Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession Of A Controlled Substance

Texas takes drug possession crimes very seriously. If you are convicted of possession of a controlled substance, you could face serious jail time and steep fines. It is critical that you find an experienced attorney who can help you build the best defense possible if you have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Dallas, Texas. 

Controlled Substance Penalty Groups

Not every controlled substance is treated equally. Texas created four categories of drugs that it calls “Penalty Groups.”  Penalty Group 1 contains the most dangerous drugs with the highest probability of abuse of addiction and the least usefulness in medical treatment. Penalty Groups 2, 3, and 4 contain drugs decreasing in danger and probability of abuse. Marijuana is not considered a controlled substance and is classified separately from the four Penalty Groups.

The Texas Health and Safety Code lists precisely which drugs fall into each category. Below are some common drugs that fit into each group.

  • Penalty Group 1: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, opium, methadone, morphine, oxycontin, ketamine, and over 300 mg of hydrocodone.
  • Penalty Group 1-A: LSD or Lysergic acid diethylamide. 
  • Penalty Group 2: mescaline, psychedelic mushrooms, psilocybin, ecstasy, methaqualone, and amphetamine. 
  • Penalty Group 3: Clonazepam, Xanax, Valium, Ritalin, peyote, and under 300 mg of hydrocodone. 
  • Penalty 4: compounds or mixtures containing small amounts of narcotics or active medical ingredients. 

Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance Conviction

Texas has harsh penalties for drug possession. The penalties range from Class B misdemeanors to 1st Degree Felonies depending on the controlled substance and the amount possessed. The penalty may also be impacted by other circumstances, like whether there were minor children around when the defendant had the drugs on them, how the drug was stored or concealed, and possession of additional drug paraphernalia. 

A conviction for possession of a controlled substance could result in the following punishments: 

  • Jail/prison time ranging from up to 180 days to life or up to 99 years, 
  • Probation, 
  • Fines,
  • Community service,
  • Mandatory drug addiction treatment, 
  • Permanent criminal record, and
  • Suspension of your driver’s license. 

For small amounts of less dangerous drugs, a person may be charged with a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, while larger quantities of more dangerous drugs can lead to felony charges. 

A conviction for possession can change the entire trajectory of your life and have the potential to affect your ability to get a job, approval for government-assisted housing, eligibility for student loans and grants, and admission to schools. 

Possible Defenses Against Possession of Controlled Substance Charges

Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty. To be convicted of possession of a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed or had control over a controlled substance that he or she did not have a valid prescription for.

Your defense will be unique to the facts of your case, and there are a number of different arguments that a person can raise. Below are common defenses that an attorney may be able to argue in defense of drug possession charges in Dallas. 

  • You were not aware the drugs were in your possession. Possession is defined as the care, custody, or control of the substance.  
  • The drug was not intended for human consumption. For example, the drug was intended to be used with animals, and you have authorization supporting this claim. 
  • The drug has an approved use under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
  • You have a valid prescription from a doctor to use the drug. 
  • You had an insufficient quantity of the drug. To be convicted, you must have a usable amount of the drug. Generally, this means enough of the substance to be lab tested. 
  • There was an illegal search. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your right against unlawful search and seizures. Your attorney may be able to get evidence suppressed if it is proven that the controlled substance was discovered during an illegal search. 

Speak to an Experienced Attorney

If you or someone you know have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance, you should immediately reach out to a local Dallas criminal defense attorney. Philip D. Ray is an experienced criminal attorney and former prosecutor who will provide you with a skilled and aggressive defense. He has years of experience defending individuals against possession of a controlled substance charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Call The Law Offices of Philip D. Ray today at (214) 845-7987 for a consultation.