Top Rated Texas Drug Crime Lawyer
Texas Drug Crime Lawyer
In Texas, punishments for possession or trafficking in drugs can be quite severe. That’s why you shouldn’t delay in getting an experienced Texas drug crime lawyer if you are facing a drug charge. Board-Certified Texas Criminal Defense lawyer, Jodi Soyars, and her team at Soyars & Morgan Law have helped many clients get their drug charges reduced or even dismissed.
Have you been accused of or arrested for a drug-related crime in Texas? If so, we at Soyars & Morgan Law understand why you might be feeling nervous or confused right now. The penalties for drug-related crimes in Texas can be severe; if prison time is not involved, it can still ruin your career, affect your child custody rights, and affect your future. If you have been accused of a drug-related crime, you’re probably wondering many things: Am I going to jail for this? What should I do if I have been accused of this crime? What are my options, legally, in going forward? What will a good lawyer cost me? Which lawyer should I contact to speak with about my charges? All of these questions are valid and important to consider.
Being accused of or arrested for a drug-related crime is intimidating, but it is important to understand that there are still plenty of options when it comes to fighting these charges and defending your rights. The drug crime lawyers at Soyars & Morgan Law have decades of experience in defending their clients with compassion, integrity, and most importantly, success. Right now, the best thing you can do is to equip yourself with knowledge of how the state of Texas treats drug cases, and what you can do in order to fight yours. The information found below is intended to empower clients and readers with a basic understanding of the law, the variety of circumstances they might find themselves in, and the choices they can still make regarding finding the right drug crime lawyer and defending themselves in court.
Types of Drug Crimes
The penalties for drug crimes in Texas can vary greatly depending on the charge, so it is necessary to first understand what drugs are illegal in Texas, and how the various drug charges differ in terms of their severity. Generally speaking, drug crimes are ultimately ruled as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This ruling depends on many factors, including but not limited to the substance/s involved, the quantity of that substance, the intention with that substance, and the charge/s issued by the arresting officer and the court. We at Soyars & Morgan Law have ample experience in defending people accused of all manner of drug crimes, so if you have been accused, reach out to us at 210-390-0000 immediately!
The following is a list of the most common drug crimes that we encounter in Texas:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession of a controlled substance with the intention to sell, manufacture, or distribute
- Possession of marijuana
- Possession of a dangerous drug
- Tampering or destroying evidence
- Possession of a controlled substance in correctional facility
- Falsely obtaining a controlled substance
- Falsely prescribing a controlled substance
- Forging of a prescription
Your drug-related offense might have a special categorization depending on where it happened, as drug crimes that were committed near schools, childcare facilities, and certain government buildings/properties can be more severe. However, regardless of where it was committed or what you were accused of, drug crime convictions can carry significant fines and/or prison time, so finding an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial to beating your case.
It is an unfortunate truth that drug arrests are often made with insufficient evidence, faulty and/or illegal practices by arresting officers, or all too complicated circumstances based on where and how you came to be arrested in the first place. Perhaps you feel you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or hanging with the wrong crowd. To complicate things even further, it is not always clear what actually constitutes “possession” of a drug.
Common questions we get all the time regarding drug cases include the following: How close do I have to be to the drugs to “possess” them? What if I didn’t know the drugs were there? What if the drugs didn’t belong to me? Can the court prove the drugs were mine? These are all logical questions to consider if you are faced with a drug crime, and they are also questions that our defense lawyers at Soyars & Morgan Law will examine in great detail in order to build the perfect case to help you beat your charge.
The severity of drug crimes in Texas stems from the Texas Penal Code and the Texas Controlled Substances Act of 1973. Punishments can include massive fines, jail time, a suspension of your driver’s license, and mandatory drug addiction treatment. As if these consequences weren’t serious enough, drug crime convictions can also negatively affect your job options, the places you can live, and even your chances at higher education. It is vital to understand that even something as simple and relatively harmless as possession of marijuana can be serious in the state of Texas, particularly when the marijuana is mixed into an ingredient that increases its weight.
Things can get really scary when the charge is more severe, such as with the case of being charged with manufacturing, distributing, or trafficking a controlled substance. The penalties for these cases are substantial and can seriously alter the trajectory of someone’s life. The justice system punishes drug dealers much more harshly than drug users. Drug users possessing minimal amounts might qualify for dismissals or pretrial diversions that allow for the arrest to be expunged or erased off the person’s criminal history.
Drug crime charges in Texas can vary widely depending on the circumstances. For example, a drug crime in Texas can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the type of drug, the amount of the drug, and whether or not there was an intention to sell the drug. Typically, criminal charges for drug crimes in Texas range from a class C misdemeanor (the least severe) to a first degree felony (the most severe).
