Drug possession laws are particularly strict in Texas.
In fact, in an age where several U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, possession of the drug in Texas accounted for over half of all related arrests in 2016.
State laws also govern the use of opioids, prescription medication, and even certain steroids.
Here’s an overview of the state’s laws on drug possession, as explained by criminal attorneys in San Antonio.
Drug Possession Laws in Texas
The Texas Controlled Substances Act directs the state’s drug possession laws.
In this long and complicated statute, legislators list hundreds of illegal substances. They also detail the punishment the public faces if they’re in possession of any of them.
Here’s our quick overview of Texas drug possession laws.
The Legal Definition of Possession
The law defines possession as the “actual care, custody, control, or management” of a controlled substance.
This legal definition is important in any defense case. If the prosecution can’t prove possession, they can’t hold the accused responsible for the crime.
In a similar vein, if a defense attorney can prove their client had lawful possession of a controlled substance, such as a valid prescription for Xanax, they can’t be charged.
What Counts as a Controlled Substance
Controlled substances are based on the DEA’s drug schedule. Any substance listed in Schedule I through V is controlled. That includes:
- And many others
In Texas, it’s also illegal to possess certain chemical compounds if they are commonly used to make a controlled substance. Chemical analogs, or substances that produce the same effect as a well-known drug, are also prohibited.
Penalties for Drug Possession
Texas determines the penalties for breaking these laws by the specific drug involved. State law groups drugs into several categories.
Anyone found guilty of possession of a Group 1 drug, like methamphetamine and opiates, could face a first-degree felony. The exact punishment depends on the amount of drug in their possession.
The penalties for marijuana possession also depend on the amount:
- 2 ounces or less is a Class B misdemeanor
- Between 2 and 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor
The penalties jump in severity for larger amounts. More than 2,000 lbs. of the drug can bring life in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
Aggravating Factors for Drug Possession
State law built in several additional circumstances that could lead to a harsher penalty.
If for instance, you are in possession of materials that could make methamphetamine, you could face a second-degree felony.
Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a pipe, is a Class C misdemeanor.
Possession in a drug-free zone, such as a school, youth center, or playground, could be a third-degree felony.
Need Legal Help? Contact the Best Criminal Attorneys in San Antonio
If you’re facing drug or other criminal charges in Texas, you need legal help. The Law Office of Roland J. Garcia is ready to offer our services to defend your legal rights. Contact us to speak to one of our criminal attorneys in San Antonio.