drug possession

Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Texas

By Peek & Toland on March 2, 2017

The mere fact that you are caught with illegal drugs does not mean you are automatically guilty of an offense. Texas has important defenses to drug possession.

To convict you of drug possession, a prosecutor must prove you knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled drug. The drug must be one you did not have a valid medical prescription for.

In Texas, drugs fall into five classifications. You can be charged with a first-degree felony for possession of Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, LSD or Ecstasy. This means you can be jailed for up to life in prison for possession of these drugs. See our Austin drug defense lawyers page for more details.

Defenses to drug possession

Drug possession has many defenses

Marijuana possession falls under a different classification. Drug possession is taken very seriously in Texas. Although traffickers are usually dealt with more seriously, you should not assume you will end up on probation for possession of drugs.

There are important defenses to drug possession in Texas that can allow you to fight these serious charges

Main Defenses to Drug Possession Charges in Texas

  • You lacked control over the drug. An example might be if you were traveling in another person’s car that was found to contain drugs or someone handed you a bag containing cocaine and you were unaware of its contents. For possession to be illegal, it must be voluntary.
  • The drug had an approved new drug application under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;  or
  • It was approved for investigational use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the defendant’s conduct was consistent with that exemption.
  • You were in possession of a drug that was not intended for human consumption.
  • The drug was a prescribed medication from a licensed doctor
  • A drug was of an insufficient quantity to make the arrest valid.
  • The drug was recovered under an unlawful search or seizure.

It’s not always simple to convince a jury that you have a valid defense to drug possession. It’s important to hire an experienced Texas drug defense lawyer to make the case for you.

Most drug offenses in Texas are listed under the Texas Penal Code and The Texas Controlled Substances Act. These are not straightforward statutes to interpret or to understand how they are applied in Texas.

While crimes such as drug trafficking and distribution are likely to be prosecuted in the federal courts, potentially leading to higher sentences, the federal authorities get involved in possession offenses too.

Possession of an illegal substance, the quantity found in your possession, and your purpose for having the drugs all come into play when authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you on a federal or state level.

In these cases, federal mandates will impose a minimum sentence that will often mean a convicted individual will face a lengthy prison stay.

The type of drug in your possession, the quantity, and your purpose for having the drugs are all relevant when the authorities are deciding whether or not to charge you at a federal or state level.

If you have been charged with drug possession or any other drug offense, you should act quickly and hire an Austin drug offenses defense lawyer. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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Federal Authorities Prosecute More People for Drug Possession

By Peek & Toland on December 23, 2016

Drug possession may not be punished as harshly as drug trafficking but the number of people charged with these offenses at a federal level has risen exponentially over the last few years.

The trend prompted a report that was published by the United States Sentencing Commission in September.

The research noted the number of federal offenders whose most serious offense was simple drug possession rose nearly 400 percent during the years from 2008 to 2013.

Drug possession arrests rise

Drug possession offenses are rising

The trend is of interest. When offenses fall under the federal system, the penalties are typically higher. The study by the United States Sentencing Commission nixed the notion that federal enforcement officers had increased their focus on drug possession offenses.

Marijuana Accounted for Rise in Federal Drug Possession Offenses

The study found the rise was almost entirely accounted for by the use of marijuana.

The increase in possession cases was fuelled by arrests at the US/Mexico border, predominantly in Arizona.

In the case of people arrested away from the border zone for the possession of marijuana, the median quantity of the drug recovered was 0.2 ounces.

In contrast, the people arrested for possession of marijuana offenders at the border possessed a median quantity of 776.0 ounces — an amount that appeared to be way in excess of a personal use quantity.

Proving Drug Possession

In order to prove drug possession, a prosecutor must prove your possession of certain unlawful drug violates federal and state laws. Prosecutors have to be able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the person who was arrested was aware the drug was a controlled substance. He or she must have knowingly had possession of the drug or control of it.

Crimes of simple possession carry a lower sentence than possession with intent to distribute. However, in the cases highlighted at the border there’s clearly a question about whether this marijuana was for personal use.

At Peek & Toland , our Austin criminal drug defense lawyers help people who are charged with drug possession. There are five groups of drugs in Texas. The seriousness of a sentence will depend on what narcotic you are accused of possessing.

The five categories are Group 1, Group 1A, Group 2, Group 3 and Group 4. The penalties for possession of these narcotics range from one year incarceration and a fine of $4,000 to life imprisonment and $250,000 fine.

If you have been charged with any drug offense in or around Austin it’s important to hire a criminal defense lawyer from the outset before the prosecution builds on its case against you. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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