Drug Charges

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How Drug Charges Work in Texas

Like many other states, the drug laws in Texas are stringent and come with harsh penalties. These charges and penalties fall into four groups, with marijuana being in its own group. The charges in penalties for each group vary in seriousness.

In Texas, the minimum charge for drug possession is a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, which carries penalties of a maximum $4,000 fine and up to a year of jail time, depending on the drug in question. However, the penalties for drug possession can vary widely depending on the quantity of the drug in possession at the time of arrest, regardless of what group the drug belongs to.

Large amounts of certain controlled substances can easily bump the charge up to a first-degree felony for “drug possession with intent to distribute.” The severity of the charge can also vary depending on whether you intended to deliver the drug or not, how you concealed or stored the drug, the possession of any drug paraphernalia at the time of the arrest, if you had large amounts of cash on you at the time of the arrest, or if you have past criminal convictions or offenses.

Texas Drug Categories

The state organizes drugs into four groups:

  • Narcotics – Narcotics are defined as drugs made from opium poppy. This includes drugs like opium, fentanyl, carfentanil, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.
  • Depressants – These drugs slow body functions and can act as sedatives or tranquilizers. They include opiates, opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, some inhalants, chloral hydrate, and alcohol.
  • Stimulants – Stimulants speed up your nervous system and make you more alert, including drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, some inhalants.
  • Hallucinogens – Last but not least, hallucinogens alter your mood, emotions, perception, or state of thought. These include PCP, LSD, ketamine, peyote, mescaline, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas Drug Penalty Groups

As mentioned previously, there are four different penalty groups for drug charges in Texas.

  • Penalty Group 1 – This group includes opioids, opiates, opium derivatives, LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, psilocybin, mescaline, and other similar drugs. Minimum penalties for this group are a jail sentence of 180 days to two years and a $10,000 fine, but can shoot up to life in prison (for possession of 400 grams or more) and a $300,000 fine.
  • Penalty Group 2 – This group includes PCP, LSD, ecstasy, amphetamines, and psychedelic mushrooms. For possession of under a single gram, you can still face a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years. If you were in possession of 400 grams or more, then you can face life in prison with a maximum fine of $500,000.
  • Penalty Group 3 – This group includes benzodiazepines, anabolic steroids, methylphenidate (i.e., Ritalin), sedatives like Valium, opioids and opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1, and prescription drugs that have either a depressant or stimulant effect and can be abused. The minimum and maximum penalties are identical to Penalty Groups 1 and 2, with the exception of a maximum $50,000 fine for possession of 400 grams or more.
  • Penalty Group 4 – This group includes any opioids or opiates not listed in Penalty Group 1 and various chemical compounds or prescription drugs that can be abused. The penalties are identical to the penalties for Penalty Group 3.

As mentioned above, marijuana is in its own penalty group. This special marijuana penalty group also includes synthetic marijuana like Spice and K2, as well as other synthetic cannabinoids. The penalties for this group work a little differently; the minimum penalties can be either probation or a mandatory drug treatment program. You could even get your charges dismissed upon the successful completion of this program. However, you may face additional penalties of a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years as well as a $2,000 fine for possession of two ounces or less.

If you only had a small amount of marijuana in your possession, then you could get your driver’s license suspended for six months. If you had more than two ounces in possession at the time of the arrest, though, then you could face one to ten years in jail and a fine ranging from $4,000 to $50,000.

Given the highly variable nature of drug charges in Texas, it’s wise to seek experienced legal counsel on your case. Kimbrough Legal can provide you with this impassioned legal representation and help you fight for a fair sentence. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, please give us a call today.


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Tycha Kimbrough

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Tychanika “Tycha” Kimbrough is the Founding Attorney of Kimbrough Legal, PLLC and an advocate for justice and social change. As a licensed Texas attorney.

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