Texas Drug Crime Lawyer
Jodi Soyars and the Soyars & Morgan Law team provide personalized attention to your criminal case. Jodi Soyars is a Board Certified Texas Criminal Lawyer. This distinction places her among the top 10 percent of criminal defense lawyers in the state of Texas, marking her as a true professional who specializes in even the toughest criminal cases. Backed by years of experience and a history of successful case results, you can feel confident turning to Soyars & Morgan Law for high quality representation. Read more about why you should hire a board certified criminal lawyer.
Over the course of her career, Jodi Soyars has defended the rights of individuals throughout Texas charged with assault, drug crimes, sex crimes, and other criminal misdemeanors and felonies for many years. Whether you have been arrested for an assault, family violence, drug crime, sex crime, theft, weapons, misdemeanors or felonies, it’s very important that you meet virtually or in-person with our Texas drug crime lawyer, Jodi Soyars, to discuss your best defense and see what options you have in protecting yourself from a criminal record and possible jail time. While every case is different, the goal is always the same: obtain a dismissal or reduction.
What Does Possession of a Controlled Substance Mean in Texas?
Are you wondering what exactly constitutes possession when it comes to illegal drugs, i.e. controlled substances? Legally, being charged with possession of a controlled substance in Texas means that a police officer has probable cause to believe that you had “care, custody or control” over a substance which is deemed illegal under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
What Does Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance Mean in Texas?
If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute in Texas, there are much more serious penalties that can come with a conviction. Someone who is convicted of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute could potentially face a fine of over $100,000 and life in prison. In Texas, the law defines “distribute” as meaning to deliver a controlled substance other than by administering or dispensing the substance. In other words, “intent to distribute” means the intent to sell a controlled substance, i.e. drug dealing.
What Does Manufacturing a Controlled Substance Mean in Texas?
Outside of marijuana, the Texas state law defines manufacturing a controlled substance as the compounding, conversion, preparation, processing, production, or propagation of a controlled substance. This includes being directly or indirectly involved in chemical synthesis, extraction from natural substances, or a combination of synthesis and extraction. Additionally, the packaging or repackaging of a controlled substance, as well as labeling or relabeling its container, may also be considered drug manufacturing. The law does not apply to those who are properly licensed to create and produce certain medications.
What Drugs and Substances Are Illegal in Texas?
Illegal drugs (controlled substances) in Texas include:
- Bath Salts
- Cannabis (Marijuana; i.e. “Weed”)
- PCP (Phencyclidine)
- Psilocybin (“magic” mushrooms)
- Speed (methamphetamine; i.e. “meth“ or “ice”)
- Synthetic Marijuana (Spice or K2)
Drug-related crimes, while obviously encompassing commonly known substances like cannabis, heroin, and cocaine, also include legal, illegal, and even over-the-counter prescription drugs. Prosecution is becoming increasingly common for illegal possession of prescription drugs, and the punishments involved in the conviction of these cases can be fairly severe. The prescription drugs we commonly see in drug offenses include semi-synthetic and synthetic opioids (Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet), benzodiazepines (Xanax, Alprazolam, Klonopin, Xanor, Alprax, Valium, Diazepam, and Niravam), and amphetamine- or methylphenidate-based stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta). Another increasingly common crime in Texas is the illegal forgery of a prescription, which can also carry very severe penalties depending on the circumstances behind the charge.
Drug Schedules vs Drug Penalty Groups
The state of Texas distinguishes illegal drugs/substances using two primary categorizations: Schedules (I through V) and Penalty Groups (PG1 through PG4). This classification process takes into account how addictive a drug is, how lethal a drug is, and the degree to which that drug is used medically by physicians and/or psychiatrists. However, these classifications can complicate our understanding of drug crime convictions, so it is important that you seek out an experienced drug crime lawyer to defend you. The most severe penalty group of drugs includes heroin, meth, opioid-based prescriptions like OxyContin, and cocaine. The less serious penalty groups include drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, and PCP.
The federal drug Schedules I through V established by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act document controlled substances according to their respective potential for abuse and medical use. Schedule I is the most heavily controlled group with the drugs listed under it posing no medical use whatsoever but are highly susceptible to addiction, while Schedule V drugs are very lightly controlled due to common medical use and very limited chances of abuse.
Examples of the drugs (using their common name) are listed under each schedule.
- Pure Codeine
- Pure Hydrocodone
- Some Barbiturates
- Anabolic Steroids
- Cough suppressants with codeine
- Anti-diarrheal treatments
All of these substances are divided by Texas drug laws into four groups of drugs, delineated by the severity of punishment associated with each. Accordingly, these are known as Penalty Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4. Marijuana, however, is in its own separate category, and possesses its own penalties.
