If you have been charged with a drug crime, you need immediate representation. These crimes include drug possession; marijuana possession (POM); cocaine or other controlled substances possession (PCS); possession of chemicals for manufacturing drugs; manufacture or cultivation of controlled substances; dealing, delivery, importation or transportation of narcotics; or drug distribution, sales, or trafficking.
Drug Offenses in Texas Criminal Courts
The State of Texas and the Federal Government investigate and prosecute the same types of drug cases. State courts handle small-amount drug delivery and possession cases that are classified as state jail or third-degree felonies. Depending on which agency works the case, most drug cases end up in federal district court, with some landing in state court.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office now has special drug prosecution divisions assigned to handle the larger cases. The Harris County DA will prosecute cases involving as much as twenty kilos of cocaine.
In some respects, the state court is a more attractive court for the accused. Unlike federal court, a state judge is not required to consult guidelines to determine the proper sentence. Also, in Texas, the accused may submit punishment decisions to the jury. As a result, Thiessen Law Firm has been very successful in obtaining probation for cases in state court that would have concluded differently in federal court. Houston drug crime attorney Mark Thiessen has also had drug cases dismissed.
No matter the circumstances surrounding your drug charges, the most important thing you can do is consult an attorney. Call (713) 864-9000 for a free, confidential consultation today!
Building Effective Defenses for Drug Cases
No matter the amount of drugs, defenses for drug cases generally fall into three categories:
- The seized goods were not illegal drugs.
- The drugs were not “possessed” by the defendant,
- The drugs were seized illegally. This defense is usually addressed through a pretrial motion to suppress; however, in Texas, a defendant can submit to the jury a factual dispute relating to a constitutional issue under Article 38.23.
Penalties for Drug-Related Offenses in Texas
Four drug penalty groups exist, with penalty group one being the most severe and carrying the harshest punishment. Depending on the amount, possession of a drug in penalty group four or three may be a misdemeanor. Keep in mind, though, that a conviction for a drug offense may carry with it collateral punishment, such as a driver’s license suspension.
Common state drug/narcotics offense punishment ranges:
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - Class C Misdemeanor: $0-500 fine
- Possession of Marijuana (0-2oz) - Class B Misdemeanor: 0 – 180 days in jail
- Possession of Marijuana (2-4oz) - Class A Misdemeanor: 0-1 year in jail
- Possession of Marijuana (4oz-5lbs) or Possession of Penalty Group 1 such as Cocaine, Heroin, etc. (<1g) - Felony of the 4th Degree: 6-24 months in state jail
- Possession of Marijuana (5-50lbs) or Possession of Penalty Group 1 (1-4g) - Felony of the 3rd Degree: 2-10 years in prison
- Possession of Marijuana (50-2,000lbs) or Possession of Penalty Group 1 (4-200g) - Felony of the 2nd Degree: 2-20 years in prison
- Possession of Penalty Group 1 (200-400g) - Felony of the 1st Degree: 5 Years to Life in Prison
- Possession of Penalty Group 1 (>400g) - Felony of the 1st Degree (Enhanced) : 10 Years to Life in Prison
For more information on the classifications of drugs and criminal offenses associated with these, see the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
Illegal Search & Seizure
When you work with a Houston drug crime defense lawyer at Thiessen Law Firm, we will investigate all avenues of your drug arrest to determine whether the government violated the search and seizure laws. Because illegal search and seizure is a threat to the freedom and privacy of all Americans, it is called the poisonous fruit doctrine. The reason for this name is that if the drugs were obtained illegally, they are poison and should not come into evidence.
Representation in a Variety of Drug Cases
Our team is highly skilled in representing defendants and arrestees facing criminal charges related to any type of controlled substance, including illegal “street drugs” and prescription medications. We can help if you are facing drug charges involving marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, LSD, mescaline, amphetamines, methamphetamine (meth, ice), ecstasy, GHB (water), Rohypnol, steroids, testosterone, and prescription narcotics and drugs such as Xanex, Vicodin, Valium, Percocet, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, SOMA, or Oxycontin (oxycodone).
For your free consultation, contact us online or call (713) 864-9000. We’re here 24/7 to take your call.