Possession of a controlled substance is a serious offense in Texas that can have serious legal consequences. If you or a loved one is facing charges for possession of a controlled substance, you need a drug crime lawyer to start working on your case — and fast. 

Drug crimes are prosecuted aggressively in Texas. Whether you’re out on bail, have just been arrested, or have yet to be arrested, the prosecutors are likely building an aggressive case against you.

You don’t just need any controlled substance lawyer to take your case, you need a trial lawyer with experience taking high-stakes cases to court and winning them. Mark Thiessen is that lawyer. He is certified by the American Chemical Society as a Lawyer-Scientist, meaning he can use the full power of the science and the law to fight for his client’s rights in high-impact drug cases. Call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 for a free case evaluation. 

Is possession of a controlled substance a felony in Texas?

It is possible for possession of a controlled substance to be a felony in Texas, but it depends on factors unique to each case. 

Drug charges for simple possession are much less likely to be felonies than charges for possession with intent to distribute in Texas, charges for drug manufacturing, or charges for drug cultivation. 

Generally speaking, drug possession charges are more likely to be felonies the more “dangerous”* the state considers a drug to be, and the more weight of that drug that is possessed. 

*Continue reading about possession of dangerous drugs in Texas

What are the types of controlled substances in Texas?

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, controlled substances (mostly) fall under four main penalty groups. These penalty groups are one of two main factors that will determine exactly what specific drug charge you’ll be up against. The other factor, which we will detail in a penalties chart in the next section, is the weight of the substance allegedly possessed. 

Texas drug laws: Penalty Group 1

Penalty Group 1 includes some of the following:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Common painkillers (hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.)
  • Heroin and other opium derivatives
  • Psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms)
  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Ketamine
  • And more

Texas drug laws: Penalty Group 2

Penalty Group 2 includes some of the following:

  • Ecstasy or MDMA
  • PCP
  • Hashish or other cannabinoids derived from marijuana*

*Tetrahydrocannabinols, other than marijuana, and synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant, or in the resinous extractives of Cannabis, or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity.

Texas drug laws: Penalty Group 3

Penalty Group 3 includes some of the following:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Sedatives
  • Prescription drugs with potential for abuse because of their stimulating or depressive effects 
  • Opioids not contained in Penalty Group 1

Texas drug laws: Penalty Group 4

Penalty Group 4 contains opioids not enumerated in penalty groups 1 or 3 and more prescription medications with small amounts of codeine, opium, etc. with significant potential for abuse.

Possession of a controlled substance Texas punishments

Below the charges that you can expect for possession of a controlled substance are detailed. Keep in mind that these charges can be made even more severe if it is determined that the controlled substance was meant for distribution or delivery, if you have any prior drug convictions, or if the arrest took place in a drug-free zone. 

Class CPossession of Drug Paraphernalia0 – $500 fine
Class BPossession of Marijuana (0-2 oz)0 – 180 days in jail
Class APossession of Marijuana (2-4 oz) or some medicines0 – 1 year in jail
State JailPossession of Marijuana / Oil (4 oz – 5 lbs) Possession of Penalty Group 1 < 1 gram 6 – 24 months in state jail
3rd DegreePossession of Marijuana / Oil (5 lbs – 50 lbs) Possession of Penalty Group 1 1 – 4 grams2 – 10 years in prison
2nd DegreePossession of Marijuana / Oil (50 lbs – 2000 lbs) Possession of Penalty Group 1 4 – 200 grams2 – 20 years in prison
1st DegreePossession of Penalty Group 1 200 – 400 grams5 years – life in prison
1st Degree (enhanced)Possession of Penalty Group 1 over 400 grams10 years – life in prison

You should also remember that drug crimes of all types are taken very seriously by Texas police. Aggressive policing combined with overzealous prosecution means that being arrested under suspicion of any drug crime in Texas can turn into a life-changing affair. And it doesn’t matter all that much what you were busted for; marijuana possession is, unfortunately, taken just as seriously by many Texas law enforcement officers as cocaine possession in Texas

How to beat a possession charge in Texas

Beating a possession charge in Texas often means getting a possession charge dismissed, rather than getting a Not Guilty verdict. Wondering how to get a possession charge dismissed? Here are some of the more common methods used by lawyers to make possession charges go away before you go to trial. 

  1. They ensure that the police had legal right to search your vehicle. If they lacked probable cause and committed an obstruction of justice, you could be walking free before dinnertime. 
  2. They make sure that it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs did in fact belong to you. Just because you were found near a quantity of a controlled substance in no way provides that you possessed them. 
  3. They will explore whether or not you had full knowledge of what you possessed or what your intentions were with it. 
  4. They will ensure that you were not a victim of police abuses of power and in any way entrapped.
  5. They will ask the state to prove what the substance was. Bad police work and bad science often combine to put good people in bad situations, but not when you have an ACS-CHAL Lawyer Scientist in your corner. 

First, you’ve got to know what charge you’re up against, and second, you’ve got to get yourself the best drug offense lawyer in Houston that you can possibly find. 

Looking for a winning controlled substance lawyer? Call Thiessen Law Firm today.

If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, you need a controlled substance lawyer to begin building your defense today. Controlled substance cases can be complex, and winning them can often rely on science as much as the law. 

This is why you need a lawyer who knows the science, to make sure that bad police work, shallow understanding of science, and overzealous prosecution do not combine to put you away. 

Mark Thiessen, ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist and founding attorney of Thiessen Law Firm, knows how to beat a possession charge in Texas. He knows how to face down prosecution and fight aggressively for his client’s rights, using expert knowledge, meticulous preparation, and a passion for justice. Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.