Penalty Group 1
This group includes cocaine, mescaline, ketamine, methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth), opioids (painkillers such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine), opium derivatives or opiates (including heroin), as well as psilocybin and comparable hallucinogens. Penalty Group 1-A includes LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). Punishments for Penalty Group 1 can start at two years in jail and a $10,000 fine, but can extend to a $250,000 fine and a life sentence in prison for possessing 400 grams or more.
Penalty Group 2
This group includes hashish and other cannabinols derived from cannabis or marijuana, as well as PCP, Ecstasy (MDMA), and Adderall. Penalties for Group 2 start at two years in jail for possessing under one gram and increase to a $50,000 fine and a life sentence in prison for having 400 or more grams.
Penalty Group 3
This group includes opiates and opioids not listed by Penalty Group 1, along with anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, sedatives such as Valium, stimulants like methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin), and prescription drugs which have a depressant or stimulant effect and the potential for addictive abuse. Penalties for possessing drugs in this group start at a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000, but can increase to a fine of as much as $10,000 and a 20-year prison sentence for having 200 or more grams.
Penalty Group 4
This group includes opiates and opioids unlisted by Penalty Group 1 or 3, as well as chemical compounds and some prescription medications with a potential for abuse. Penalties for drugs in this group are comparable to those for the drugs in Group 3.
Jodi Soyars Named one of San Antonio’s Best Criminal Lawyers
Soyars & Morgan Law handles DWI, domestic violence, sex assault, family violence, possession, and misdemeanor and felony cases on a daily basis in the San Antonio area, including Bexar, Hays, Kendall, Guadalupe, and Comal counties. When your freedom and reputation are at stake, it’s critical to hire an experienced legal team. Jodi Soyars has the experience and resources ready to stand between you and a wrongful conviction in Texas.
“Jodi walks into the courtroom with a confidence and energy that her counterparts appear to respect. Her confidence, creative character, and strategy dismissed my case that seemed certain to go to trial. Had my case gone to trial, I trust the outcome would have been in my favor with her help. Soyars & Morgan offers convenient online payments and fair payment arrangements. Do yourself a favor and call Jodi for a consultation!”
Let our Texas Drug Crime Lawyer help you.
Getting arrested for a criminal offense can be a scary and traumatizing event, especially if this is the first time you’ve ever been arrested. This is understandable. However, it helps to have the steady guidance of a seasoned criminal lawyer who is deeply familiar with the Texas court system.
At such challenging times, the experience and meticulous preparation of the team at Soyars & Morgan Law, P.C. instills confidence. We believe that there is always a viable defense for any crime, and we are experienced enough to find it. Don’t leave your future to an inexperienced attorney. Criminal convictions can be fought! Our Texas criminal lawyer will leave no stone unturned in fighting for you. Our goal is to get your criminal case DISMISSED or REDUCED.
Possession of Marijuana in Texas
Despite widespread public support for marijuana legalization, Texas lawmakers maintain harsh punishments for marijuana. Such punishments depend on the amount of marijuana and its form.
Texas Health and Safety Code (Section 481.120) holds that if you intentionally or knowingly have “actual care, custody, control or management” of marijuana, that constitutes possession of marijuana.
Penalties and punishments for possession of marijuana depend on the amount of marijuana.
- Possessing under two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, for which Texas punishment can be as much as 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Possession of 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana can mean a 1-year jail sentence and a $4000 fine.
- Possessing more than 4 ounces of marijuana is a felony in Texas. Possessing up to 5 pounds can earn 180 days to 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. For 5 to 50 pounds, the fine is $10,000 and jail time is 2 to 10 years.
- For 50 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana, the fine in Texas is $10,000 and jail time is 2 to 20 years. For over 2,000 pounds, the prison sentence is 5 to 99 years and the fine is $50,000.
Cultivation of marijuana (growing marijuana plants) in Texas is a possession offense whose penalties depend on the weight of the marijuana.
For trafficking, delivery, transfer, or sales of marijuana, Texas Health and Safety Code (481.121) holds that selling 7 grams or less is a misdemeanor with 180 days of jail time and a $2,000 fine. Selling 7 grams to 5 pounds is a felony with 1 year of jail time and a $4,000 fine. Selling any amount to a minor is a felony with 2 to 20 years of jail time and a $20,000 fine.
Keep in mind that different jurisdictions have different priorities when it comes to low-level marijuana possession. For instance, in Bexar County, Texas, we may be able to get the case dismissed, or get you into a pretrial diversion program. Other counties, such as Comal County, Texas, are harsher on crimes in general and marijuana is not treated much differently than any other type of crime.
