It may be essential in handling drug possession cases to get evidence suppressed from the court record due to illegal searches, inaccurate warrants and other constitutional violations during a drug arrest.
Marijuana and Cocaine Possession
Many factors are taken into consideration when marijuana offense charges are filed in the State of Texas. Specific distinctions are made for the amount of the drug that was recovered from the defendant. Small amounts can be deemed as intended for personal use while larger amounts may be perceived as intent to sell, distribute or even trafficking.
A conviction for cocaine possession may have devastating effects on your life, including jail or prison time. In fact, law enforcement agencies may even seize money, vehicles, real estate and other assets that are believed to be related in any way to a cocaine charge.
A marijuana or cocaine conviction of any magnitude, however, can have serious consequences on your employment, your education, your reputation and even your freedom.
If you or someone you know is facing marijuana possession or cocaine possession charges in Houston, it is imperative that you retain experienced legal representation immediately to protect your constitutional rights.
POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
In Texas, the crime of possessing a controlled substance is defined in the Health and Safety Code rather than the Penal Code. A person may be accused of possessing a controlled substance if he knowingly or intentionally owns certain chemicals that are prohibited by law. Controlled substances are placed into several categories that differ according to the severity of their use. The categories are as follows:
- 1: Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and ketamine
- 1A: Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- 2: Designer drugs such as Ecstasy and mescaline
- 3: Commonly abused prescription medication such as Valium
- 4: Drugs that contain certain compounds such as buprenorphine or ethylmorphine
Possible Consequences for Possession of a Controlled Substance
Within each class of drugs, there can be a wide range of punishments. The severity of the punishment largely depends on the amount of controlled substance that the defendant had in his possession. Those who are in possession of a controlled substance may be penalized with:
- 180 days to 99 years in confinement
- Up to $250,000 in fines
- Enrollment in court-mandated drug rehabilitation
- Random drug tests
Felony-Level Drug Crimes and Consequences
Whether you have been charged with possession or trafficking, or as a first-time or repeat offender, an experienced Houston drug attorney will guide you through the necessary steps to protect your constitutional rights. Drug cases at the felony level include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Possession of controlled substances
- Delivery of controlled substances
- Felony drug charges
- Marijuana possession
- Cocaine possession
- Methamphetamines (Meth)
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Prescription drug cases
Dedicated in Handling Your Drug Possession Case
Search & Seizure
The defense of marijuana, cocaine, or other drug possession charges always begins with a focus on your rights, specifically search and seizure issues. A seasoned attorney will thoroughly review police reports and any other elements of the case that could help determine if your rights were violated in any way.
- Did the police officer have grounds to stop you in the first place?
- Did the police officer frisk you when you posed no safety threat?
- Did the police officer search your vehicle without probable cause?
- Did the authorities enter your home without a valid search warrant?
An experienced Houston drug lawyer knows that in any of these situations, the drug or drugs were seized unlawfully and can not be admitted as evidence against you, likely forcing the prosecution to dismiss the charges altogether.
Even if the seizure is valid, there may be insufficient evidence to show that you were in possession of the drugs. The possibility exists that you were in the vicinity of illegal drugs, but did not own them or didn’t even know they were even on your premises. Affirmative links need to be established between you and the drugs. If these links are weak or can not be established, a good drug lawyer will raise reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt in your marijuana or drug charge, an experienced attorney will seek to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed completely.
MANUFACTURE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
Although it is a criminal act, manufacturing controlled substances is covered under Section 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. This code makes it a crime to grow, process or manufacture controlled substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine. The drugs are broken down into penalty groups, and some examples of each category include:
- Group 1: Opium, special K, methamphetamine and cocaine
- Group 1A: LSD
- Group 2: Ecstasy and PHP
- Group 3: Valium and Ritalin
- Group 4: Codeine
- Miscellaneous group: Marijuana
Punishments for Manufacturing
The punishment for manufacturing a controlled substance generally depends on the penalty group and the amount an individual produced. Additional sanctions can also be added if the defendant transported or delivered the substances. At minimum, this crime is considered a state jail felony. Punishment for this offense includes:
- Between 180 days and two years in a state facility
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Drug and alcohol counseling
When more than 400 grams of any category of drug is produced, the crime can be a first-degree felony. The punishment here can be a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years along with a fine that can reach as high as $10,000. Since the criminal penalties are so dire, it is highly recommended for an accused person to seek legal advice from a manufacture of controlled substances lawyer.
The burden of proof is on the state of Texas to prove that the individual charged with manufacturing a controlled substance did indeed produce the drug in question. This can sometimes be a slippery slope for prosecutors, as they rely on the testimony of informants to provide them with this information. Confidential informants may not always be trustworthy, as many were also involved in their own drug-making operations and are looking for leniency from the courts. An aggressive defense attorney will carefully examine all witness testimony in order to expose any ulterior motives.
In other cases, a defendant may be guilty simply by association. This can be a difficult situation to be in because it is often necessary to prove innocence rather than have the state prove guilt. The job of a defense attorney in this situation will be to cast reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors as to the defendant’s intent. Contact a Drug Possession Lawyer Houston today.
Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200