All states regulate controlled substances, including some prescriptions, that pose a danger to society. These substances are known to impair judgement and cause convulsions, infection or even death from addiction. A person in El Paso, Texas, caught in possession of controlled substances may face several stiff penalties.
Overview of Texas drug law
Drug possession counts as a felony or misdemeanor based on the circumstance and type of drug. Texas divides controlled substances into four penalty groups, numbered one to four, ranked by risk of addiction. Group 1, which includes heroin and cocaine, have the highest abuse risk and no legal medical use.
Drivers can also get charged for drugged driving under the influence of any amount of controlled substances. If the driver refuses a blood test, they face a 180-day license suspension for a first offense.
Penalties for possession
Under Texas law, possession means having actual control, management or care of an illegal substance. Possessing 1 gram of Penalty Group 1 counts as a state jail felony with penalties of six months to two years of jail and a $10,000 fine. A defendant caught with 400 grams or more may face a felony charge with 5 to 99 years of jail and a $300,000 fine.
The penalties for Group 2 possession include 180 days to two years of jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Penalties increase to first-degree felony charges with fines of $50,000 and 99 years of jail for possessing 400 grams or more. Sentencing can be enhanced based on substance storage, amount of money found, past drug crimes and paraphernalia such as scales.
Texas takes possession of small amounts of controlled substances seriously, but the prosecution has the burden of proof. Defendants may seek to fight the charges or get them reduced to avoid the harsh penalties.