If you’ve been charged with or accused of possessing, manufacturing, or delivering drugs, it’s important that you contact an Austin drug attorney today to discuss your case. The best criminal defense lawyers in Texas know how to not only defend drug cases but also how to attack the weaknesses in the state’s case.
Austin Drug Attorney Defending Accused in Travis County
While many say drug possession should be considered a victimless crime, that is not the view of everyone. It is important for a drug attorney in Texas to be able to understand your situation and explain your position to the state. Many different penalties exist from being the user to being the supplier.
Why Do You Need an Austin Drug Attorney?
While the vast majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana use, it is still illegal in Texas. According to the latest Gallup poll, 70% of Americans favor eliminating the penalties for marijuana, yet the state of Texas still charges people with simple possession of marijuana all over the state. The best Austin drug attorneys know the facts and know how to win cases even when the laws are not on their side.
What Determines a Drug Conviction
The factors that go into how the state charges a drug case are:
- The type of drug in your possession. Street drugs, including cocaine, heroin, ICE, and methamphetamine are all felony offenses no matter the weight of the drug.
- The amount of drugs in your possession. In the state of Texas, any amount under 4 ounces of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor. In contrast, any amount of cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine is a felony offense.
- The location at which you possessed the drugs. If you were less than 1,000 feet from a schoolyard or religious establishment, the state can automatically enhance your offense up one level and increase the potential punishment range. This is a highly debated topic as it brings in all motions of unfairness and racial and economic disparity
- The purpose for which you possess the drugs. If you are in possession of Xanax but have a potential medical reason for doing so, criminal penalties may be reduced or in fact eliminated with the proper documents from a doctor.
Methamphetamine, while always a felony, is often used in place of legal drugs prescribed for people with personality disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Verification by a licensed medical professional of underlying medical conditions can also open up alternative avenues to resolve the case than those typically used.
- Whether you’re committing another crime while in the possession of drugs. For example, if the police were called to your home to investigate an assault family violence case and noticed the presence of cocaine in your house, it will be treated differently than if you were arrested and charged with selling it on a street corner.
Drug Possession Charges in Texas
In the state of Texas, the most common types of drug offenses charged are possession of marijuana, followed by possession of controlled substances.
Texas controlled substances fall into one of five categories. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, drugs classified as a level or “schedule” one controlled substance are deemed by the government to have no medical value, and possession of those substances is punished under the harshest standards. Drugs categorized in levels two through five have medical value according to our government power.
These laws are based upon science that is nearly 50 years old and is completely outdated.
Differences Between Texas State and Federal Drug Crimes
While the state of Texas has some of the harshest laws in the nation with regard to drug possession, federal drug crimes are treated with an even heavier hand. To be charged federally with a drug crime, you were either moving the product or the money across state lines.
Penalties for federal drug crimes fall into a predetermined table of punishment which federal judges have very little discretion to alter. Mandatory sentencing guidelines for federal cases is the main reason why so many Americans with non-violent offenses are sitting in federal penitentiaries. Although the numbers of nonviolent offenders for drug cases are very similar in state and federal cases, over 85% of people currently incarcerated in federal prisons are there for nonviolent drug offenses.
Austin Drug Offense Penalties
If you’re charged with a drug crime, you’re probably wondering what the penalties are. The severity of the punishment depends on the charges.
First-degree felonies in the state of Texas for drug possession carry a minimum prison sentence of five years and can be enhanced to a minimum of 15 years if the amount of the drug in possession exceeds a certain weight.
Second-degree felonies carry a very wide range with regard to the amount of weight, as it is charged as a controlled substance over 400 grams but less than 200 grams in your possession. This one size fits all standard for second-degree felonies is a major flaw in our drug laws.
Third-degree felonies in Texas are for very small personal amounts of street drugs, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ICE. Anyone in possession of at least 1 gram but less than 4 grams is subject to a third-degree felony charge.
State Jail Felonies:
State jail felonies in Texas also apply mostly to hard street drugs as mentioned previously, and/or for any amount detectable up to 1 gram.
Recently our laws have changed somewhat with regard to state jail felonies. Even if you are initially convicted, probation is mandated to facilitate rehabilitation as opposed to a felony conviction and harming someone’s record. However, you’re still subject to up to two years in state prison should you violate your probation.
Class A Misdemeanor & Class B Misdemeanor
Misdemeanor drug offenses in the state of Texas are charged either under a class a, which can lead to up to one year in the local jail, or up to six months in the local jail if you’re under a class B.
Facing Drug Charges? Act Immediately and Contact Austin Drug Defense Attorney James Gill
Understanding drug laws, penalty ranges, downward departures, and mitigating evidence is paramount when defending someone accused of a drug crime in the state of Texas. You need the best Austin criminal defense attorney possible on your side to defend you in a drug case, as experienced drug lawyers achieve results far superior to their peers
If you’re facing drug charges in the state of Texas you should immediately contact the Law Office of James Gill for the best in drug defense.