Drug Crimes

Is It Illegal to Grow Marijuana in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on February 25, 2019

There are no specific Texas laws that prohibit the cultivation or growing of marijuana. However, other laws prohibiting marijuana still make growing marijuana illegal in the state. Growing marijuana is a crime of marijuana possession in Texas.

Is It Illegal to Grow Marijuana in Texas?

Charges and penalties for marijuana vary widely according to the amount of marijuana that you are accused of possessing. Tex. Health and Safety Code § 481.121 sets forth the penalties for possession of marijuana based on weight:

• Two ounces or less: Class B misdemeanor
• Two to four ounces: Class A misdemeanor
• Four ounces to five pounds: State jail felony
• Five to 50 pounds: Felony of the third degree
• 50 to 2,000 pounds: Felony of the second degree
• More than 2,000 pounds: Felony carrying a potential sentence of five to 99 years in prison or a life sentence, in addition to a fine of up to $50,000

Due to this wide range of penalties, sentences of incarceration can vary widely. A Class B misdemeanor carries the potential for a jail sentence of no more than 180 days, whereas a second degree felony conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison. It is essentially only very small amounts of marijuana possessed for personal usage that result in misdemeanor charges under Texas law.

If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that all of your rights a protected at all stages of your criminal proceedings. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.

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Smuggling Contraband into Jails and Prisons

By Peek & Toland on February 19, 2019

Some individuals who are going to jail or prison attempt to smuggle contraband into the facility, whether the prohibited items are cigarettes, drugs, cellphones, or weapons. Once incarcerated, individuals still may attempt to access contraband from friends and family members who come to visit them or send them mail. They also may attempt to get prohibited items from guards or jail staff members, usually in exchange for money or some other benefit. More recently, individuals have even used drones to deliver contraband to inmates in prison and jail yards and outdoor recreational areas.

While the inmates themselves can be charged with a crime or lose privileges or status due to being found with contraband, individuals who assist inmates in smuggling contraband into jails and prisons can face criminal charges, as well. According to Tex. Pen. Code § 38.11, it is illegal to provide, or possess with intent to provide, contraband to individuals in correctional facilities. These facilities include all city or county jails, state or privately-run prisons, and community correction facilities, such as halfway houses.

Smuggling Contraband into Jails and Prisons

Prohibited items include alcohol, controlled substances, dangerous drugs, deadly weapons, cell phones, money, and cigarettes or tobacco, unless it is a local jail that expressly permits inmates to have tobacco in certain areas or under certain circumstances. There also are exceptions to this offense for drugs prescribed to inmates by doctors and peace officers carrying weapons into these facilities.

Similarly, pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 38.114, it is a Class C misdemeanor to provide an incarcerated person with contraband, otherwise introduce it into a correctional facility, or possess it while incarcerated. However, the offense becomes a Class B misdemeanor if it is committed by an employee of or volunteer at the correctional facility.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges relating to the smuggling of contraband into jails and prisons. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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What is Asset Forfeiture?

By Peek & Toland on February 5, 2019

Texas civil forfeiture laws allows law enforcement authorities to seize people’s property in certain situations without a warrant and without them ever being convicted of a crime. More specifically, the law permits law enforcement to seize any contraband or instrumentality that was used in or acquired from the commission of a crime. This can include assets such as money, bank accounts, firearms, vehicles, homes, and most other types of assets.

Under Texas law, all first and second degree felony offenses are subject to asset forfeiture proceedings, as are a number of other crimes specifically listed in the statute. Forfeiture proceedings are particularly common in cases involving drug offenses and white collar crimes.

What is Asset Forfeiture?

Asset forfeiture proceedings are civil, not criminal, in nature. The state must initiate an asset forfeiture action within 30 days of the seizure of property. In many cases, the property owner may have the property returned to them if he or she pays a bond to secure the value of the property. The property owner also must agree to return the property to the state at the time of the forfeiture hearing. If the state prevails at the forfeiture hearing, then the property is forfeited and now belongs to the state.

The question in an asset forfeiture proceeding is not whether a person committed a crime, but whether the property was involved in or derived from a crime. The state need only prove by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a far less stringent standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal proceedings, that a seizure is legally valid. The owner of the property, in turn, has the burden of proving that the asset was not used in or acquired from the commission of a crime.

If you or a family member is facing any type of criminal charges or has had property seized pursuant to a civil asset forfeiture, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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What is the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program?

By Peek & Toland on January 13, 2019

The Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is an electronic database that the Texas State Board of Pharmacy uses to collect and monitor prescription drug data for all Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances used by Texas residents, whether they are dispensed from a Texas pharmacy or by a pharmacy in another state. Medical practitioners also can use the PMP to monitor a patient’s prescription history and to request official Texas Schedule II prescription forms. Through this tool, practitioners and pharmacists can help ensure that patients are not overprescribed controlled substances and eliminate duplicate prescriptions.

