All across the country, police forces have been reducing what they will respond to and what arrests they will make. These policies have gone into effect as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, as one Texas man recently discovered, even though arrests are being reduced, there is no free pass when it comes to drug possession.
The Gainesville Register reported that a Denton man was found passed out in his car. Police who responded to the call found multiple controlled substances present in the vehicle and, after being treated at the hospital, arrested him for drug crimes.
Drug Crimes Laws in the State of Texas
Texas is one of many states known for its zealous enforcement of strict drug laws. So, it comes as no surprise that the same would hold true even during extraordinary circumstances like the coronavirus lockdown.
Possession in the state of Texas is broken down into four different categories: schedule groups 1,2,3, and 4. Marijuana is separated from these and falls into its own classification. Some examples of substances at each scheduled group include:
- Anabolic Steroids
- Cough Suppressants with Codeine
- Anit-diarrheal Treatments
Each of these schedule levels is in line with the United States federal government’s regulations on controlled substances. All states must comply with these regulations. However, some states may set themselves apart by adding substances to the list that are not yet in the federal guidelines. For example, some states classify bath salts and spice as controlled substances.
The penalty for each of these substances depends on the schedule the drugs are classified as. Schedule 1 drugs carry the most severe penalties, while schedule 5 drugs carry the least severe. Other factors that can impact the severity of a charge include the possession of large amounts of a substance or the possession of drug paraphernalia.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Texas
A person arrested for possession of a controlled substance in the state of Texas can face a wide range of charges. Penalties for possession range between a Class B misdemeanor to a First Degree felony.
What a person is charged with can vary based on a few different factors. Some of these factors include:
- Quantity of a drug
- How the drug is concealed
- Past convictions
- Possession of paraphernalia (especially those connected to distribution, such as scales, packaging material, and cultivation material)
There are four different penalty groups that the crime of possession of a controlled substance can fall into. Each penalty group deals with different substances and different minimum and maximum amounts. All penalty groups carry the possibility of incarceration, steep fines, and a lifelong criminal record.
Possession of any controlled substance is a serious matter here in Texas. In the above story, for example, the man in question could face up to 99 years in prison. If convicted on all charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. He has been named one of the 3 Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, recognized by Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, Avvo, and others, and he is Lead Counsel rated.