In Texas, one of the most severe non-violent felonies you face charges for is drug trafficking. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what warrants these charges and the subsequent penalties they can face for doing so. As such, it’s imperative to understand the circumstances surrounding these charges and how a Houston drug crimes defense attorney can help you fight the charges against you.
What Warrants Drug Trafficking Charges?
Drug trafficking is the sale, distribution, or importation of any illegal substances as defined under Texas law. There are many factors that influence whether or not possessing or selling a drug constitutes trafficking, like the schedule of the substance and its weight. Generally, those in possession of large quantities with intent to sell or distribute them will face trafficking charges.
Generally, there are four groups of substances. They are as follows:
- Penalty Group 1: Cocaine, heroin, opium, methamphetamines, ketamine
- Penalty Group 1A: LSD
- Penalty Group 2: Amphetamines, synthetic cannabis, or mushrooms
- Penalty Group 3: Barbituric acid, peyote, codeine, hydrocodone, anabolic steroids
- Penalty Group 4: Narcotic drugs with one non-narcotic medical ingredient
What Are the Penalties for This Offense?
The penalties for a trafficking charge will depend heavily on the weight of the drug and the schedule. However, you can always expect to face a felony charge.
In general, you can expect to face anywhere from a state jail felony to a life felony for trafficking charges in Texas. As such, you can be sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison for possession of a certain weight in grams of any drugs in the Penalty Groups. For example, if you possess more than one gram of cocaine or more than 28 grams of peyote, you can face a state jail felony. However, you will generally find that possessing over 400 grams of any drug will warrant a life felony charge.
Additionally, you can expect fines anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 for these charges.
Are There Any Potential Defenses for These Charges?
If charged with felony drug trafficking, it’s imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many assume there are no possible defenses for these charges, so they do not obtain competent legal representation.
Depending on your circumstances, your attorney may be able to employ a defense to help you reduce or evade charges. For example, if you were the victim of an illegal search and seizure in which the police located the drugs, your attorney can show this is a violation of your Constitutional rights and move to have the evidence unlawfully collected dismissed.
Additionally, they may be able to show that you were not the owner of the drugs. Just because you were in the car with someone transporting a controlled substance does not mean you were aware of or owned the drugs.
When you’re in trouble, the team at the Gonzalez Law Group is ready to help. We understand the severity of these charges and the impact they can have on your life. As such, we are committed to doing everything possible to help you in these challenging times. Contact our firm today to discuss your legal options.