Most recently, on September 1, 2018, the state issued a new official Schedule II prescription form with enhanced security features. Effective June 1, 2019, all prior versions of the form will become invalid.

What is the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program?

Another change to the PMP will take effect on September 1, 2019. On that date, all pharmacists and prescribers will be required to check a patient’s PMP history before dispensing or prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol. The purpose of this requirement is to identify and eliminate drug-shopping, illicit drug activity, and drug diversion.

Under the PMP, pharmacies must report the dispensing of controlled substances to the PMP no later than the next business day after the prescription is filled. Pharmacies that violate this requirement may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

Unless obtained pursuant to a valid prescription by a licensed practitioner, the possession of any amount of controlled substances continues to be illegal under Texas law. The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies different controlled substances into penalty groups according to the danger level of risk of misuse that the controlled substance poses. The level of the offenses charged as a result of possessing or trafficking in these drugs differs according to the penalty group in which the drug is classified, the weight of the drug, along with any adulterants and dilutants.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including drug offenses and similar charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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What Are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on January 6, 2019

Drugged driving falls under the category of driving while intoxicated, as set forth in Texas Penal Code § 49.04. This section makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. In addition to the definition that refers to blood alcohol concentration (BAC), Texas Penal Code § 49.01 provides an alternate definition of intoxicated as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.

Determining whether a driver is sufficiently impaired by drugs to constitute driving while intoxicated is far less straightforward than simply measuring a driver’s BAC. There is not a definitive legal level at which an individual is impaired by a certain drug or combination of drugs. This is because unlike alcohol, science does not provide a method for equating a particular drug dosage with impairment. A dosage of a drug that may be incapacitating to one person may not impair another person at all. As a result, determining whether to charge a driver with impairment due to drug consumption can be rather arbitrary.

What Are the Penalties for Drugged Driving in Texas?

Just like with regular DUI involving alcohol intoxication, drugged driving is generally a Class B misdemeanor under Texas law that requires a minimum term of incarceration of 72 hours. Other aggravating factors can increase the potential charge and penalties, such as if the offense occurs with the presence of a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle, or if the offense results in serious bodily injury to others.

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the outset of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case has progressed. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

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Defining Drug Trafficking

By Peek & Toland on January 5, 2019

Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.112 defines drug trafficking as knowingly manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance. The level of the offense charged and the penalties for a conviction depend upon the classification of the controlled substance and the weight of the controlled substance at the time that the offense was committed. Certain enhancements to drug trafficking crimes also can make the penalties for a conviction more severe, such as a history of previous criminal convictions, whether serious bodily injury occurred due to the offense, whether weapons were involved, and whether any minors were involved.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies controlled substances according to penalty group based on each drug’s risk of abuse and any accepted medical use. Penalty Group 1 drugs are considered to be the most dangerous drugs with the highest risk of misuse and no accepted medical usage. As a result, possession or trafficking in these drugs carry far greater penalties than those that are classified in Penalty Groups 3 and 4.

 

Defining Drug Trafficking

For example, trafficking in a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance, such as cocaine, meth, and heroin, is a state jail felony if the amount of the controlled substances found is one gram or less. The charges and penalties increase as the weight of the drug, including any dilutants or adulterants, increases. Trafficking in more than 400 grams of a Penalty Group 1 controlled substance is a felony offense that can result in life in prison or a sentence ranging from 15 to 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $250,000.

In contrast, Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.114 provides that individuals who commit drug trafficking of a controlled substance in Penalty Groups 3 or 4 face state jail felony charges if they are found with less than 28 grams of the drug. Accordingly, as the weight of the drug increases, so do the charges and the potential penalties.

An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges, as well as educate you about your rights and responsibilities before the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.

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Probation Violations in Texas

By Peek & Toland on December 4, 2018

While being sentenced to community supervision, or probation, as a result of a criminal offense is certainly preferable to jail, the court still has a significant amount of control over your life. Depending on the terms and conditions of your probation, you typically must report to a probation officer on a regular basis, pay fees, complete a certain number of hours of community service, undergo drug or alcohol testing, and seek permission from your probation officer before leaving the state.

If your probation officer believes that you have violated any of the terms of your probation, then he or she can file a motion to revoke your probation. If you are on deferred adjudication probation, then he or she can file a motion to adjudicate. Regardless of what is called, the results are the same; a motion to revoke or a motion to adjudicate both will result in a warrant for your arrest. After your arrest on a probation revocation, you must appear before a judge within 48 hours. However, only the judge who issued the arrest warrant can set bail for you in a probation revocation.

Probation Violations in Texas

You also have the right to be represented by counsel at a court hearing to determine whether you violated a condition of your probation. This hearing is very important, because it will be your only chance to explain why you don’t believe that you have violated your probation. As a result, contacting an attorney as soon as you believe that you may become subject to a probation violation is crucial.

