Everyone knows cocaine itself is dangerous, but some people underestimate just how much they’re putting at risk simply by being charged with cocaine possession in Texas. Now that Harris County has updated its Texas pot laws to be a tiny bit more forgiving, some seem to think that drug possession penalties, including cocaine charges in Texas, aren’t what they used to be. This mistake can cost you dearly.
Not only is cocaine possession in Texas still a crime, but it’s also always a felony — a felony that can land you with significant jail time if you aren’t careful. Before you decide to pick up some party favors for your buddy’s bachelor party or your next night out at the club, make sure you know the penalties for cocaine possession in Texas.
Penalties for cocaine possession in Texas
“How much jail time do I get for possession of coke in Texas?” is an (incredibly) common question, but it’s also one that many people are too intimidated to ask until it’s too late.
If you are found with cocaine on you, you are considered to be in possession of a controlled substance (as opposed to being found in possession of a dangerous drug, like possession of Xanax in Texas).
Your penalty group for cocaine possession in Texas will be dependent on the amount of the substance you were caught with. But, to put it simply, possession of cocaine in Texas in any quantity is a felony offense, and it doesn’t take much to bump cocaine charges from a 3nd-degree felony in Texas to a 2nd-degree felony in Texas.
|Amount in possession||Charge||Potential Penalty|
|Less than 1 gram||State jail felony||180 days – 2 years in state jail and a maximum fine of $10,000|
|1 – 4 grams||Third-degree felony||2 – 10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000|
|4 – 200 grams||Second-degree felony||2 – 20 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000|
|200 – 400 grams||First-degree felony||5 – 99 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000|
|400+ grams||Life imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice||10 – 99 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000|
For more information on controlled substances, check out the Health and Safety Code: Texas Controlled Substance Act.
Factors that influence drug possession penalties in Texas
No doubt you’ve noticed that the ranges of potential consequences for cocaine possession in Texas are pretty wide. Yes, you may be sentenced according to the amount of cocaine you have on you, but what determines if you get two years in prison or ten? Does the fact that you may be a first time offender with a felony drug charge in Texas change anything?
There are, in fact, a few important factors that influence whether or not the judge decides to throw the book at you for cocaine charges in Texas.
1. Your criminal record
Texas judges understand that sometimes even good people have blooper reel moments. While cocaine charges in Texas are harsh, if you’re a first-time drug offender in Texas and have never been charged with anything beyond a speeding ticket before now, you have a much better chance at a lower sentence or a strong plea deal.
On the flip side, if you’ve been convicted of past felonies or drug-related charges, your sympathy card may not get much play in court. The same also applies to cocaine possession in the midst of another crime.
For instance, if you’re caught with cocaine while being pulled over on suspicion of DWI, there are consequences for DWI in Texas, and your mini-crime spree may result in harsher sentencing than you might receive for either of those crimes on their own.
2. Being charged with possession of cocaine vs. possession of cocaine with intent to distribute
The state of Texas doesn’t want anyone using cocaine, so imagine how much they like the people who sell it.
Being caught with a gram of cocaine in one bag with no scales, weapons or other signs of drug dealing is one thing. Being caught that same gram broken down into smaller baggies and/or alongside the items listed above is another thing… a thing that implies intent to distribute.
This implication can enhance both your cocaine charges in Texas as well as your punishments. Like with simple possession, charges will be dependent on the amount of cocaine you have on you and were intending to distribute.
3. Quality of legal representation
Oftentimes, your cocaine charges in Texas and your sentencing are determined in large part by the agreements you and your lawyer are able to make with the prosecution. Most large Texas counties have bigger fish to fry than someone accused of cocaine possession. Some prosecutors are willing to agree to reduced sentencing or charges in exchange for a guilty plea or a probation agreement.
In other words, the result of being caught with cocaine possession in Texas can change drastically with quality legal representation.
Arrested for cocaine possession in Texas?
Fighting charges for cocaine possession in Texas is not impossible. You are still innocent until proven guilty — it’s just that when it comes to cocaine possession in Texas and Texas controlled substance laws, the line between the two can feel incredibly thin.
Building an effective case and/or reaching a favorable agreement takes time, experience and expertise. Mark Thiessen and his team at the Thiessen Law Firm can provide the aggressive defense your case deserves, helping you handle everything from initial hearings and trial strategies if you’re dealing with drug charges and child custody disputes.
The sooner you hire a strong criminal defense attorney to help you fight your Texas cocaine possession charges, the better. Request a consultation online or call the Thiessen Law Firm at 713-864-9000 to begin your battle for freedom today.
- Will a Misdemeanor Affect Employment?
- Understanding Misdemeanor Laws in Texas
- Why You Shouldn’t Travel with Marijuana
- Child Support Modification in Texas
- Getting Your 4th DWI in Texas