Texas criminal laws on drug possession and trafficking are stringent. These laws come under the Texas penal code, and Texas controlled substances act, health and safety code. However, in as much as these laws are in plain English, they are tough to interpret and understand.
Paul Morgan, an experienced Houston drug crimes lawyer, has stated time and time again that no matter how good a lawyer thinks he is on drug cases, he still needs to have a firm grip on the law, and the chances applied to it by the Texas legislature.
Heroine is a derivative of morphine widely used as euphoric narcotic. An opiate, on the other hand, is just a derivative of opium, but now commonly known as opioid which is just a natural or synthetic occurring narcotic.
How does Texas law classify drugs and substances?
Texas laws mainly classify drugs into four major groups.
- Stimulants-These are drugs that activate the nerves and make the brain to run much faster. They include cocaine and amphetamines.
- Depressants- also known as sedatives, they help the nerves to calm down and even to sleep. This is where opiates like heroine come in and the likes of valium.
iii. Narcotics are drugs that are made from the poppy plant the likes of opium and morphine
- Hallucinogens-These are drugs that upon intake they change the mood of the user. Such would be marijuana and LCDs.
- What do we make of prescription drugs in Texas?
Some of the drugs listed above might be even medicated drugs. According to Texas drug laws being in possession of some type of drug without proper prescription documentation may warrant a jail term.
What the penalty groups for Texas drug laws?
Being in possession or trafficking of certain drugs is tried according to penal groups in Texas.
- Penal group 1-This group contains opioids, opium derivatives, and cocaine. If found guilty under this group punishment may include a two-year jail term and 10,000 dollars fine to life imprisonment.
- Penal group 2: If found in possession of marihuana and cannabinoids it may attract a two year to life imprisonment jail term depending on the size of the stash
iii. Penal group 3: These are drugs that have a stimulating or depressing effect and most likely prone to abuse. These include opioids not listed in group 1 and the likes of valium and anabolic steroids. They attract a minimum of one year in jail and fines of 4000-10,000 dollars depending on the size confined.
- Penal group 4.include opioids and opiates not listed in group 1 and likely to be abused prescription medication. They attract the same punishment as those in group3.
- Marihuana group: This includes cannabis and other cannabinoids. Whose possession may warrant a jail term of up to 180 days, temporary probation, fines of up to 20,000 if found in colossal possession of the drug .One constant though is that it most likely than not leads to a revocation of one’s driver’s license.
Other factors the drug criminal law considers
The Texas criminal drug laws are very dynamic and such may be the case. That several factors come into play when sentencing someone in charge of drug possession. According to KRWG (2018), a man in El-Paso found in possession of methamphetamine with the intention to sell was slapped with a 7000 dollar fine due to the drug felony. While another gang still in the same state found 63.5 grams of heroin had to part ways with hefty bond terms of up to 100,000 dollars each. (KVIA)
Depending on the amount in possession and the intention of the user whether to sell or not it may lead to the case being termed as a simple misdemeanor or a felony in the case of opiates.
Here is a breakdown of how the heroine is treated
If in possession
- Less than 1 gram- state jail felony;
- 1-4 grams- 3rd-degree felony;
- 4-200 grams- 2nd-degree felony
- 200-400 grams-1st degree felony;
- Over 400grammes; 10-99 years or 100,000dollar fine
Intention to sell
- Less than 1 gram is a state jail felony
- 1-4 grams is a 2nd-degree felony;
- 4-200 grams is w 1st-degree felony;
- 200-400 grams attracts10-99 years and/or $100,000;
- Over 400 grams is a life sentence or 15-99 yrs. and/or $250,000;
- Selling to minor under 17 who are attending school is a second-degree felony 2nd-degree felony.
From the above source of information, one can conclude that Texas drug criminal laws are stringent. Other than that they are dynamic and complex to understand entirely. So if ever charged in possession of heroin or opiates in Texas it would be crucial to seek sound legal counsel.
Therightstep (2017, July 24). Texas drug laws; a breakdown of controlled substance. Retrieved from https://www.rightstep.com/alcohol-and-drug-addiction/texas-drug-laws-breakdown-controlled-substances/
Findlaw. (2018). Texas heroine laws. Retrieved from https://statelaws.findlaw.com/texas-law/texas-heroin-laws.html
KRWGpublicmedia (2018). El Paso man charged of federal drug charges. Retrieved from http://www.krwg.org/post/el-paso-man-sentenced-federal-drug-charges
KVIA. (2018).3 allegedly found with heroin and meth outside motel 6 in central El Paso. Retrieved from https://www.kvia.com/crime/3-allegedly-found-with-heroin-and-meth-outside-motel-6-in-central-el-paso/782890749