Some common probation violations may include:

·         Being charged with a new criminal offense while on probation

·         Failing a drug or alcohol test

·         Not reporting to your probation officer as scheduled

·         Failing to complete community service hours as ordered

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, including probation violations, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and provide you with the strongest defense possible. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

Posted in Drug Crimes, Uncategorized

Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

By Peek & Toland on December 3, 2018

In the state of Texas, CBD oil that contains any trace of THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, is illegal, except for a narrow group of individuals who fall within the Compassionate Use Act. These individuals must have intractable epilepsy, have tried two FDA-approved drugs that have been ineffective, and must have two physicians prescribe the usage of low-THC CBD oil, which is considered to be any CBD oil that contains no more than 0.5% THC. One of the major difficulties with this exception, however, is that it is illegal under federal law for physicians to prescribe marijuana or any CBD oil that contains any trace of THC. This can make it very difficult to get the required two prescriptions in order to get CBD oil from one of the three dispensaries in Texas that are authorized by the state to distribute CBD oil.

The Texas state government proposed regulations earlier this year that would have banned any substance that contained any CBD oil. Although momentum for the original proposal has stalled, it originally called for the confiscation of any products from retailers that mentioned CBD or THC as an ingredient, no matter how small the amount.

 

Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas?

Part of the difficulty lies in the inability of normal drug tests to distinguish between CBD oil derived from industrial hemp or from the marijuana plant itself. Since there is no way to tell the origin of CBD oil, the federal government has declined to declassify it from being a Schedule 1 drug. This is the same schedule in which heroin is classified. Some states have legalized the sale and usage of CBD oil, but even so, those state laws still directly conflict with federal law. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is still maintaining that CBD is illegal and that individuals who use it may be subject to arrest and prosecution. However, the DEA also has said that it would not be a wise usage of its resources to prosecute individuals who use CBD oil for health reasons.

If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that you raise all of the relevant defenses. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.

Posted in Drug Crimes

What Are Drug Courts?

By Peek & Toland on November 12, 2018

Drug courts are specialized courts whose goal is to do more than punish defendants for criminal offenses. Not all Texas counties have drug courts, and they are more prevalent in bigger cities and urban areas. However, drug courts are becoming more commonplace in Texas and in courts throughout the nation as the criminal justice system seeks to better address the addictions that underlie so many drug crimes.

Eligibility requirements for defendants to participate in drug courts vary, but they often are available for first-time or low-level drug offenders who want to seek drug treatment. Different courts have various conditions for participation, which may include reporting to the judge once per week to verify sobriety, taking drug tests, undergoing drug treatment, getting counseling, and attending substance abuse classes.

What Are Drug Courts?

Some types of drug courts are actually specialty courts, in that they deal with one sector of the population who is suffering from a drug addiction. For instance, there are juvenile drug courts, adult felony drug courts, and adult misdemeanor drug courts. There also are family drug courts, for cases in which, for example, both parents may be fighting addiction and Child Protective Services has become involved with their children.

Proceedings in drug courts often take 12 to 18 months to complete. Latter stages of the drug court programs may include assisting participants with finding employment, housing, child care, and more. The goal of the program is to make participants drug-free, self-sufficient, and productive citizens. Perhaps most importantly, individuals who successfully complete the program often are able to have their criminal charges dismissed.

While drug courts can be extremely helpful in combatting substance abuse, they also are not right for everyone. For example, some drug courts require individuals to admit guilt to a crime in order to participate. In some cases, if the individuals have no legal immigration status, they could end up deported as a result of that admission.

When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, you need an experienced drug defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and provide you with the strongest defense possible. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

Posted in Drug Crimes

What Are Drug-Free Zones?

By Peek & Toland on October 29, 2018

Penalties for drug convictions are enhanced when the underlying drug activity occurs within certain areas that lawmakers have designated as drug-free zones. Texas, like some other states, has designated not only areas within 1,000 feet of elementary, middle, and high schools as drug-free zones, but also areas within 1,000 feet of universities, playgrounds, child care agencies, public parks, recreational centers, and public swimming pools. These enhancements apply no matter the time of day or night, or regardless of whether children are present when the activity took place, with one major exception. If you did not profit from the drug activity that allegedly took place within a drug-free zone, and there were no children physically present when the activity took place, you may not face the enhanced penalties that usually would apply.

 

What Are Drug-Free Zones?

Being charged with a drug crime that occurred within a drug-free zone elevates your charge to the next-highest level. The difference in charges can mean several more years in prison and thousands of dollars more in fines. In some cases, the enhanced sentence can be twice as long as it would have been if the drug activity had not occurred within 1,000 feet of the local library.

There are other implications of being charged with a drug crime within a drug-free zone, as well. For instance, Tex. Gov. Code § 508.145 limits parole eligibility for offenses that occurred in a drug-free zone. Normally, incarcerated individuals become eligible for parole once the time that they have served, plus any good time credit that they have received, equals one-quarter of their sentences. However, a conviction for a drug offense in a drug-free zone limits parole eligibility until individuals have served one-half of their sentences, without consideration of any good time credit that they may have earned.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

Posted in Drug Crimes

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