Texas is well known for taking an exceptionally harsh stance on drug crimes. Fort Worth drug possession charges carry the threat of large monetary fines as well as extensive jail or prison time. If you were recently arrested or are facing charges for possession of a controlled substance, a drug possession lawyer in Fort Worth at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can fight to protect your rights under the law and help build a strong case in your defense.
Call today: 214-696-9253.
How does Texas define drug possession?
The Texas Controlled Substances Act (TCSA), Chapter 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, details the charges and potential penalties for the possession of drugs and other controlled substances.
This Act classifies drug crimes as either possession, manufacturing, or delivery. Among these categories, possession-related offenses compose the bulk of the TCSA.
First, we should determine exactly how the TCSA defines a drug. A drug, per the TCSA, is as follows:
(A) “recognized as a drug in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, official National Formulary, or a supplement to either pharmacopoeia or the formulary;
(B) intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or animals;
(C) intended to affect the structure or function of the body of man or animals but is not food; or
(D) intended for use as a component of” a substance described by Paragraph (A), (B), or (C).
The TCSA defines possession as the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of a substance defined as a drug.
So, for the state to convict you of drug possession, it must prove you had actual control of the drug.
Which types of drugs are illegal in Texas?
The TCSA groups illegal drugs and controlled substances into penalty groups, based on the charges and potential penalties assessed upon conviction. We detail the penalty groups and examples of each substance type below.
Penalty Group 1
Penalty Group 1-A
Opiates and opiate derivatives, such as opium, codeine/codeine compounds, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, hydrocodone (>300 mg), ketamine (i.e., Special K), oxycodone and fentanyl, Rohypnol, GHB
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD or acid)
Penalty Group 2
Penalty Group 2-A
Hallucinogenic drugs, such as PCP, MDMA, ecstasy, mescaline, hallucinogenic mushrooms (i.e., psilocybin) and “bath salts.”
Depressant/stimulant compounds, e.g., amphetamine, Vyvanse, Quaaludes
Synthetic marijuana (Sold under various street names, including Spice, K2, 24k Monkey, Buddha, etc.)
Penalty Group 3
Penalty Group 4
Stimulant and depressant drugs, and some narcotics, including Ritalin, alprazolam (Xanax), Klonopin, Ativan, Clonazepam, diazepam, valium, hydrocodone (< 300 mg), barbiturates, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone
Narcotic compound with nonnarcotic active ingredients, including morphine, difenoxin, motofen, codeine, opium, buprenorphine, butorphanol, and pyrovalerone
Although marijuana is not included in any of these groups, it is also included in the TCSA as an illegal drug.
What are the penalties for drug possession in Fort Worth?
The specific penalties for drug possession depend on the substance’s designated penalty group and the quantity you have in your possession at the time of arrest.
The TCSA also includes potential “enhancements” that can increase the severity of drug possession charges and penalties. Enhancements include drug-related activity in the presence of a child and drug possession in a drug-free or school zone.
Possession charges for penalty groups one through four range from a Class B misdemeanor to a capital felony. Fines range from no fine to $100,000. Potential incarceration penalties range between no jail time and, for many offenses, the potential for life in prison.
For example, marijuana possession in Fort Worth can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount. Below, we discuss a few different weights and their penalties:
Less than 2 ounces (a Class B misdemeanor) carries the following penalties:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A $2,000 fine
Possession of between 4 ounces and 4.99 pounds of marijuana (a state jail felony) comes with the following:
- Between 6 months and 2 years in a state jail
- A $10,000 fine
You face third-degree felony charges and the following penalties if officers catch you with between 5 and 49.9 pounds of marijuana:
- Between 2 and 10 years in prison
- A $10,000 fine
If the weight of the drug is right on the edge (e.g., exactly 5 pounds), we can work to get your charge brought down to the lower level.
How does Texas law view possession of drug paraphernalia?
In addition to the drugs and illegal substances listed above, possession of drug paraphernalia is also illegal in Fort Worth and throughout Texas.
The definition of drug paraphernalia under the TCSA is extensive and includes:
equipment, a product, or material that is used or intended for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, or concealing a controlled substance in violation of this chapter or in injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance…
This broad description includes, along with dozens of related items:
Depending on the circumstances, an arresting might deem normal household or kitchen items (e.g., spoons and sifters) drug paraphernalia.
Are there any potential defenses to my drug charges?
Yes, but they depend on the circumstances of your case. We will determine if any of the following apply to your case:
The Drugs Were Not Yours
First, our team will determine whether the drugs or paraphernalia are yours or not. For example, if you and your roommate share a car and he hid half a gram of coke in the center console, we can work to prove that while you had possession of the drugs, you did not know they were there.
This might require obtaining testimony from your roommate or having you take a drug test.
Illegal Search and Seizure
We will also identify any potential problems with your arrest — such as illegal search and seizure or a lack of probable cause. If officers searched your car after you said no or did not obtain a warrant, we may be able to negotiate to have your charges reduced or dropped completely.
Enrolling in a Drug Program
While this is not a defense, in some cases, it might be best to plead guilty and enroll in a drug offender program. For example, if you complete the Fort Worth First Offender Drug Program, the court will dismiss your case, making it eligible for expunction.
Randall will look into your case and determine the best option for your case.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg provides representation for Texas clients facing drug-related charges. We provide free consultations and case reviews, to help you understand all potential options available to you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a drug possession lawyer in Fort Worth: 214-696-9253.