The mere fact that you are caught with illegal drugs does not mean you are automatically guilty of an offense. Texas has important defenses to drug possession.
To convict you of drug possession, a prosecutor must prove you knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled drug. The drug must be one you did not have a valid medical prescription for.
In Texas, drugs fall into five classifications. You can be charged with a first-degree felony for possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, LSD or Ecstasy. This means you can be jailed for up to life in prison for possession of these drugs.
Marijuana possession falls under a different classification. Drug possession is taken very seriously in Texas. Although traffickers are usually dealt with more seriously, you should not assume you will end up on probation for possession of drugs.
There are important defenses to drug possession in Texas that can allow you to fight these serious charges.
Main Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Texas
- You lacked control over the drug. An example might be if you were traveling in another person's car that was found to contain drugs or someone handed you a bag containing cocaine and you were unaware of its contents. For possession to be illegal, it must be voluntary.
- The drug had an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; or
- It was approved for investigational use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the defendant's conduct was consistent with that exemption.
- You were in possession of a drug that was not intended for human consumption.
- The drug was a prescribed medication from a licensed doctor
- A drug was of an insufficient quantity to make the arrest valid.
- The drug was recovered under an unlawful search or seizure.
It's not always simple to convince a jury that you have a valid defense to drug possession. It's important to hire an experienced Texas drug defense lawyer to make the case for you.
Most drug offenses in Texas are listed under the Texas Penal Code and The Texas Controlled Substances Act. These are not straightforward statutes to interpret or to understand how they are applied in Texas.
While crimes such as drug trafficking and distribution are likely to be prosecuted in the federal courts, potentially leading to higher sentences, the federal authorities get involved in possession offenses too.
Possession of an illegal substance, the quantity found in your possession, and your purpose for having the drugs all come into play when authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you on a federal or state level.
In these cases, federal mandates will impose a minimum sentence that will often mean a convicted individual will face a lengthy prison stay.
The type of drug in your possession, the quantity, and your purpose for having the drugs are all relevant when the authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you at a federal or state level.