Conviction for possession of a controlled substance in Texas comes with steep fines, jail time, and potentially a 6-month mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. But what exactly are controlled substances, and what types of penalties could you be facing?
What Are Controlled Substances in Texas?
Controlled dangerous substances, also referred to as CDS, have a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe physical or psychological dependence. While also highly addictive and harmful, tobacco and alcohol are not considered controlled substances in Texas. Marijuana has its own separate category and penalties.
Broken down into the four categories below, substances within Penalty Group 1 carry the harshest penalties, while substances in Penalty Group 4 carry more lenient sentencing ranges. Though, keep in mind that possession of any of the drugs listed below is considered a felony and carries potential jail time.
Penalty Group 1
Heroin, methamphetamine, opium, cocaine, ketamine, methadone, and over 300 mg of hydrocodone.
Penalty Group 2
Psychedelic mushrooms, mescaline, methaqualone, psilocybin, amphetamine, and ecstasy.
Penalty Group 3
Xanax, Clonazepam, Ritalin, Valium, and under 300 mg of hydrocodone.
Penalty Group 4
Mixtures and compounds that contain a small amount of active medical ingredients or narcotics.
Potential Penalties for Controlled Substances in Texas
Penalties for conviction of possession of a controlled substance in Texas varies depending upon the amount of drugs you possessed, as well as the penalty group those drugs are in.
For instance, while possession of under two ounces of marijuana carries a maximum six month jail sentence, possession of over two ounces could carry harsher penalties. This is because possession of that amount could be construed as intent to deliver.
Penalty Group 1
Penalties range from six months to life in prison, and a maximum fine or $100,000. However, possession of LSD or another hallucinogen carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Penalty Group 2
Penalties carry a maximum life in prison sentence and a $50,000 maximum fine.
Penalty Group 3 and 4
If possession is under 28 grams, you may be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if possession is over 28 grams, you will be charged with a felony. Higher amounts of possession can result in life in prison and a fine of $50,000.
What Is Actually Considered Possession?
Simply put, the state of Texas recognizes possession as the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of a substance or drug that is controlled by the law. In order to be convicted of possession, the prosecutor must show that you:
- Exercised control or management over the substance; and
- Knew the substance was illegal.
Basically, the prosecutor must show that you knowingly possessed a substance outlawed by Texas law. Direct evidence of possession, in some cases, may be enough to secure your conviction. However, if the prosecutor cannot prove that you had exclusive possession of the substance, they will need to prove that you retained custody of the substance through independent factors.
Can Lack of Knowledge of Possession Stave Off Conviction?
As mentioned above, the state must prove that you knowingly possessed an illegal substance. Therefore, if you were not aware that you had the substance in your possession, you may have a case against conviction. The same is true if you had no knowledge that the substance you possessed was illegal.
A Fort Worth TX Drug Lawyer Can Help You Develop a Solid Defense
If you are facing possession of a controlled substance in Texas you need effective legal representation to secure a fair outcome. Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC can help you defend your case. Contact us today.