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute.
A conviction of drug possession with intent to distribute carries hefty fines and some of the most severe penalties in Texas. If you are going up against charges like this, you need to hire a lawyer for drug possession charges who has experience handling this type of case successfully. Our criminal law firm can help, contact us for a free consultation.
Possession of Prescription Narcotics & Controlled Substances
Under Texas law, a person commits the offense of possessing prescription pills and/or narcotics if he or she knowingly or intentionally possesses a drug listed in Penalty Group 3. A defense to the charge is that the person obtained the drug legally under a valid prescription ordered by a medical practitioner who was acting in the regular course of his professional practice. As in other drug offenses, the penalty depends on the quantity of drug possessed and ranges from one year in the county jail to life in prison.
The Texas Controlled Substance Act provides that a person commits a criminal offense if he knowingly manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to deliver a controlled substance (as defined under the Penalty Group Classifications under the Texas Controlled Substance Act).
What Evidence Proves “Intent To Deliver?” The State of Texas must prove that you exercised care, custody, or control over the controlled substance with the specific intent of distributing or delivering the substance to another. Police will sometimes claim this can be proven by showing the amount of the controlled substance found was more than a user’s quantity, thereby inferring it was for the purpose of drug dealing. Additionally, narcotics officers are always looking for baggies, scales, text messages showing a possible drug exchange was planned and other evidence to infer the intent to deliver the drugs.
If you are charged with a possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, you will be facing a felony level charge one punishment range higher than the original possession charge. For example, possession of a controlled substance under one gram is normally a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine. However, if you are charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, you will be charged with a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Possession of Marijuana
Under Texas law, a person commits the offense of possession of marijuana if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses a usable quantity of marijuana. If the amount of marijuana you are accused of possessing is less than 4 ounces, you could be facing a misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge that carries with it the possibility of up to 1 year in the Tarrant County jail. If you have been accused of possessing an amount of marijuana that exceeds four ounces, you could be facing a felony possession of marijuana charge that could, depending upon the total weight of the drug and the circumstances of your case, result in imprisonment in a state jail facility for a minimum of 180 days, up to 99 years.
Marijuana is a unique drug crime because it is becoming more commonly accepted in the community and being decriminalized in many other states in the United States. You need to work with an aggressive and experienced marijuana possession attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas area that has a proven track record of resolving marijuana cases by getting them dismissed or lowered to a lesser misdemeanor charge. Do not make the mistake that many people do when they believe that receiving a conviction for a marijuana charge will not affect their future. Regardless of whether it is a felony or misdemeanor marijuana charge, failing to resolve your marijuana charge in a manner than permits your arrest and charge to be removed from your criminal record could result in employment denial and unfair treatment by law enforcement based upon a drug possession criminal record.
Following is a table of the Penalty Group Classifications for various illegal and controlled substances in Texas, and the penalties associated with different drugs of varying weights. If you have a court date scheduled, we strongly encourage you to retain legal counsel from an experienced attorney for drug charges.
Texas Drug Possession Punishment By Quantity & Type
Contact an Experienced Fort Worth Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
If you, or anyone you know, is facing a drug possession charge in Texas, contact The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation. These are serious and multifaceted charges, and should never be faced without an aggressive, strategic drug possession attorney. A The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC, you collaborate with a team of Former Prosecutors with over 80 years of criminal law experience and over five hundred criminal jury trials. We stand ready to defend your freedom and your clean criminal record. Call 817-435-2909 now or fill out an online appointment request form.
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