Possession of Cocaine in Texas
Texas Health and Safety Code (481.115) makes it illegal to possess, manufacture or deliver any amount of cocaine in Texas. Cocaine punishments depend on the amount of cocaine involved in the arrest.
- Possession of cocaine under 1 gram in Texas is a state jail felony bringing a prison sentence of 6 months to 2 years. However, for first-time offenders, the sentence can be probated, meaning you can do community supervision instead of jail time.
- Possessing 1 to 4 grams of cocaine is a third-degree felony in Texas. Such crimes can bring fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of 2 to 10 years. Possessing 4 to 200 grams of cocaine is a second-degree felony, which also can bring 2 to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
- Possessing 200 to 400 grams of cocaine is a first-degree felony in Texas, bringing a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time of 5 to 99 years. Possessing over 400 grams can mean a $100,000 fine and 10 to 99 years in prison.
For delivery of cocaine, Texas Health and Safety Code (481.112) levies a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time of 180 days to 2 years for delivering under 1 gram. For delivering over 400 grams of cocaine, punishments can be prison time of 15 to 99 years and/or a fine of $250,000.
As for manufacturing cocaine, Texas Health and Safety Code (481.112) allows for fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of 180 days to 2 years for manufacturing under 1 gram of cocaine.
Manufacturing over 400 grams of cocaine means a $250,000 fine and/or 15 to 99 years in prison.
In Bexar County, Texas, low-level offenders may be eligible to participate in the Bexar County pretrial diversion program if the offender doesn’t have any prior offenses.
Possession of Meth in Texas
The Texas Controlled Substances Act makes it a crime to possess, distribute or manufacture methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth. Punishments depend on the type and amount of materials associated with meth, but all Texas meth punishments start out at the felony level.
- In Texas, meth possession of under 1 gram of meth can lead to a fine of $10,000 and up to 2 years in prison.
- For possession of 1 to 3.99 grams of meth, the crime is a third degree felony with a $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in prison.
- For possessing 4 to 199 grams of meth, the crime is a second-degree felony with a $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in prison.
- Possession of 200 to 399 grams of meth is a first-degree felony with a $10,000 fine and 5 to 99 years in prison.
- Possessing 400 grams or more of meth is an “enhanced” first-degree felony with a $10,000 fine and 10 to 99 years in prison.
Manufacturing or distributing meth can bring more severe punishments, again, depending on the weight of the materials. The manufacture or delivery statute brings punishments of 2 to 20 years in prison for 1 to 4 grams, and 10 to 99 years in prison for 200 to 400 grams.
Possessing drug paraphernalia (hollowed-out pens, bottle caps, needles, etc.) for a person’s own use brings a fine of up to $500.
In Bexar County, Texas and other counties, such as Guadalupe and Hays County, you may still be able to avoid prosecution if you are a first-time offender with a low-level meth offense.
Federal vs State Drug Crime
Because there is often confusion over federal schedules and penalties and state penalty groups, it can be hard to know if a drug charge is a state crime or a federal crime. Most drug crimes within individual states are prosecuted as state crimes, however there are some circumstances where that may not be true. If you are caught with any controlled substance/s while either a) crossing a state or national border, on a military base, or that is connected to an interstate commerce, or b) being involved with a gang or organized criminal group, you could be charged at the federal level. It is possible to be charged in both federal and state court. Multijurisdictional prosecution requires a special consideration.
Defense of Drug Crimes
There are many potential defenses that can be applied to a drug crime case, but these options for defense entirely depend on the facts of each case. As we examine the facts and circumstances of your case, our experienced drug crime lawyers will also use constitutional challenges when they apply. Two common areas of concern with drug cases are the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees your protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The Fifth Amendment guarantees your protection from self-incrimination.
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against the improper and illegal search and seizure of your property by the government. If police officers violate this protection, the drug crime lawyers at Soyars & Morgan Law will seek to suppress the evidence resulting from that violation. If the challenge is successful, the State will not be able to use the suppressed evidence which often results in the State no longer having a case against you.
The Fifth Amendment protects citizens against incriminating themselves. It is important for you to understand that you have the right not to speak to the police officers; in fact, you should not speak with them at all unless you have an experienced drug crime lawyer. If Jodi Soyars or another drug crime lawyer at Soyars & Morgan Law determines that the police violated your right not to incriminate yourself and evidence was obtained from this violation, we will aggressively move the court to suppress the evidence. The suppressed evidence may result in dismissal of the charges, and if not, then it likely weakens the State’s case against you, whereby our experienced drug crime lawyers will use that opportunity to help achieve the best possible result in your case.