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Stiff Penalties for Drug Charges - Why You Need an Attorney

When it comes to penalties for drug possession, the Lone Star State has some of the stiffest. For example, possession of up to four ounces of marijuana could result in a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Simple sale of paraphernalia carries the same penalties. Possession of four ounces to five pounds of cannabis is classified as a felony, and can lead to two years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. Additionally, on final conviction of a drug offense, the violator's driver's license is automatically suspended. And Texas has more arrests for marijuana possession than almost any other state; 2013 saw 70,000 caught with the stuff.

Other narcotics come with even harsher penalties. Four grams of heroin is a 2nd degree felony and can result in 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The same penalties apply to cocaine possession. The highest penalty in Texas for drug possession is 99 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Don't Try to Go it Alone

If you are facing a drug charge, you may think that you can navigate the complicated legal system yourself. But think about how much is at stake. If convicted, a hefty fine and prison time are possible. But that's only the start. Even after you've paid your debt to society, a felony conviction could result in difficulties far into the future. Finding housing and employment could be a real challenge even years later, as it stays on your record for as long as you live. These difficulties can, in the long run, complicate the offender's life far more than the initial legal consequences.

Why You Need an Attorney

Drug violations are among the most prosecuted crimes. And police may attempt to impose harsher charges than what is deserved, as there could be other circumstances that potentially put the violator in even hotter water: buying, selling, or possessing illegal drugs near a school, park, daycare or church can increase both the fine and jail time if convicted. If it's not a first-time violation, penalties can be harsher. Federal charges can carry stiffer penalties. If it is suspected that the violator is part of a drug business, they could face loss of their vehicle, home, and other belongings.

An experienced attorney is aware of the attempts by law enforcement and courts to pile up additional charges. And an attorney can get a better plea bargain for you, as well as see whether there are other ways to mitigate the charges (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, youthful offender treatment, drug court diversion, etc.) and keep your record clean.

Since so much is at stake when facing drug charges, getting an experienced lawyer is always the right choice.

Sources: http://krwg.org/post/97-texas-marijuana-convictions-are-possession, http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/drug-possession-overview.html, http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/drug-possession-penalties-and-sentencing.html

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