R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Drug possession charges in Texas: The basics

Even though other states have been making strides toward legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, Texas still has some very strict laws on its books concerning drug possession. For example, if a Houston police officer pulls you over and sees marijuana in your vehicle, you could end up paying some large fines and possibly spending time in jail if a court convicts you of the crime.

Before you find yourself in a similar position as the above example, it is important to familiarize yourself with the law. To find out more about drug possession laws in Texas, read further.

Texas Controlled Substances Act

The Texas Controlled Substances Act specifies what drugs are completely illegal and which ones are controlled, like prescription drugs. If a law enforcement officer charges you with drug possession, the prosecutor has to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that you were in possession of the drug and had an intent to possess it. Furthermore, in the case of prescription drugs, you must knowingly and intentionally possess the substance without a prescription or doctor's order.

Penalties

For two ounces or less of marijuana, you could face up to 180 days in jail and a fine not in excess of $10,000. Penalties for other drugs depend on the type of substance and the amount, as well as other factors.

For example, if you also had drug paraphernalia or a prior conviction, you could face a harsher penalty. In addition, if the substance was packaged and stored in a way that suggested you planned to distribute it, then you could end up with additional charges. You could face charges from a Class B misdemeanor to a first-degree felony depending on the type of drug, the quantity and the other circumstances surrounding your case.

Defenses

There might be an appropriate defense for your particular situation. You may be able to prove that you did not know you possessed the illegal substance or that you did not intend the drug for human consumption. Other common defenses include your having a valid medical prescription for the drug or that you did not actually possess enough of the substance.

Since drug charges in Texas can often come with some very serious consequences, it is vital that you exercise your right to defend yourself. You can fight back against the charges with the right defense.

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