In Texas, drug crimes are some of the most intense, with considerable consequences. However, while in other states, some drugs, like marijuana, are legal, this is not the case in Texas. The possession and sale of all illegal substances warrants criminal charges. As such, familiarizing yourself with the penalties for cocaine possession in the Lone Star state is essential. Additionally, if you are facing charges, you should connect with Houston drug possession defense attorneys to explore potential defenses for your circumstances.
What Charges Can I Face for Cocaine Possession?
The government classifies drugs into schedules based on their nature. Texas follows a similar method, instead using “Penalty Groups” as the classification. Cocaine is a Penalty Group 1 substance, meaning it is considered incredibly dangerous and highly addictive. Drugs in this category have no accepted medical use whatsoever. Other Penalty Group 1 drugs include Heroin, Methamphetamines, Ketamine, and opium.
If found in possession of cocaine, understanding how you will be charged is critical. In general, this depends on the amount in your possession. As such, the charges include the following:
- Less than 1 gram: State jail felony
- 1-4 grams: Third-degree felony
- 4-200 grams: Second-degree felony
- 200-400 grams: First-degree felony
- 400 or more grams: First-degree felony
What Are the Penalties?
Unfortunately, the penalties for cocaine possession can be intense, even if you are only charged with a state jail felony. As such, you can expect the following circumstances based on the charges you’re facing.
- State jail felony: 180 days to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony: Two to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Two to twenty years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
- First-degree felony: Life in jail – five to ninety-nine years and a fine of up to $10,000
- First-degree felony: Life in jail – ten to ninety-nine years and a fine of up to $100,000
Are There Any Potential Defenses?
You may be surprised to discover that there are potential defenses you can rely on to help you through these complex matters. One of the most effective defenses you can use is that the drugs were taken in an unreasonable search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the police are limited in when they can search a person’s property. As such, if the police violate your rights, an experienced attorney can move to have the charges dismissed.
Another defense you can use is that the drugs did not belong to you. However, this can be challenging to prove, but the right attorney may be able to help you through these matters. Generally, if the prosecution can prove that you had control over the drugs, that will be enough to charge you. As such, you must prove that you did not know about the drugs. For example, if you are a delivery driver and a package is snuck onto your truck containing cocaine, your attorney may be able to show that despite possession of the substances, you lacked the knowledge of them.
If you are facing criminal charges, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. At the Gonzalez Law Group, our dedicated team has the experience you need to help guide you through the legal process. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these difficult times.