Possession of a Controlled Substance: What Charges are you really facing?
Possession of a controlled substance is governed by both federal and state law. Yet, contrary to what many might believe, it doesn’t just apply to police finding the drug on your physical person, but also within an area of your control (such as on your property); even if that only involves shared or partial control of the substance.
If you are arrested and convicted of possession of a controlled substance, the charges you face largely depend upon the type and amount of drug that you were found with, as well as whether you had any intent to distribute it and/or any past convictions. Ultimately, penalties are also determined based on how the substance is classified in the state “schedule.”
Below, we discuss some of these charges, as described in the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Note that Texas has some of the harshest penalties in the country when it comes to drug possession.
Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas
Texas law provides for a minimum jail sentence of no more than 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000 (or both), and a maximum confinement for life (for a term of no more than 99 years, no less than 10 years), and a fine of up to $250,000. The penalty for possession is, at a minimum, a “Class A” or “Class B” misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Possession of Marijuana in Texas
Marijuana is still treated like other prohibited substances in Texas (even if it is classified on its own, independent of the other four classes of drugs). As a “Class B” misdemeanor, It carries a minimum jail sentence of no more than 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000 (or both), and a maximum confinement for life (for a term of no more than 99 years, no less than 10 years), and a fine of up to $10,000, for two ounces or less. However, depending upon how much is found in your possession, the drug can carry a term of life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Defenses to Possession of Controlled Substances
It is the burden of the government (i.e. the prosecutor) to prove that you knowingly and intentionally possessed and/or had control over the drug (and for which you did not have a valid prescription for). Thus, some common defenses made to being charged with possession of a controlled substance include:
- Not knowing that the drug was in x (one’s purse, house, etc.);
- That you have a prescription for the drug/for medical use;
- That you were the victim of an illegal search and seizure; and/or
- That the drug has been approved under a new drug application and/or investigational use (and you have the documentation to support it).
Let Us Help you Today
Many people feel that they might be immune from ever facing drug possession charges. However, being charged with such a crime is as easy as being pulled over and having a prescription on you without the appropriate paperwork.
At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we take every one of these cases seriously. Handling drug possession charges all over Texas on a regular basis, we regularly and independently investigate these types of cases and build powerful cases to ensure that your rights are protected. We thoroughly understand the impact these types of charges can have on your life and future—you never want to accept any kind of guilty plea without speaking to an attorney. Contact us today to find out more.